It has been quite a busy last 6 weeks, filled with bizarre travel moments, fun performances, exciting evenings, and a continuation of being settled in Dallas. At the end of September, I went to Virginia to perform Saint-Saens and Rachmaninoff, and really had quite a wonderful time. The orchestra, conductor and I all got along famously, and the reception they threw after the concert (complete with a chocolate fountain and bottomless champagne glasses) was indeed memorable. The weather was gorgeous, and I hope to return soon. In the following two weeks after that performance, my life was inundated with chamber music...specifically that by Dvorak and Dohnanyi. Chamber music really is perhaps the most enjoyable form of music: a bunch of colleagues/friends come together for one common goal; there is complete equality in the group; and one doesn't have to practice by themselves (often the lonely fate of a musician). In fact, one of these chamber ensembles I'm in is going to the Cayman Islands in December for a couple of concerts (with the addition of the Bach g minor sonata, it looks like), and I cannot wait to escape the cold winters of Cleveland with white beaches, green water, and tax-free shopping!!
Last week, after watching the Cleveland Indians fall short to the Boston Red Sex, I was in Nevada for a number of days: I played in two different schools, a recital, and Beethoven Concerto with the Carson City Symphony. Now, getting there was rather difficult: I was on a plane that (to quote the non-plussed, gum chomping flight attendant) had issues, and so we landed in Midland-Odessa, Texas while Lord-knows-what took place. After a very long travel day (that including losing a few dollars at the Las Vegas slots), I arrived in Reno for a week of playing in the area. It was my first time performing in Nevada, and I do think I made the most of it. My partner in the recital, Rachel Ing, is a lovely, talented, and beautiful pianist, and I think we will collaborate again. The reception from the kids completely blew me away, and I was very touched when I was presented with a card from the children with enthusiastic remarks: moments like that make it all worthwhile for me, when children can be exposed to a new form of art or culture that excites them. Especially with this particular business, the younger people are when exposed to good classical music, the better. My manager drove up from Los Angeles to help facilitate the weekend, and my "California family" drove in from San Francisco: it was fabulous seeing everyone, and the dinners out were stunning! Thank you again. That trip also marked the first time I played Beethoven with an orchestra--it was a positive, learning experience for me and Maestro Bugli and I had a terrific time.
Right now, I am back in Dallas, and I am playing tomorrow with Chee-Yun on a recital at SMU. in addition, I am back as concertmaster for the orchestra, and need to prepare my trip back to Cleveland in November. Amidst this traveling and commuting, I have been reflecting on a lot of current issues (I know, I know...a musician voicing their opinion on contemporary issues?) 2007 is quite a unique year in history: a polarized Capital Hill, celebrities going to jail and rehab left and right, much of my generation receiving their news from Perez Hilton and TMZ, and these fires ravaging Southern California (you could have heard a pin drop on my plane as we flew over Malibu earlier this week). What role can musicians take in these current issues? Well, I am trying to do my part with helping a good friend organize a political fundraiser to bring awareness to certain domestic issues; appearing in schools and showing that not everyone in my generation is a "frequent and habitual user of controlled substances" (to quote the Judge in a certain celebrity's custody trial); and attempting to notice the beauty and art all around us. Everything that Americans take for granted, we should acknowledge and enjoy; and we must support, create, and notice art, beauty, and educate ourselves, whether is it partaking in a museum tour, supporting the arts, our freedom of speech, our right to vote, or our right to know the truth behind our government's decisions overseas. Little by little, if we all do our part, we will create a more stable, more beautiful America for the next generation.
A Happy Autumn and best wishes!
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