31. January 2019 · Comments Off on Star Wars: A New Hope · Categories: Movies, Symphony

I’ll be on stage, playing for the movie on the large screen behind me. Do you have your tickets yet?

Go here to get started on your order. It’s going to be thrilling, I know!

11. January 2019 · Comments Off on Coming Up · Categories: A Musician's LIfe, Ramble, Symphony

Next week I have a Symphony Silicon Valley concert. I will be stepping up to play principal so I am preparing for the change of hats. (Don’t worry, our regular principal oboist, Pamela Hakl, will be back!)

Yes, playing first oboe is quite different to playing second. In some ways there is a bit of a freedom: I won’t be thinking about playing under the principal which can sometimes cause issues with attacks as I try not to be too loud. But of course there’s the stress of being in the hot seat.

I prepare in many ways. I of course practice my part. I listen to a variety of recordings. I make sure I know what’s going on in other sections and especially make sure I practice the solos and tricky bits. (I mark anything technically difficult with an X, either over the passage or to the side of that line of music.) I also play through the entire concert — even the easy whole notes and loud bits — so I make sure my mouth is strong enough to get through the works.

This is a taxing concert. I don’t have huge solos, but I play a lot in the Dvorak eighth symphony. I play enough that I worry about getting through it. When I watched a video on MediciTV (a great source! And no, I don’t get any perks by recommending them here.) I noticed that that particular orchestra used an assistant principal oboe. I have played that part as well in the past. I sure could use that myself, but wasn’t offered that option and didn’t think to ask.

We are also doing the second piano concerto by Brahms. What a gorgeous work.

Here is Jon Kimura Parker (our soloist) talking about the work (2011 YouTube video):

That slow movement he talks about, and the incredible cello solo, is something I’m very much looking forward to hearing, played by our wonderful principal cellist, Evan Kahn. And yes, the horn (“The horn, the horn, awakes me at morn!” Anyone remember that?) has a very important role at the very beginning and more later, so it will be a delight to hear Meredith Brown play as well!

But then it’s a pleasure and honor to hear all of the musicians of Symphony Silicon Valley play. I hope you can be there!

25. October 2018 · Comments Off on More for this Weekend · Categories: Concert Announcements, Listen, Symphony

One work I mentioned earlier today is Debussy’s La Damoiselle Elue. I am charmed by the work! (I’m also a wee bit nervous, but oh well.)

I’m assuming one of the soloists will be Daniela Tabernig, but I don’t see anyone listed for the other soprano soloist on the symphony page. I guess I’ll find out who it is soon, as we are rehearsing it for the first time today.

Info provided by the YouTube video:
The Radio Chamber Philharmonic and Cappella Amsterdam conducted by Michael Schonwandt perform Debussy’s ‘La Damoiselle Elue’. With wonderful vocal performances by soprano Marie-Bénédicte Souquet and mezzo-soprano Carine Séchaye.

This concert was recorded in February 2012 in Vredenburg, Utrecht.

Musicians:
Radio Chamber Philharmonic & Cappella Amsterdam
Michael Schonwandt, conductor
Marie-Bénédicte Souquet, soprano
Carine Séchaye, mezzosoprano
Paul Meyer, clarinet

(I’m not quite sure why the clarinetist is named and not all the other players. Interesting.)

25. October 2018 · Comments Off on This Weekend · Categories: Concert Announcements, Listen, Symphony

We have quite the concert this weekend. (Below is just a screen shot so those links don’t work, but to order tickets simply go here for Saturday and here for Sunday.)
Symphony Silicon Valley, under the wonderful direction of Carlos Vieu, and with soloist Daniela Tabernig and the women of the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale are performing some truly exquisite music.

This is the first time I’ve ever played two of the works: Debussy’s La Damoiselle élue, L. 62 and Strauss’s Vier Letze Lieder.

At last night’s rehearsal Carlos mentioned a video on YouTube about the final song and of course I had to find it and I have to share it. As Carlos said, this really is Strauss saying goodbye, following his long life and the horrific devastation in his country due to the war. The songs were composed in 1948 when Strauss was 84, he died in 1949, and these were published as a unit in 1950.

Through sorrow and joy
we have gone hand in hand;
we are both at rest from our wanderings
now above the quiet land.

Around us, the valleys bow,
the air already darkens.
Only two larks soar
musingly into the haze.

Come close, and let them flutter,
soon it will be time to sleep –
so that we don’t get lost
in this solitude.

O vast, tranquil peace,
so deep in the afterglow!
How weary we are of wandering–
Is this perhaps death?

09. October 2018 · Comments Off on Harry Potter #5 · Categories: Harry Potter, Movies, Symphony

Yep … we (Symphony Silicon Valley) are doing the next movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, soon. If you don’t have tickets, why not?

19. May 2018 · Comments Off on SOLD OUT! · Categories: Concerts, Movies, Symphony

Yes … SOLD OUT!

This is so encouraging! These days selling out a concert is a huge deal. I can’t wait to do the FIVE performances of this. I’m guessing I’ll need a good rest after this is done … or perhaps it will have to wait until after the Symphony Silicon Valley final set (Tchaikovsky), since we move to that so quickly.

15. March 2016 · Comments Off on More! · Categories: Concert Announcements, Symphony

Another small example of what you’ll see and hear when you come to the Symphony Silicon Valley concert this weekend!

15. March 2016 · Comments Off on Do You Have Your Tickets Yet?! · Categories: Concert Announcements, Symphony

Start here: Symphony Silicon Valley and decide when you want to attend … or come to all three!

14. March 2016 · Comments Off on Pictures At An Exhibition · Categories: Movies, Symphony

Our next Symphony Silicon Valley concert should be a pretty cool one. I hope you’ve purchased your tickets!

Read this:

We are delighted to announce that we will present a contemporary cinematic re-imagining of the art exhibit that originally inspired our centerpiece, Mussorgky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

A visually stunning series of original animated short films created by students, faculty and graduates of the USC School of Cinematic Arts will accompany our orchestra’s performance. The projectionist will use a brand new technology that allows him to act as a member of the orchestra, following the conductor’s tempi together with the musicians. Musical magic, fresh creative expression, and high tech will meld to produce one extraordinary concert experience.

The project was produced and directed by faculty Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger with a team of 11 animation artists drawn from the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts. The animation was designed and animated by current students, recent graduates and faculty.

The programmatic work by Mussorgsky is the perfect canvas to apply the talents of the diverse USC-DADA animation program. The project embraces a blending of animation techniques that included CG, digital hand drawn, analog hand drawn, rotoscope, long exposure photography, green screen live action, and practical VFX.

01. December 2015 · Comments Off on Moving On Up · Categories: Ramble, Symphony

For the past month or so I was in the pit, playing Marriage of Figaro with Opera San Jose. I don’t think I’d ever go weary of that wonderful music, and the first oboe part is just a delight to play. What a masterpiece!

Now, though, it’s time to move on to the stage. Symphony Silicon Valley has a Dvorak week, and I’ll be playing only the symphony (No. 9, “For the New World”), and only one movement of that. Crazy, right? I’m playing English horn, and it only appears for the famous “Going Home” solos. I’ve always seen the solos in the second oboe part, although we’ve always had three players, but this time the edition came with three parts. Needless to say, my part is all of one page long. In the past I’ve always assisted the principal oboist after I’m done with the solo, but it appears that this time I’ll just be doing a whole lot of sitting. I’m going to guess some people in the audience will wonder if I ever play a note if they don’t pay attention to the second movement!

With this new edition, comes two tempi markings that are new to me. The start of the solo, as well as the second appearance, are at the quarter=52. Then, at my final appearance I see quarter=62. Wow. Both tempi are faster than I’m used to, but the later one is VERY surprising to me. My understanding is that these parts came from the conductor, but I’ve no clue if he put those marks in. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow!

It’s a funny week. I have a major solo. I barely play. Go figure.

(I’ll post a video of the second movement later if I can find one I like. Right now things are running too slowly here.)