July 2005

July 10, 2005 18:55

After hearing Beethoven's Eroica Symphony on the radio today I found myself on the net listening to a recording of Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony and it hit me; I really do love orchestral playing. For all the frustrations and things people say about orchestra musicians being failed soloists who are just settling for a career in an orchestra because they didn't quite reach the top of their field or get the breaks they needed, I can honestly say, I could be content playing in an orchestra. I'd love to be a soloist if I could and do solo recitals and play concertos with orchestras but that isn't why I chose to play violin and I would be equally as happy playing in an orchestra. I've really enjoyed getting to be the mentor student with the orchestra here this past year and a half. I've gotten to play works that as a kid were only a dream to hear live but now I've played them! Some of my favorite pieces have been Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony, Grieg's Symphony Dances, to name but a few! We also did some really neat more modern pieces this year too by A. Part and Hovahness.

I can remember as a small child, once, before I ever started violin, going to a symphony concert. It was a really cool experience for me and one I'll never forget. I can remember thinking that I'd love to be a part of what was happening up on stage. It was cool to listen to but I wanted to be part of that mass of people working together to create this wall of sound up on stage. Ever since then it has been a dream to play with an orchestra. I remember only a few years ago, before I had ever played with an orchestra a friend of mine (a cellist) and I went to a Pops Orchestra event and joked around about how one of us would be playing up there someday. We both kind of brushed it off saying that we weren't good enough but that fall I started playing with a youth orchestra and got to take part in an orchestral even that put over 150 string players from Western Canada and the US on the same stage. That summer, a year after seeing that Pops Orchestra play, my violin teacher said she had got a call and was wondering if I'd be interested in playing with that very same orchestra. My friend also ended up being contacted, and there we were. Both experiencing something that only a year ago we joked about not being good enough for.

Back to the first part though. Playing in an orchestra is one of the neatest experiences. Actually all different types of performances are really neat to experience but for anyone who thinks orchestral playing is the end and that it's your death sentence should think again. The feeling of playing with 60 (or more!) other musicians when you reach a climax in a piece or sitting in the middle of an orchestra and hearing exactly what Beethoven is doing as he jumps the melodies around from one section/instrument to another is quite amazing. When you play in an orchestra, you feed off what everyone else is doing. There's a certain sense of satisfaction you get from being so together with so many other people and the feeling when everything clicks and works is like no other feeling! I'm really going to miss not doing as much orchestral playing this year as I have been for the last few years.

*now onto other things...*

I've got all my packing done for Domaine Forget! I've managed to fit most everything into my one giant red suitcase that smells like Febreeze and new suitcase mixed together. I can't wait to see what my clothes smell like two days from now......
I can't believe it's not even 48 hours before I leave. The last couple weeks have gone by so fast. The only thing I'm a little frustrated with is my violin is now making an awful buzzing under my ear and it doesn't seem to be any of the usual suspects so I'm hoping my violin teacher can help me out with that tomorrow at my lesson.

I'm planning on playing Bach for my placement audition when I get there and then I'm signed up to work on the Barber concerto and Beethoven's 4th sonata. One of the teachers there is supposed to be excellent for Bartok so my teacher is also sending me along with the Bartok first Rhapsody. I'm certaintly not going to have any trouble finding things to work on with everything I'll be playing there and then my program for a solo recital I am doing when I get home. Should be exciting!!

Well I guess this is adios for the summer! I hope everyone has a good summer wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

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July 5, 2005 12:32

Only one week left until I get to experience true Canadian billinguality (is that a word?)! Quebec city! Then further, where no man has gone before! Well....ok, obviously some have, otherwise there wouldn't be such an amazing internation festival! I've set as a high priority on my list of things to do as a tourist, a visit to a chocolate museum. How can you go to a city where they have a chocolate museum and not go, right? But to the actual festival...

Domaine Forget has got to have one of the most awesome views for a festival. Right on the St. Lawrence River....mountainous backdrop....historical buildings...beautiful landscapes that make your jaw hit the floor. I have tickets to the Quebec Symphony on the 16th; Martin Chalifour (LA Phil concertmaster) is playing the Dvorak Concerto with and then is doing some masterclasses for a few days, which should be exciting! The concerts are amazing. There's over 25 alone in July and almost 20 in August! It's unreal! I'm so excited to be going. The festival suffered a huge loss towards the middle of June though. There was a fire which completely wiped out the cafeteria, main pavillion and some of the practice rooms. This building was a historic building built in 1900 by the man that the festival is named after. You can see pictures of the fire here. The Sunday brunch concert series was cancelled due to the fire and there was over 1 million dollars in damages done.

On Sunday I received notification from the other program I auditioned for, that I had been accepted! Wow! Accepted into two programs, both of which I never expected to get into! This is the program I would have preferred to go to, but it was also the least likely for me to get into as they accept very few players and the level is very high. It was a huge suprise to get in and I'm really sad I won't be able to go but it is hugely exciting to know I got in! I'm definetly auditioning again there next year!

Packing for this long summer excursion is proving to be interesting. "Do I really need three pairs of pants or can I manage with two?" "Do I take Nineteen Eightfour or Great Expectations?" So many questions and so many..."do I this?" "do I that?" I should leave at least a little bit of room (if that's possible) for bringing momentos home. I mean you can't go to the chocolate museum without bringing some chocolate home for everyone to try right? Some things I'll have less of coming home will be stamps, kleenex pocket packs and bug repellent but so far, aside from maybe some granola bars, that's about it.

Aside from the excitment and anticipation (and nerves!) of getting ready for and being at Quebec, I've still managed to get some practicing in! It's been very summery here the last while so things have gotten rather warm outside. It's nice to see the whole valley warm up with the weather. You can tell it's tourist season. The fact that several hundreds (or is it thousands?) of people come from all over for the Elvis Festival and then we have the Peach Festival and some other smaller events and then it's Ironman keeps the area pretty busy with tourists and a lot of annoyed locals who want to go the speed limit on the twisted roads that overlook the lake. There are several wineries between where I live and town and the view is amazing but when you get people who aren't used to driving curvy roads and who gawk at the view while doing their wine tours, it can be a bit maddening. Oh well...I can put up with them for one more week. Then I become the tourist!

Well I guess I should get back to practicing!

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July 1, 2005 09:52

Happy Canada Day! *cues national anthem*

It's the beginning of a long weekend here and to kick it off is Canada's Birthday. If I was doing what I've done the last three years I wouldn't be sitting here writing this. For the last three years I've played with a Pops orchestra made up of students and professionals but this year decided to be at home and enjoy myself here before heading off to Quebec for camp. I might practice.....I might read....I might clean my room.....I might start to write a more comprehensive packing list..... What to do?

Whatever I end up doing today, it's going to be hot and sunny for most of it! It's lately been very rainy and much cooler but in the last few days things have heated up a lot.

I had a very good time on my holiday away to Loon Lake. I had a cold which made me a bit grouchy but I still had fun! I caught lots of fish this year, all decently sized. A photo opportunity for my Mom proved to me that fish have sharp teeth. It also proved that no matter how much you wash your hands with soap and water fish smell is not easily removed from ones skin. The weather was warm, but pleasent for most of my families stay there. We got hail and a wild thunder storm one day but that was just an excuse to read and listen to music, practice, work on a puzzle or play games. I did manage to practice up there, which is usually manditory as year end recitals always seem to happen within a day or two after getting home. There are always the same people at the lake every year at the same time my family goes, so I often go out on the deck and play stuff for them. This year after having played my Mom and Grandma went out for a walk and when they came back they said someone outside wanted to meet me. I said "hello!" and the lady I was to meet said "I really enjoyed the Lark Ascending you played there earlier." How many people at a remote fishing lake have heard of Vaughn-Williams and Lark Ascending? So that was kind of neat!

After getting back from my week at the lake I had a piano recital first off. My piano teacher's studio is very small now, just 5 students all advanced players. I played the Debussy Sarabande from "Pour le piano". I absolutely love that piece. It's very hard with some of the chords, but I really like the piece and have had fun learning it. I also reunited with some of my piano teachers students for a crash through attempt at a quartet we had played back in the Winter for a fundraiser. I'm not used to performing on piano much outside of an ensemble or accompanist copacity, so I was a bit nervous about doing the Debussy. It was at my piano teachers house, which was nice and a very small audience of the parents of one student, my sister and the boyfriend of one of the other pianists. Having my sister there made me a bit more nervous! She's a great pianist has been pursuing her piano at university for three years now. So it was great to have her home and able to come but at the same time a bit un-nerving! I felt overall really good with how I played though! That was a bonus to playing at my teachers house is that I was comfortable with her piano and the surroundings.

On Monday night it was my violin teacher's year end recital. I had one (originally two were going to play) of my students play in it as well. My student was second up. She was nervous, but I thought she did very well (and so did everyone else). After that I got a break for a bit and then was playing in a string quartet accompaniment for a concerto that one of the other students was playing. After that I got a much longer break and then got to play the first movement of the Saint-Saens B minor concerto. That was interesting. I haven't really worked on it for too long and my teacher and I had only put it together with the piano part that morning. It got better the further it went along, but there were definetly some rough spots. It's a great concerto though!

I am done teaching now for the whole summer and all my year end recitals have been played! I'm going to miss my students and home but can't wait to go away and learn more.

Happy Canada Day! *national anthem ends*

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