March 2006

March 29, 2006 16:25

Greetings from the Austin Airport! It is rather humid and muggy, and it was raining when we got here, which then escalated to thunderstorms. But later on in the day, and during the show, the weather was perfectly nice. Everyone has told us that Austin is the best part of Texas, however I wouldn't know since it is my first time here! Not including the stop we made in the "George Bush" airport in Houston...haha. Anyway, the show was sponsored by the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) during their convention which happens every year in a different part of the country. So what it is, is basically a lot of music teachers (mostly piano, I gathered, but all kinds) come together and go meetings and recitals and exhibits and things like that, and they had a From The Top Show as one of the performances. I pre-recorded a piece with a 16 year-old-pianist who had come to the MTNA before, and one of his favorite parts were the exhibits. They're in a huge room the size of a gym or bigger, and every music school/sheet music publisher/piano manufacturer/anything else you can think of has a booth. It ranged from some really nice booths where you could get really beautiful Henle urtext manuscripts, to a booth filled with hideous things such as Tiffany lamps with keyboards on them. So, From The Top bought the young pianist the complete Beethoven sonatas in urtext, and a Got Music? mouse pad as souvenirs. (Unfortunately we were unable to buy him a Beckstein piano, which was on display and he was trying out.) Also I got to try an electric violin for the first time! It had a regular violin's bridge, fingerboard and strings, but was bright red and cut-away on the sides. It had a pretty awful sound, though.

The show went well. I didn't have as much stuff as I usually have to do, but that's fine. They have done a lot of shows in a very short amount of time, so the staff is pretty stressed and a little disoriented. Actually, they just did a show in Dallas a few days before the one here in Austin, which I didn’t go to (at the beginning of the year they gave me a list, and I got to pick the 10 places I wanted to go) but they got confused, and thought I was coming to Dallas. So at the pizza party the night before, where everyone meets everyone else and gets information about the show, etc, Tim, the producer/writer, said, "Alice, who will be here in a minute—" and then everyone looked at him and said, "No, she's not coming on this trip." And they had already written the whole script, which supposedly I had a big part in! Yikes! They even considered flying me in for the show, which I would have done gladly if I weren't at that moment in a concert back in Philadelphia. So I have a feeling that the script written for Austin was kind of last-minute, since they didn't think I was coming!

Because the audience was all music teachers, they were more responsive and appreciative, I think, than the usual hodge-podge audience. And everyone performed wonderfully, of course. One of my favorite things about doing the show is getting to meet all the kids and make connections with everyone. So hopefully sometime in the future when I'm at a camp, or at some music festival somewhere, I'll see someone and say, Hey, I met you at From the Top! And of course it's always wonderful just to meet people who are your age and share your interests.

This weekend I have two concerto competitions (to solo with local orchestras, like I did a month ago.) These two in particular I have been doing for four years! Maybe this time I'll get lucky. I'm playing the third movement of Bruch.

I just realized that I never posted to say how the Bach Double concert went! Well, it was excellent. The only thing was that, during the beginning of the third movement, my shoulder rest slipped off! It didn't fall off entirely, but I was clutching it between my neck and the violin. I was really scared it would fall on the floor, and that would be awful if it did because I can't play without a shoulder rest. I have tried before but I can never seem to make it work with my neck in any way that is remotely comfortable. Thank goodness I kept it there till the end. If it had happened in the first movement that would have been fine because there are 3 measure rests where I could have easily put it back on. But people in the audience told me they didn't notice anything. The performance went well otherwise. And the church was a much better performance space than the church the first concert was in; it was beautiful, first-off, but less reverberant so you didn't need to over-articulate in order to be heard. When I get home I'll try to put up the audio of the concert.

Okay, we've boarded and the plane is about to take off!

--alice

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March 22, 2006 20:37

Well, a lot has happened since my last blog. I went to Fort Meyers for a FTT show, and it was very memorable. First of all, they lost my luggage on the way there, which includes all of my clothes, obviously, and my show outfit! And my sheet music too. In case we didn't get it back before the show, my mom and I and the FTT production coordinator, Kim, went to the Gap Outlet and bought suitable dress attire. :-P

It was funny, but we were basically doing a show in a retirement community. The audience was mostly 75+, but they appreciated it anyway. The weather was really nice, and although we never got to see the beach :( But I did get to go swimming and sunbathe by the pool, hahah. And I saw a manatee in their little man-made lagoon.

The story has a happy ending, though; I got my suitcase back. I also got pretty sick near the end of the trip and had a sore throat cold-ish thing (and had to cancel my lesson in NY!)

Next show is in Austin, we're leaving Monday morning.

My Bach Double concert is on Saturday. It's sounding pretty good. And it's going to be in a gorgeous church, with a professional orchestra. It's the Bach Festival of Philadelphia.

My quartet played the Shosti 8 in an audition to be on the annual concert at our music school. We did a lot of preparing in a really small time and it paid off, because we did great! Rosin dust was flying and bowhairs were everywhere. It was very exciting! We really owe a lot to our coach, who is very dedicated and caring.

--alice

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March 8, 2006 19:19

As of recently I've decided to enhance my education by studying an unusual subject. And I have a very...unusual mentor!

Muahahah....MUAHAHAHAHAH!

Ahem. In other news at this hour, I am trying to decided what to do for the summer. Here are the possibilities so far:

-I could go to Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine, which I heard about before but I applied this year for the first time. (I don't know much about it, has anyone gone there?)
-I could go to the Perlman Music Festical. I really would like to go there, one of the reasons being that it is actually modeled after Kinhaven, my first sleepover music camp that I absolutely love. Of course, it's really hard to get in, but I have my fingers crossed.
-I could go back to Encore for the second year.

I am going back to the junior session of Kinhaven for my fifth (and final) year, as a violist. But obviously since that's viola, it wouldn't be a main focus. (I love it there so much!)

So those are my choices right now. My teacher wants me to go back to Encore, and I really liked it there a lot. But I want to keep my options open.

I had a voice lesson today :-D This is my repertoire as of current:

I Know Things Now from Into the Woods
Popular from Wicked
You Can't Get a Man with a Gun from Annie Get Your Gun
Far From the Home I Love from Fiddler on the Roof
Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof
In My Own Little Corner from Cinderella

....that's all that I can remember off the top of my head. I feel good about that stuff for having had six lessons so far.

--alice

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