Poland’s Krystian Zimerman, widely regarded as one of the finest pianists in the world, created a furor Sunday night in his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall when he announced this would be his last performance in America because of the nation’s military policies overseas.

Before playing the final work on his recital, Karol Szymanowski’s “Variations on a Polish Folk Theme,” Zimerman sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience. In a quiet but angry voice that did not project well, he indicated that he could no longer play in a country whose military wants to control the whole world.

“Get your hands off of my country,” he said. He also made reference to the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

I read it here.

Some people are unhappy with this. Some audience members booed and left. Some stayed but booed.

So should performers do something like this? Would this ruin your evening? If you agree with his thoughts does it then make it okay? What is a performer’s responsibility? What are his or her rights?

I’m just pondering. I won’t say what I think … because, to be honest, I can go back and forth on this one. Audience members pay to be entertained. I don’t know if they should be subjected to a lecture or not. I really don’t.

Thoughts?

27. April 2009 · Comments Off on Another Carmen Review · Categories: Opera, Reviews

This one is from the Milpitas Post. It’s quite favorable. There’s a nice mention of our principal flutist, Isabelle Chapuis, too. 🙂

27. April 2009 · Comments Off on Ukulele & Bach · Categories: Links, Losses, Videos

Mr. King liked to pick his uke at his neighborhood Starbucks, where he said he did not feel nervous, because people had no expectations.

I know that feeling. There’s really something about playing freely, comfortably, in a place with no expectations, where folks are just enjoying things. You get in a concert hall and there’s this incredible tension that can eat you alive. Not fun. I really do try to remember that we are playing because it’s a wonderful thing to do. It brings us joy. It brings others joy. Sometimes it’s very difficult to remember.

But I ramble.

Mostly, I wanted to share this with you. The musician, John King, died at the young age of 55 this month and I just read about it … and him. He played ukelele. And I think this is beautiful:

27. April 2009 · Comments Off on Summer Work · Categories: Concert Announcements, Links, Ramble

I just read about a few free (!) concerts SSV will be playing in August. That’s always a nearly barren month for me, so this is good news (as long as they need two oboists; I’m not first call, being second oboist). Looks like one of those concerts is with a group called the Classical Mystery Tour. One guess who these guys are pretending to be, eh?

Or just watch and listen:

Thank you, Target, for your continued support in the arts! (And for being a store I tend to visit. A lot.)

Now to get work in earlier August … and July … oh yeah, and June ….

27. April 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: BQOD

one should not make “do you play the oboe?” a mandatory field in a software order form

27. April 2009 · Comments Off on Booing? · Categories: Baseball, Links, Oboe

Susan Spector blogs about hecklers. Check out her blog entry, and of course peruse others … she’s an oboist in the Met Opera, as you can see by looking at their roster. And she’s also a Mets fan. Baseball and oboe. Good stuff.

26. April 2009 · Comments Off on Thankful · Categories: Ramble

I am so thankful for my friend Mary. Some time ago I had one of these headaches. She said her husband gets ’em, so she called him to ask what works for him. The answer? “Four ibuprofen.”

Yes. It works. Or at least it works for me.

So thank you Mary! And Kent, too! I really doubt I could have survived Carmen today if I hadn’t had this cure.

Poor Carmen. She won’t survive. Again.

26. April 2009 · Comments Off on So Much For That · Categories: Ramble

Even though yesterday was far too crazy, I had planned on church today.

So much for that.

I woke up (not until 8:30 or so) with one of my headaches. This is the kind that pounds when I move. It pounds when I even think sometimes. And I know it’ll pound if I try to sing. So no church. Sigh. That wasn’t in the plans.

Now I have to eat, so I can take a whopping number of ibuprofen. Because if this pounds at 3:00 I’m in serious trouble for Carmen.

Meanwhile the computer will be shut down, because the head pounds when I try to read, too.

25. April 2009 · Comments Off on Stay Awake, Stay Awake, Stay Awake · Categories: Ramble

Get the picture? I really must stay awake until opera is over. I feel like I could use a good nap. But alas, it isn’t going to happen.

I’m going to guess that I’ll be just fine once I begin playing. 🙂

25. April 2009 · Comments Off on Nearly through …? · Categories: Ramble

We are on the final break here at the Marriage of Figaro rehearsal. I think I might even be done before 5:00, which would be lovely.

Mozart is so difficult. You can hear every little intonation issue, and time is so important. The group is doing well, but if I had the winds for an hour or two I think I’d be hounding them about pitch the entire time. It’s improved greatly over the rehearsal … 20 cents too sharp to begin with is not a good thing! Go figure.

So now I’m going to have part of the Milky Way candy bar I bought. Yes indeed, it’s a health food sort of day. 😉

(Oh … and it turns out that the recital hall is now has wireless access. How cool is that?)