I’ve rarely seen a first oboist undertake a terrorist act while performing- perhaps their ego precludes it, but they will sometimes do it during tuning. My favorite terror tuning technique is the oboist who intentionally gives different A’s to the woodwinds and strings because the wind keep going sharp. In their mind, the solution is to tune the strings sharper than the wind. This is like treating Grandma’s gout by putting her out of her misery. In many ways, the 2nd oboe chair offers untold opportunities for the committed terrorist- from this position you can undermine the tuning of the entire wind section, and probably disrupt the counting of the first oboist, who is often the busiest solo player in the band. All of this without ever being heard, or at least notice by the audience. If you want your 2nd oboe martyrdom to be celebrated, though, there is always the “duck with emphysema” sound that some 2nd oboists have mastered, a tone that can penetrate any texture and ruin any concert. This sound alone can inspire the most profound despair in audiences, players and conductors alike.

This is from a conductor’s blog, found here. I’ve not worked with him. Now I think I’d be rather fearful to, you know?

20. November 2009 · Comments Off on Losing A Student · Categories: Ramble

I just had a phone call from a parent. One of my students will not be continuing. The mother was gracious, extremely complimentary, and had no negative words for me. And yet I always wonder when this happens, “Could I have done something different? Should I have made it more fun?”

I guess that’s not abnormal. I hope not, anyway.

The student just has too much going on, and is an avid basketball player; the coach of the team is inflexible about missing, and the student would have had to skip youth orchestra far too much. It all led to the decision to choose one or the other. I knew basketball would —should!— win out, considering his love for it. One does need to go with one’s passion.

I just hate losing him. And I keep hoping I didn’t send him away, despite his mother’s very kind words.

I will miss him.

20. November 2009 · Comments Off on Berlioz Knows His English Horn · Categories: Opera, Videos

… and so does Pedro Diaz!

20. November 2009 · Comments Off on Tonight · Categories: Concert Announcements

New Century Chamber Orchestra
8:00 PM First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Bolcom: Serenata Notturna for Oboe & Strings, Laura Griffiths, oboe
Bolcom: Three Rags for Strings
R. Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings

Here’s the program information.

Laura is a fine oboist … hope you can make it!

20. November 2009 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

ha ha feel smart. went to lessons with out my oboe. had fun anyway.