23. October 2018 · Comments Off on Music and Peace · Categories: Read Online

It’s often said that people just need to embrace music and violence would halt. People love to post the Bernstein quote when things get rough. Others seem to think that musicians are all peace loving folk.

And then there’s the audience …

The rustling of a gum wrapper at a performance of the symphony last week in the Swedish city of Malmo brought a section of the audience back down to earth, and brought several concertgoers to blows. Mahler’s late Romantic epic became the occasion for an epic clash over candy.

As Andris Nelsons, an eminent Latvian conductor, coaxed the quiet notes from the string section of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a woman in the balcony rustled a bag of gum, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported. A young man sitting next to her glared a few times and then lost his patience. He snatched the bag from her and threw it onto the floor.

But wait, there’s more:

But as the concert hall vibrated with the final, resounding notes, and as applause rang out, she exacted her revenge.

The gum-rustler turned to her neighbor and uttered something, eyewitnesses told the newspaper, and then proceeded to smack him in the face, knocking his glasses from his face. The woman’s male companion then grabbed the other man by the shirt and began to punch him, as the seizer of the gum sought to defend himself.

And even more if you RTWT

No, great music will not result in world peace. People are people. Go figure.

21. October 2018 · Comments Off on A Good Reminder for All Instructors … · Categories: Read Online, Teaching

With many thanks to Bret Pimentel:

I have lots on things on my list for you today: we should double-check your rhythms on that etude, review those melodic minor scales that were giving you trouble last week, and discuss some finer points of vibrato.

But something about your sunken eyes when I met you at the door, the way you slouched into the room, the slept-in fashion statement, says that today you are Struggling. Not because you are lazy or undedicated. But because college life is fraught with deadlines for research papers and rent payments, and scheduled to the brim with marching band rehearsals and late shifts waiting tables, and fueled by store-brand Pop Tarts and never enough sleep.

Do read the whole thing (link above). This applies not only to Bret’s college students, but to all of our students. I have middle school students who are overly stressed. I have high school students who are so on edge it hurts my heart. All are more important than their oboes!

14. October 2018 · Comments Off on It COULD be a weapon of sorts if played poorly. · Categories: Read Online

This is just too funny (and hat tip to Lynn Moquette for sending it my way):

A 911 caller told police a man was sitting on his car with a weapon, but he was just playing the bassoon.

This summer, bassoonist Eric Barga drove to Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Ohio, after a day of teaching at his old school, Kenton Ride High School.

Eric was half an hour early for bell choir practice. To pass the time, he pulled out his custom-made Fox 610 red maple bassoon, sat down on the boot of his car and started playing some scales.

RTWT

Most importantly, though: the police need music lessons so they can tell the difference between the oboe and bassoon!

04. July 2018 · Comments Off on Lawsuit for Equal Pay · Categories: Read Online

Boston Symphony Orchestra’s top flute player is suing the group for paying her $70,000 less than her male woodwind counterpart, raising what looks like the first lawsuit filed under the Massachusetts Equal Pay Law that took effect July 1.

I’m grateful that I don’t even think about what others make in our orchestras any longer. If someone is getting paid overscale I’m unaware of it and I prefer to remain ignorant.

More:

Elizabeth Rowe, who joined the BSO in 2004 after winning a blind audition for the role of principal flute, says in the lawsuit she’s asked for years to be paid the same as the principal oboe — the best comparison to her unique position — but the orchestra kept her pay well below that of her peer.

Rowe, an accomplished musician who also teaches at the New England Conservatory, says she spent the past six months documenting for orchestra officials the pay disparity and putting them on notice that the Massachusetts Equal Pay Law requires them to pay her the same as the oboist — who made $280,484 in 2016. But the orchestra took no action, according to the lawsuit.

RTWT

15. June 2018 · Comments Off on A Much Happier Story · Categories: Read Online

(Although I doubt they actually shared sheet music!)

I had the joy of sitting in an orchestra with Rufus (Jr.) many years ago, when we both playing in Midsummer Mozart. He was a delight then, just as I know he is now, having run into him a few times when we’ve attended San Francisco Opera. I also had the pleasure of working with Rufus David a few times, both in San Jose and up at Merola the few times I was hired there. Both he and his dad have always been kind, gracious and such fun men to be around!

The best Father’s Day for Rufus Olivier Jr. was in 2011, when he and his son, Rufus David Olivier, sat through 5½ hours of “Gotterdammerung” from “the Ring of the Nibelung” at the War Memorial Opera House.
It was hot and stuffy under a low ceiling as they sat shoulder to shoulder in the back row. Back row of the orchestra pit, that is.
Olivier Jr., 62, is first bassoon in the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. First, the father taught his son how to play the unusual, bong-shaped instrument. Then, in the ultimate form of flattery, the son rose to the position of second bassoon so that he and his father could sit close enough to share sheet music during concerts.

RTWT.

15. June 2018 · Comments Off on What A Bizarre Story · Categories: Read Online

… and I’m going to guess it’s going to be very difficult to get the settlement money.

But wow.

McGill University music student Eric Abramovitz was among the top clarinetists in Canada. He studied with some of the country’s elite teachers from the age of seven. He won first prize at the Canadian Music Competition six times. He was a featured soloist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Québec.

In late 2013, Abramovitz applied for a full two-year scholarship to complete his bachelor’s degree at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. Every student at Colburn receives a full scholarship, including tuition, room and board as well as money for meals and other expenses, worth roughly $50,000 a year.

If accepted, he would study under Yehuda Gilad, considered one of the best clarinet teachers on the planet. Gilad accepts two students a year out of dozens of applicants. To be chosen is virtually a guarantee of a high-paying symphony career directly out of college. After an exhaustive pre-screening process, Abramovitz flew to Los Angeles in February 2014 with his parents to do a live audition before Gilad and a committee of faculty members.

A month later, Colburn sent an email to Abramovitz. He had been chosen.

Except Abramovitz never got the email. Jennifer Lee, a fellow McGill music student and Abramovitz’s girlfriend at the time, did. They had started dating in September 2013, and within a month he was staying at her apartment almost full time. He trusted her. He let her use his laptop. He gave her his passwords.

Do read the whole thing. It’s unbelievable!

Here he is on his McGill final recital (with mom at the piano, too!):

17. February 2018 · Comments Off on Inside Out?! · Categories: Read Online

Playing an oboist gave Kirke a crash course in classical music: she now knows how to pretend to play the oboe with the best of them. Doing so convincingly requires “high self-esteem … because it is not pretty.” Kirke demonstrated onstage for the Bell House audience, turning her lips inside out and puffing her cheeks until they turned red.

Um … really? INSIDE OUT?!

I read it here.

05. December 2017 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

[She] owns a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to attend the University of Utah or University of Oregon. She would like to study biology and minor in music. [She] wants to work in the medical field.

“I love music, but I want to live a comfortable lifestyle in the future,” she said.

HAH!

PS She’s an oboist and this was about her going to play in Carnegie Hall.

07. November 2017 · Comments Off on High A … Sing It! · Categories: Read Online

When I saw Ariel the first time, it was like a dare,” she added, referring to the “Tempest” score. “And this is a double-dog dare.

—Audrey Luna

Read here.

13. September 2017 · Comments Off on Yo-Yo Ma · Categories: Quotes, Read Online

My mother was a singer and my father was a composer, musicologist, and string player. My father was very analytical, so I had really good training in that way. I started playing the Bach Suites—the first suite is all about patterns and change—just little snippets at a time, two measures a day. By connecting them, you actually are figuring out in a pretty substantial way, what are the patterns? So in a short time, I was able to learn a lot of music. A little bit is doable. It’s not Mount Everest—it’s a mole hill. My father would say, “If there’s something that’s very difficult, split it into four parts where you can actually solve a problem by first solving little problems.” That was an unbelievable time-saver later on. And my mother really addressed the idea that you acquire technique in order to transcend it. Because the point of music is to be moved. Just because you can play a piece doesn’t mean you’re reaching deep inside somebody else.

But there’s so much more. Do read it all!