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Joshua Iyer

Urbana Pops - Original Composition Premiere :)

April 23, 2015 19:12

I open up violinist.com this evening to find a brand-new black and blue background and everyone talking about London competitions! :)

Anyways, this'll be quick, but I just wanted to say that I just received news the Urbana Pops Orchestra will be premiering an original composition of mine - the finale to "Birds of Prey", a piece I wrote throughout the summer and finished this specific section in September (2014). The revised score and parts will be due May 11th, so I have some cleaning up to do with orchestration and the playability of some passages, but it will be really cool because this is my first full orchestra live concert thing. I will hopefully be able to have a link to the recording somehow; the concert is June 13th that I will go and see. So yeah! It'll be exciting!

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The Next Six Weeks... to infinity... and beyond...

April 7, 2015 16:27

There is so much music happening for me as I begin to wrap up my high school year! I thought this would be an informative and nostalgic entry to look back on both before the summer and beyond just to see what I was up to around this time in the future, like if you're carousing all my older entries here on this blog. :)

On violin, I'm currently involved with our musical, Suessical, and we've been having long rehearsals after school. It's been fun looking through all this music, and it'll be an exciting show because lots of people in the community usually come out to our school's musicals, and it may attract an elementary school audience even, which will be cute. I also have my recital in a couple weeks on violin, where I'll be playing "Little Snow-White", the concerto I began last year (literally a year ago) and worked so hard on composing throughout the summer, for the final time (at least working on it). Then, in private lessons, I plan on working on technique and preparing my playing skill for college. One of the pieces we are playing for the Pops concert this year is Herrmann's "Psycho" suite. We just got the piece a couple days ago, and I had already listened to it in the BBC Proms 2011 concert, so it was cool that we got the actual version (rented) that we get to play! I'm playing the second violin part, but it's still a very fun piece and I'm excited to play it for my final concert in high school at the end of May... very sad....

Composition-wise, due May 4th is a symphony I began working on last month called "Human" (Symphony No. 2), I'm calling it, since my "first" one was completed in 2012. Each of its four movements go from birth to childhood to adulthood to death, and I have a specific story I'm telling with it in a way. Secondly, while I was in Italy last week, I wrote out some sketches for my string quartet, which I hope to work a lot on after completing my symphony, and of course if I want to continue working on a possible opera, or any sort of final "Thank you" pieces for strings or anything. It's kind of sentimental for my final piano recital in May, because I've been doing piano recitals with my teacher for basically a whole decade by now, really, and one of the pieces I'm playing on piano for it is a sonatina I composed in January 2014.

Looking ahead to the summer, I'm going to be continuing to prepare music for college, probably both for violin and piano, so I can hopefully be in a good position for auditioning for the orchestra. Most likely, I'm going to end up at Augustana, but stay tuned for more details. :) I hope to possibly make some sort of film this summer, since last summer I didn't, and I'd like to see after homing my composition skills (especially with my big summer work "Birds of Prey") what I can do with a film score now, and it'd be cool to have a more recent film to take with me to college to show off everything. I'm also thinking about writing out, by hand, maybe in the summer sun, a part from a complete orchestra Ravel score, because some college professors suggested that would help with notation and also give ideas for our compositions. That would be a fun project to do, especially since I have a large pad of score paper that could fit all the instruments. Overall, I think this could be a very productive and musical summer! I'm not thinking too much about it yet, but just for some ideas on things I could do to keep up with everything musically. :)

So yeah! I'm very excited for not only the last six or seven weeks of high school (and a bit sad), and the summer beyond, but also beginning college! It will be a very new experience, but it will also be fantastic, and there's just so much going on in my life, both musically and not, that I just have to allow music to help me push through these somewhat emotional times as well. And thanks for all the support I get through the community here! It's weird to think I began this blog in March 2012, when I had just finished my childhood phase of video games and toys and whatnot (and some music and even some composition with my sister on violin and piano). I really only began this I think because at that time, whenever I obsessed over a game or something, I would have to watch all the videos on that particular game as well as play it, so at first the violin was just like another game, where I would want to watch videos and read about it. Of course, now it's turned into my life and my soul, much, much more than just that, but I guess now's the time to start being nostalgic about all these things. Anyway, I'd better get to work on some homework, so I hope you enjoyed this little article, and see you later!

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My Musical Experiences in Italy!

April 2, 2015 21:56

Italy trip 2015!

Well. It's the end of a long but fantastical week in Italy! There were all sorts of highlights, like visiting the Colosseum in Rome or the statue of David, but for this violinist.com article I'll focus on violin and music related things on my trip. :) The places we visited were Rome, Florence, Lucca, Milan, and Cremona. I think that was it. :)

violin museum
Strads, in a museum in Florence

First, Cremona was yesterday's adventure where we visited the Stradivarius museum and visited a darkish room with a lavish red carpet containing a bunch of surviving older instruments and saw how the different forms of the violin evolved to the perfect modern shape we have and use today. (It was a museum dedicated to the most wonderful single object on the planet!!!) Like I mentioned in my last entry, it was cool playing (and I spent a lot of time writing for) the violin and not much time thinking about the history.

For whatever reason at the museum it made me so happy to swing around the glass to see the sides of the violins, maybe because of how portable they looked and all that. They also talked about the different types of wood used for the violin with a cool screen that could peel apart and zoom in to a virtual violin. Maple for the back, spruce for the top, ebony for the tailpiece and fingerboard, and then the other woods didn't really matter. There was also a big dome made of maple wood that you could go inside - it was so warm and dark and cozy - and listen to Strads being played. In the final area, there were a whole bunch of new violins made for the 2015 Cremona contest that seemed cool (the winners got their instruments put on display in the museum), and a theatre area with a movie playing with cartoons and movies that had to do with the violin. There are also performances of Strads there as well daily.

At their bookshop, I bought a small magnet with a cool violin design and a composition notebook. I was so happy to get a notebook from Italy! :) On the way out, we passed a small workshop with tools and materials of shapes of violins and things for the inside of the instrument (that also were in the museum) used for making it. I went into that store for a small bit and bought their rosin that came in a really cool wooden case. I've been needing new rosin forever now, so it's so cool that I now have rosin from Cremona to take back with me home!

At another tiny violin shop (they're literally all over the city!), I also got to play excerpts from my string piece "Into the Forest" and my concerto "Little Snow-White" (that I wrote) on an expensive Italian violin! It was cool, but as I got in the higher positions, the string didn't really make contact with the fingerboard as well. I also didn't have a shoulder rest and played with a wood bow. It was still a pretty fun experience.

We of course had three concerts playing in churches. The first one had a lot of Italian students in the audience, and after we played (I had the first violin solo in "Spring", and we played "Intermezzo" and "Mamma!", two very Italian pieces) I was photographed and interviewed by a couple Italian girls, which was interesting. The churches were loud with a lot of reverb, so we had to play more like the Baroque style (for our three Baroque pieces at least, Vivaldi and Bach) in them. They were located in small villages, but it was still cool, and for the penultimate one we combined with the Oak Park River Forest orchestra and the last one with a choir that sang really beautifully. Personally, it was so fun bringing and playing my personal violin in Italy! :)

I also got a lot of composing done throughout the trip. We had several three and four hour bus trips to get from one place to the next. Lucca is a very beautiful town with a small garden area and park area that reminded me of a video I watched ages ago about Ravel's nature for his inspiration, seeing some French gardens and all that. The Italians also like their trees and hedges in a very symmetrical way, and I got inspired by looking at it and wrote a bit. Throughout the trip, I wrote several sketches that might be compiled into their own piece, or I might look into writing a brand new opera (scrapping my plans and sketches for one back in September 2014). I also sketched two movements of my new string quartet, and yeah, the rest were just random sketches. I was inspired by seeing the red rooftops at Lucca, and the Italian countryside heading to another town. All in all, I have about fifteen pages in my notebook of penciled music I physically wrote here in Italy, which is so cool and will be great fun to look back on later when I orchestrate on the computer sometime in the future. I hope to share some of this music with you later on!

So yeah! Overall, it was an amazing journey which left me thinking I'm going to live and write my masterpieces in Lucca, then have them performed in Cremona. :) Thanks for reading! I can't wait to play my violin again in America. :) Heading home today!

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