I actually started in clubs and was really happy with that,” says DBR. “As a matter of fact, I was somewhat embarrassed to admit I played in an orchestra while I was working with such South Florida locals as 2 Live Crew. I enjoy both.

“But it’s interesting that, once my non-classical colleagues found out about my orchestra work, they were really interested and when my classical colleagues found out about my non-classical work in R&B and hip hop, they were appalled.”

-DBR (Daniel Bernard Roumain)

I read it here.

11. February 2010 · Comments Off on Nap Time! · Categories: Opera, Ramble, Teaching

I have Figaro tonight, and three students before that; the first student of the day canceled, and while I’ll miss her I am sort of relieved, as I need my nap. Teaching, when I put myself into it, and I always do my best to do that, can really zonk me out. Figaro can too. Put ’em together and I’m heading toward zombie land.

I’m wimpy, I know. I have a friend who works her day job and then goes and plays the opera. I know that many on stage have day jobs also, and they still manage to stay awake for the performance, and do great work, too!

But me? I’m gonna take a nap now. Otherwise I’m not sure just where my head would be tonight at, say, 11:00 PM. I haven’t been doing nothing all day, mind you. I have started our taxes (going easier this year; I guess I’m getting better at these things!), and I took a trip down to the symphony office to pick up lots of parts for Romeo and Juliet, as we begin our ballet rehearsals a week from yesterday. (I love this ballet music … which is rare!)

But in any case, the couch is calling my name. I will obey.

Here … have yourself some Figaro while I’m resting!

11. February 2010 · Comments Off on Music in the Family · Categories: Links, San Francisco Symphony, Videos

I’ve always admired Julie Ann Giacobassi’s English horn playing. I do wonder, these days, what she’s up to, as she retired from her San Francisco Symphony a few years back. (Her site, Fish Creek Music, is still up and running, but no recitals are mentioned, so I’m guessing she’s truly retired.)

Who knew it was a family thing?

He set out to become a classical musician with hopes for a career with a metropolitan symphony orchestra. It’s a dream his sister, Julie, and brother, Mike, both realized.

“Mike has been with the Milwaukee Symphony as a violinist for, I think he said 33 years, now, and my sister, Julie (Hall) Giacobassi, just recently retired as an oboe/English horn specialist with the San Francisco Symphony. She was there, I think, 27 years,” Giacobassi said.

Giacobassi said his younger sister, Jane (Okada) Giacobassi, is a fine cellist active with community orchestras in the St. Paul, Minn., area.

Dan Giacobassi’s road has been harder. “I excelled pretty quickly with the technical aspects of the flute, but I had a terrible tone for years and years and years.”

Every evening was a musical traffic jam at the Giacobassi home. “We had to sort of line up to practice. Our house wasn’t very big and it was pretty much one person at a time got to practice.”“There was always music going on around me,” he said. “From my earliest memory, my mom (Martha), a pianist, was a church choir director. In Muskegon, it was Wood Avenue Methodist Church.”

I read it here.

Dan Giacobassi-Musician
11. February 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Being tone-deaf with strings is bad, but double-reeds are far, far worse. An oboe in the wrong hands is unspeakable torture.

11. February 2010 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: BQOD

Oboe is a weird instrument. Maybe it was my early exposure to the BBC made-for-tv Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack. Maybe it was my childhood love for Peter and the Wolf. Whatever the cause, the sound of the oboe sends me off into some trippy transcendent green space that slightly resembles the British country side.

11. February 2010 · Comments Off on LOVE This! · Categories: Links, Reeds

The end result for an oboist is a couple-inch-long reed that sounds like the squawk of a terrified bird (technically called the “crow”) but, when attached to the instrument, somehow becomes the impossibly pure tone of the oboe. If you hear a beautiful oboe, rest easy, for it’s a happy musician. If it sounds sharp or lacks that effortless quality, make haste, for the oboist is upset, and who knows what someone with these sorts of obsessive tendencies is capable of.

… and I love the rest of the article too.

And now I really have to work on reeds. I’ve been telling myself ALL week that I have to wind some and get a a batch going. Instead I worked on some “blanks” (reeds that are wound but not carved) that I just knew were bad (sometimes you can just tell that the cane is crummy). Maybe if I publicly tell all of you that I have to work on reeds I really will.

I will work on reeds. I will work on reeds. Really. I will. I will work on reeds. I will. I will. REEDS. It’s time. I will work on reeds. Really. I will work on reeds. I will work on reeds. Really. I will. I will. REEDS. It’s time. REEDS. REEDS. REEDS. I will. REEDS. I will. REEDS. It’s time. It’s time. It’s time. It’s time. Really. Really. REEDS.

Sorry. It’s just so much more fun to play around with words than it is to play around with cane. Trust me on this. But … well … I will work on reeds. It’s time.

Um. I hope.

Time will tell!

Oboists, like baseball players, have inexplicable slumps when they cannot find a way to make acceptable reeds.

-Joseph Robinson

I read it here.