03. October 2007 · Comments Off on In No Particular Order · Categories: Ramble

Just as names came to me and, then, as DK provided more, I have this little list of people that have come to San Jose and I’ve had the honor of working with:

Nathan Milstein, Pierre Fournier, Aaron Copland, Carlos Chavez, Martha Graham, Sarah Vaughan, Henry Brant, Jessye Norman, Frederica von Stade, Kathleen Battle, Bill Evans, Richard Stolzman, Philippe Entremont, Richard Stotzman, Catherine Malfitano, Leon Fleisher, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Lynn Harrell, Radu Lupu, Yo-Yo Ma, Zara Nelsova, Paul Tortelier, Christopher Parkening, Romeros (all four), Harold Gomberg, Mitch Miller (as conductor, not oboist), Victor Borge, Jean-Philippe Collard, Alicia de Larrocha, Lili Kraus, Katia Labèque, Marielle Labèque, Krzysztof Penderecki (as conductor, playing his work), Jon Nakamatsu, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Garrick Ohlsson, Bernadette Peteres, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinson, Peter Serkin, Mitsuko Uchida, Bobby McFerrin, André Watts, Earl Wild, Nigel Kennedy, Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Eugene Fodor, Claude Frank, Joseph Silverstein, Lara St. John, Marvin Hamlisch, Jerry Goldsmith, David Benoit, Michel Legrand, Alan Hovhannes, Burt Bacharach, John Cage, Mark O’Connor, Danny Glover, James Earl Jones, Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, Richard Goode, George Shearing, Smothers Brothers, Flying Karamazov Brothers, Dave Brubeck, Mannheim Steamroller, Van Cliburn, Rudolf Serkin, Jaime Laredo, Helene Grimaud, Jorge Bolet, Rosemary Clooney, Peter Schickele

… I’m sure I’ll add more as time goes on.

Some were wonderful. Most, really. A few were mean, mean, mean. And no, I won’t say who.

What an honor, though. When I look at all these names I realize what a great job this is. Yet again. (As if I need reminding!)

Who I missed … due to having a baby or other such things … Tony Bennett, Vincent Price … and of course there are more that I’ll maybe come up with …

03. October 2007 · Comments Off on Dear Joni · Categories: Ramble

Dear Joni,

May I call you that? I’ve listened to you for what seems like forever so I feel as if I know you, even while knowing I actually don’t.

Hmmm. Okay. Let me start over:

Dear Ms. Mitchell,

(Oh that’s funny too, since I’m a Mitchell as well. Born in November, too. How ’bout that?)

Anyway, I’m sorry I have to write this. Because I never thought I would. Not to you, anyway.

I’ve always enjoyed your music. I like the older stuff. I like the newer stuff. You write great lyrics. Your music is great. Really.

But, well, I just listened to Shine and … oh how do I say this? … are you really using a “fake” English horn?!

I mean, I know you probably aren’t as rich as, say, Pavarotti was. But really, I think hiring an English hornist would have been well worth the expense. Honest and true. Because what I hear on the first track doesn’t sound honest and true at all.

Maybe I’m hearing wrong. Maybe you didn’t intend to use some sort of fake EH sound at all. But that’s how it sounds to this old ear. Um. Actually two ears.

Now listen, if you really intended it to be an English horn, next time just know that I’ll gladly play. Even for free. I’m pretty good. Musical. Expressive. All that jazz. And I use real reeds and a real English horn, not a synth. So you’d get the real thing. Heck, I might even fly myself to wherever you record, using my own money. And I’m definitely not rich. Not even close. Well, in a California way. (I’m rich compared to the majority of the world, of course.) I’m willing to do this for you. Because I really do like your music.

Okay? Just keep me in mind.

Your friend,

PS If that WAS a real English horn then we have a different problem. A big “Oh dear!” problem. And if you didn’t mean for it to sound like EH at all, well, what can I say? I think it is trying to sound like it. That’s all.

03. October 2007 · Comments Off on No History Here · Categories: Ramble

A former student of mine just wrote to ask if I had my old programs from San Jose Symphony (RIP). She wanted to see the program notes for Lou Harrison’s Elegiac Symphony, and we played that twice, the first time being shortly after it was written. Alas, I saved nothing. Nada. Zilch.

So sad, so sad.

San Jose Symphony (RIP) brought in a ton of very well known artists, both performers and composers. People we probably couldn’t afford. But because our conductor knew so many of them personally we’d get them. I’m not sure if we got special pricing. It’s rather doubtful. But we got them, and it was pretty darn incredible. I was just too young to know that, and to appreciate them as much as I should have.

So now I want to try and go back and compile a list of who we played with, and I do wish I could remember what we played as well. But I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to. My career began in 1975, and I was 18. That’s a bit of time ago.

Anyone out there want to start a list with me? DK? I know you remember a lot of names!

03. October 2007 · Comments Off on Awwwww · Categories: Read!

When the time came for his big Act 2 aria, the meltingly beautiful “Una furtiva lagrima,” (a favorite showpiece of both Caruso and Pavarotti), he stepped out of the rehearsed staging format and strode bravely to the front of the stage. Then he gestured toward Zagoroba and sang the beguiling song right to her.

The initial fury of the stage director, some other cast members and the conductor eventually gave way to an amused forgiveness — and Zagoroba and Margita have been happily married for the past 20 years.


03. October 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

He’s not sexy, he’s just dad.

-Nathan Gunn’s wife (found here)

03. October 2007 · Comments Off on Sigh · Categories: Concert Announcements, Ramble

On Friday, October 5, the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra will kick off the 2007-08 season with a Beatles tribute concert performed with nine-piece rock band, The Rewinders. The performance will take place at World Outreach Church and begins at 8 p.m. and is sponsored by SunTrust and The Aquatic Critter.

“This is our first concert season in Murfreesboro and we’re excited to start it off with one of our most successful performances,” explains Jeffrey A. Reed, music director of the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra. “This show really bridges the gaps between traditional orchestral music and pops.”

Retromadness: The Music of the Beatles features record copies of the original Beatles recordings.

“People might not be aware that the Beatles’ music became so complicated in later years that the band could not perform it live. In our concerts, we attempt to sound as close as possible to the original Beatles recordings. That’s why it takes nine band members and an orchestra to perform the music,” says Reed.


Do I even say anything? This is a symphony orchestra’s opening concert.

Maybe this is the answer to dwindling orchestras. Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe. Maybe not. No. No more words from me.