24. January 2011 · Comments Off on Oboe Outside My Little World · Categories: OutsideMyWorld™

Charles Pillow oboe and composition, Gary Versace accordion, Jim Ridl keyboards

24. January 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

[name here] didn’t miss the oboe as much as anticipated…

24. January 2011 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

thank you, [name here] ! thanks for inspiring me to never say never!(: i finally made it into the top band at my school with my oboe.(:

For me, the most exciting change emanates from the musicians themselves. They seem to be coming to terms with our ever-changing world, and now grasp that the purpose of recordings and digital offerings is to market the orchestra; to create a unique and distinctive brand; and to spread the orchestra’s name to as many people as possible.

The live recording contract in America, a union agreement which now covers downloading and streaming, is a huge step towards achieving that goal. But I would hope, moving forward, that musicians would look ahead to all of the digital opportunities possible, and work out a win-win situation, so that organizations can market orchestras on as many levels as possible through new technology — within reason, but without massive restrictions.

My hope for the new year is that orchestras can become far more flexible, to respond to innovation quickly. And that managements and boards can recognize and seize those opportunities on behalf of our orchestras and those who love to listen to them.

-Marin Alsop

I read this at Deceptive Cadence. (Please check that site out!) And I SO agree. I am, in fact, doing a happy dance at the moment. Well, in my head anyway. Times, they are a’changin’. Many orchestras, they be a’foldin’. Can we do something to change this trend? Some things we have held back on could actually help promote our cause. We have been shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot by not allowing a smidge of anything out. Or maybe allowing a mini-smidge that is mostly laughable. And a web presence? I think every orchestra should have a YouTube channel. Someone should be able to search for us and find us there.

I’m not saying we should just never be paid a penny for what we do, but I am saying that making ourselves more easily accessible will benefit us more than keeping everything to ourselves, locked in our special little vaults in our symphony offices.

I do hope that someone doesn’t now smash me to smithereens because I am publicly saying this. But really now, we need to catch up to the 21st century. Or at least the 20th. This appears to be a step in that direction.

(And now you see … while I argue with those who say we need to change in certain ways, I’m not opposed to change. Really. Or maybe I’m just a walking contradiction. Hmm.)

PS When can we ever dispense with tails, for goodness sake, and just don all black? Okay, okay, I’m sure that’s asking FAR too much. Sigh.

24. January 2011 · Comments Off on Disappointment · Categories: Read Online

Third, I sent a question to KDFC in response to their email about the changeover:

Are you retaining the same programming style (individual movements, repertory limited to 1750-1900 except for tonal 20th c. composers, no vocal music or opera) or are you going to improve the programming to something that isn’t just “soothing” and “an island of sanity”?

That is, something people who are knowledgeable about classical music might want to hear.

I received the following response:

We will play more complete pieces and branch out a little but we will still be soothing and an island of sanity. Thank you for asking!

Brenda [Barnes]


Lisa Hirsch informs us a bit more about the switch. I found the above disappointing.

I lost my classical concert virginity last night at the Royal Festival Hall. It was Stephen Hough’s Liszt recital with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer. I’m still reeling. As soon as Stephen started playing – it was the Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat – my jaw dropped (actually). I was transfixed, bewitched, spellbound. I’m told that Stephen took more risks with the piece than other performers and played it faster than usual. That figures. At some points, his hands were a pale whirring blur. As his fingers crashed down in elaborate positions all over the keys, my stunned wonder increased. Why on earth hadn’t I been to a classical music concert before?

Do read the whole thing please.

24. January 2011 · Comments Off on Well …. · Categories: Read Online

“How much nicer would it be if you, the pianist, provided the programme notes? So you are talking about the composer before you play and then you can hang out afterwards and have a drink with the audience, as opposed to being some guy who sits up on stage and doesn’t communicate at all other than playing the piano.”

I read it here.

Okay, we “classical” folk are often told we come across as snobs when we perform. I really dislike that, and I would love to change that image. I’m all for changes that take a bit of the distance away as well. But I don’t think we are the only ones who sometimes keep a distance. When I played a Rod Stewart show he not only didn’t stick around to talk to the audience, but he didn’t come to the rehearsal that we orchestra folk attended and he didn’t talk to us either. When I played another “pop” sort of thing (I wish I could remember which one it was but I can’t, so I won’t name the group) we were told we had to go outside and around to get to the stage rather than stay indoors in the warmth because we would go through the group’s room and they didn’t want us there. Period. And that was their choice and we had to abide by that. I was a bit put off by the latter group’s rules, but I wasn’t at all bothered by Rod Stewart. He put on a great show. That’s what people came to hear and see, and that’s what I came to play. (It was loads of fun, by the way!)

Please know I’m not saying we shouldn’t be more accessible. I’m just saying this isn’t only in “our” world. It’s the world of the performer. There are some who will hang out with you after, but many — I would suggest most — don’t. So please don’t tell me that classical performers are a dying breed because we won’t hang out and have a beer with the audience after we finish working. (Although I’d be happy to do that if someone wants to drive me home after! Well, maybe I would; I’m a bit of a loner, really.)

This is not to say, either, that we can’t do some changing. I’m all for change as long as it doesn’t lower the quality of what we do.

And … well … about the line above “other than playing the piano” … hmmm … communicating to me by playing something incredible on the piano (or any other instrument, or with the voice) is good enough for me. I’ve never heard Mr. Rhodes live. But if I felt that he had “fed” me with his music, I really wouldn’t need more than that. Honest and true.

Ramble ramble … am I making any sense at all? Who knows? Surely not I!

24. January 2011 · Comments Off on Aw, Shucks · Categories: Links

I’ve been interviewed by a blogger. You can read my goofiness here.

Thanks, Sebastian, for including me at your site! 🙂