29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Concerts

… well, not literally, mind you!

But there are places in my oboe/English horn part in this chamber music version that I’m doing with San Jose Chamber Orchestra that are from the trumpet part. Between those parts and the places where I have to hold my oboe up above the stand I really do start thinking I’m a trumpet player. Well, okay, maybe only a little bit, but I think that counts for something. (Not sure it’s a good something or a bad something, though.) Too bad I still have to make reeds, though.

Need tickets to the performance? Click here!

Another scam alert:

How are you today?I got your contact email while searching for Music teacher on the internet. I have a daughter(Vicky) who is interested studying instrument you are ready to offer. Vicky doesn’t have any previous in the instrument but she is ready to learn. She’s a 16 year old girl with a very sharp brain. she’s coming down there to your location for the lessons. I want Vicky to come over to your present location to attend the lessons before she will finally come to Frankfurt Germany to stay with me. If you have agreed to accept Vicky as your student,please get back to me with the following information..

Total fees for one months lessons(Two hours lessons in a week)?

Your teaching location and phone number?

The instrument you teach?

I want the lessons to start by 19th of March.


Looking forward to hearing from you.

Nope. She won’t hear from me.

29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Losses

And I’m sorry to read of his death. He was only 66.

… and of course I knew that while he sang this song, “I Wanna Be Free”, he wouldn’t wanna be that way if only he met me. Hah!

Yesterday I was telling a student about playing in the pit, and how our instruments get rather dirty sometimes, due to all the dust that accumulates there. She reacted with a surprised look, “I didn’t know you played pit!”

Now some of you might wonder about that. I would, but I know better now. These days there’s a “pit” group in high school marching bands. The “pit” uses players who don’t usually march, like oboes and even, at least at one school a student I had attended, strings. (Ridiculous, if you ask me, but you probably aren’t asking.)

I had to explain what a real orchestra pit is. One might wonder about why I had to explain too. Why is a student unfamiliar with that? Hasn’t the student ever attended anything I play?

No, in fact, most of my students never attend concerts I play. Sad, but true. They are busy, I’ll grant them that, but mostly they have little or no interest in hearing a professional group. I’ve encouraged them. I’ve even, in the past, offered comps to them. Never do they take me up on that. (I’ve given up at this point.) They want to play an instrument, but they don’t want to hear them being played.

I find that incredibly puzzling, and quite distressing as well. I wonder if I’m the only one who has such disinterested students. Am I doing something wrong?

Meanwhile … here are a few photos of the California Theatre that include the orchestra pit, taken by Bob Shomler, put up with his permission (Thanks, Bob!).

This was taken a while ago … I’m not sure which opera was being done. I’m guessing Tosca, perhaps, due to some people I see sitting in certain chairs, but that’s just a guess. (I know it was a while ago because the set up has since changed.)

This is from our latest production, La traviata:

29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: FBQD

I just made the best reed of my life ever. It is unlike any reed I’ve made before – it was an accident and I just kept going with it. Now, an hour after intense playing, I’m not even tired. It’s stable, in tune, articulates low reg, don’t need teeth for highest notes….I must make more. Keep you posted. It is only 67mm long – for you oboe geeks out there…I’m in heaven..

29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: BachTrac™

Bouree, Air and Badinerie
German Brass

29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: For Your Listening Enjoyment

… because it’s raining today. But also because I love this poem by Sara Taesdale. “… not one will know of the war, not one will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly….”

There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Sara Teasdale

29. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: TQOD

played oboe for an hour and i still can’t play middle C.

28. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Opera, Read Online

Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, today announced details of its new world premiere. Bel Canto, by the gifted young Peruvian composer Jimmy López, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, is based on the best-selling novel by Ann Patchett. To premiere in Lyric’s 2015-16 season, the new opera, commissioned as part of Lyric’s Renée Fleming Initiative, will be conducted by Lyric music director Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Stephen Wadsworth.

Both the 2001 book and the new opera are inspired by the Lima Crisis of 1996-97, when members of a revolutionary movement in Peru held hostages at the Japanese ambassador’s house for 126 days (Dec. 17, 1996-April 22, 1997). Central to the story is the fictional famed American soprano Roxanne Coss, who will be portrayed by Australian-born American soprano Danielle de Niese. Like the novel, the opera will explore the tensions and unexpected alliances that develop when a group of culturally disparate strangers – the terrorists and their hostages – are confined in close quarters for months.


I read the book when it was popular (and I had a Costco membership so I bought it for very little) and enjoyed it. It’ll be interesting to hear the opera eventually … if it succeeds past its opening, of course.

28. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Read Online

Who knew? Now I know something else I might be able to pursue, should work grow even scarcer. Whew!

“I just like how [elk calling] sounds and how it is different from other animals,” said Kenny.

There are several elk calls and different instruments are used to produce the sounds.

“I use a squeeze box to make a calf call, a mouth pod to do a cow, and a reed to do the bull,” said Kenny. “The bull is the hardest because you can mess up on it more.”

What makes Kenny a national competitor after only three years? His father thinks his son’s musical ability may be the key to his success.

“He plays the trumpet, and he also took on the oboe,” he said. “That was where he was able to start to manipulate the calf call because the oboe is a double reed instrument.”

I read it here.

The reed can call a bull.

Somehow that seems rather appropriate.