March 2005

March 25, 2005 20:38

Two days ago my mom and I went to see Hilary Hahn at the Kimmel Center. She played the Barber concerto, which I now officially love, and I want to play it next. She wore this really cool, floor-length green skirt. We haven't heard her for a year or so. She's spectacular! Not that I needed to remind anyone. One thing I really liked about her playing is that she wasn't totally stationary during her rests or looking at the floor, but it seemed like she was really watching the orchestra and nodding to them and really concentrating. And her vibrato--! It looked like her hand was just buzzing! Before her solo they played The Water Sprite by Dvorak which I really liked, and played Shostakovich on the second half. Afterwards we got her autograph on three CDs, one the soundtrack of the Village, made out for Calla (the sister that was in it). She was so nice while signing things, she spent a lot of time talking to each fan and was just so personable! The man behind us in line told us he flew all the way up from West Virginia to see the concert. We might go see it again with Calla, we liked it so much.

http://www.phillyfests.com/pff/templates/film_details.cfm?id=3895

There is the link to information about the documentary, which will have its first public screening at the Philadelphia Film Festival on April 9.

I got letters in the mail back from Encore and the Perlman Program the other day. I got into Encore, which is really great, but I didn't get into Perlman! *SOB* Well, they put me on their waiting list. It was a typed letter, but on the bottom there was a hand-written note from Toby Perlman which said that she liked the application and that I should try again next year. Well, that's not exactly discouraging, but I was pretty sad. Oh well, I knew it would be hard to get in...I'll probably go to Encore, which I know would be really great.

Well, my break from school is going to be over soon, so I have to get off my nocturnal sleep pattern and go to bed.

--Alice

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March 21, 2005 09:16

We're on spring break! Yay! That means I get to sleep till 10.
A couple of days ago, I got a letter from Encore, saying I got in. We're still waiting to hear about scholarship, though, and from the Perlman people...which is kind of longshot but I have my fingers crossed, which makes it hard to type. And practice.

Last Tuesday we went to Tony's memorial concert, which was at the Queen Street branch of Settlement. The audience was mostly his colleagues, plus a few students. Mads played her Bruch Romance, which was beautiful. She played right after his standpartner from the Harrisburg Symphony was making his eulogy on the stage and weeping, so it was tough for her to get up there and do it. But she did. His teacher from Peabody, Richard Field, played a solo and gave a beautiful speech. Tony's wife Marka, and five of his colleagues played a Mournful Pavane by Alexander Tchaikovski (is he a descendant of Peter Ilych? It was spelled with an 'i' in the program, but I've seen Peter Ilych Tchaikovski before, so...) which was really nice, and at the end, they played a 2003 recording of Tony and a percussionist called Grand Duo for Viola and Percussion, forget who it was by. It was very powerful, listening to the piece and looking at the empty stage with the solitary music stand. Everyone was very moved. Afterwards we went to a reception at David Yang's house (on the way we encountered a fight between three teenage boys over a basketball trophy).

On Friday I did my yearly playing for the Settlement branch directors & board members, so I could continue getting my scholarship. It went really well, and afterwards my teacher said that it was the most musical he ever heard me play that piece. He then told me that he had put Truffle, his 21-year-old cat, to sleep that morning. He had Truffle since she was a kitten and all the time I had studied with him. But she was obviously sick and had been so for some time. It was a shame because he really loved her. But as far as life spans for cats go, she was pretty old!

After that, Mads, I, and the Tabby twins did our quartet audition. We played the 1 and 6 mvts of the Walker piece, and the committee seemed to really enjoy it, they chuckled at all the right places, and laughed at the end. The reason for this audition was we hope to be picked to play on the Settlement Annual Concert, which we did last year.

The Zig(eunerweisen) is going pretty well. I'm working a lot on the Allegro. We're afraid that the harmonics just aren't going to come out on the 3/4 size, so we might cut them for the master class. But I'm still trying.
--Alice

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March 11, 2005 19:44

Well...I figure if Heifitz didn't do the harmonics perfectly in his recording of Ziguenerweisen, neither can I. On the bright side, my left hand pizz. has really improved! Yay! I might play the Zig in a school assembly before April 8 (the masterclass). No doubt my classmates have never heard anything like that before!

So Calla did her audition on Thursday, and she said it went really well. All we have to do is sit and wait to see if she gets a callback.

So about the Alf violin; it's the PERFECT size, and it's soooo pretty too, and it's very loud, but when you play softly it doesn't sound as pretty as we'd like. Plus it doesn't like my Coda bow. I tried it with my teacher's Tubbs (heheh) bow, and it sounded better, but I don't really like his bow because it's not very firm. We're going to see if someone will adjust the soundpost for us. If we buy it, we'll have to replace the Coda bow we bought about a month ago...sigh.

In more uplifting news, I might be able to go to Kinhaven JR session again this August, playing viola! It would be really fun, I think, to play some chamber music and learn the clef. I'd use my sister's 14 inch if I went. In July I hope to be at Encore (or Perlman's camp...it sounds like absolute HEAVEN but I guess I can't get my hopes up for getting in...) and then if I went to Kinhaven I'd be gone for almost the whole summer. But it would be spent in very good places.

--Alice

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March 9, 2005 18:43

My mom was right; a lot of bad things happened in February (the competition, Tony, various hundred dollar car repairs, etc) but now that March has arrived, things will start looking up! Some good news. First of all, From The Top, the radio show on Saturday mornings which I was on in September, is doing a special Philadelphia show where people living only in Philly from Temple and Settlement will play on it. The Settlement Chamber Orchestra auditioned, playing the Bartok "Serenade for Strings" and two movements from the Dvorak Serenade. We just found out yesterday that we got in! Yessss! The second good thing: Every year at the Kimmel Center, a professional violinist gives a masterclass. This year, it's David Kim, the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And I was asked to be on it! YIPPEEEEEEE!! I did a masterclass with him before through Settlement, so I'm prepared in knowing a bit about what to expect. I'm going to play Zigeunerweisen. It should be really fun, and a lot of people will be there, but it's in a month so I'm going to be practicing a LOT. The bad part is that during the actual class my teacher is going to be in London so he won't be there....sigh. We can videotape it for him, but it won't really be the same. :-( But all that stuff is really great.

In other, non-musical but still spiffy news, Calla (my 10-year-old actress sister who was in The Village) was requested to come to an audition for this movie being made during the summer in NYC, called "Fur"! It's about the life of Diane Arbus, a photographer born in the 1950s-ish. Nicole Kidman is going to play Diane Arbus. Aaaand...*drumroll*, if Calla got the part, she would play Nicole Kidman's daughter!!! She went to an acting coach today, and got some really good advice (because she wouldn't listen to ours!). The other main character in this movie, Lionel (who has some strange disease where he is covered from head to toe with hair) would be played by Robert Downey Jr, whom, by total coincedence! is of course the son of Robert Downey Sr, who is the producer of the documentary Rittenhouse Square which I'm in. Small world, huh. Anyhoo, we're really excited about this and Calla's audition is tomorrow. Hope she does well!

OK, I think that's about it for now...oh, except the violin from Gregg Alf arrived today. So far, OK, except it's kinda too loud, and that was when I played it in my grandmother's office room (where we had it shipped to) with low ceiling, carpet, etc. So, I dunno...but I have a lesson tomorrow and we'll get another opinion on it.

So all this great stuff is happening now that it's March! Thank goodness.

All righty.
--Alice

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March 5, 2005 18:47

So, on Wednesday we went to Tony's memorial service. We drove to Delaware, but it was a surprisingly short trip. It was in this pretty church, and there were tons of people there, which was good. We had to sit close to the front because it was the only pew left that had room for all 5 of us. At the very beginning, when the pastor was talking about it, tears were streaming down my cheeks, but I guess I was all cried-out from the rest of the week because I didn't cry that much during the rest of it. Two people gave speeches, and his groups played without him. (There were no violas on the program at all.) Relache played, "A Maze [With Grace]" (an awesome piece that's actually written as a maze, and the musicians chose their own line of music to the center, so the piece is never performed the same way twice.) Todd Thomas sang Simple Gifts and At The River. Three cellists played a Popper piece, his quartet played a trio, and the violinists also played two Bartok Duets.

The service seemed short. Marka (Tony's wife) was amazingly composed. There were a million people there we knew from around Philadelphia; it was odd to see them all in the same place (a violin maker we know, the director of Settlement, the conductor on one orchestra Tony was in, my violin teacher, and many many others). There was a huge line to see Marka, and we waited for another hour before seeing her.

We came home and slept for a while because we were just drained. Then we had dinner and went to bed, basically.

In other news, Mads had a masterclass with Kim Kashkashian yesterday. I think her performance was one of the best I've ever heard her play. Among other things (like telling her to practice more scales -- maybe she'll do it now that she's heard Kim Kashkashian tell her to!) Mads was told she has the potential to be a professional violist, which was encouraging, to say the least.

I've decided I like practicing in my parent's room more than the living room. It's warmer and it's basically just set up better. (I've recently noticed that if I play sitting down my back starts to hurt a lot. Sometimes I sit while playing in the living room, but it just works better to stand in my parent's room.) Also, it's on the third floor, and farther away from other people.

Gregg Alf called to say that a violin he had told us about during the fall is ready for us to look at! Yipeeeeee! I am getting kind of tired of this little 3/4 size...though, as my teacher said, it's true that on the bigger size I was shifting around where I should have been able to reach in one position. Oh well...maybe my hands will grow soon. (This particular violin of Gregg Alf's used to belong to someone who is retiring from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and has very small hands.)

Going now to walk with my two big sisters, one back from college for spring break, to pick up some Chinese food. :-)

--alice

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March 1, 2005 20:50

Things are still really sad around here. On Sunday we got back from rehearsal and found that Andrea Clearfield, a composer and pianist living in Philadelphia, who has monthly concerts in her apartment open to the public (which I have played on before) emailed us to ask if we would play in the concert that night, as a little rememberance of Tony. (They were in Relache together.) It was very late notice but we thought it was a good idea. I play the Dance of the Blessed Spirits that I played for From The Top, and Mads played the Bruch Romance. We ran through them with Andrea a few hours before, and everything went smoothly. People told me I played very emotionally. So that went smoothly. And speaking of From The Top, tonight the Settlement Chamber Orchestra auditioned for the May 24 performance they're having in Philadelphia. It's a special show for Philadelphians only to play in. A bunch of people auditioned, but we played some very interesting pieces very well, and we have our fingers crossed.

Tomorrow our family is going to Tony's memorial service in Deleware at 11. I'll write another post about how it goes.

Yaaaaawn. I'd better go to bed.
--alice

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