Category Archives: Music

October and Poe

Here we are friends, in the heart of fall. In New York the chilly windy days have arrived. We see scenes of fallen colored leaves blowing down the streets and  figures of the macabre appear all around; jack-o-lanterns and witches and other scary creatures associated with this month. And I have one more to add to your October spirit.

Edgar Allan Poe.

This month is simply not complete with some 19th century frightful stories. And as luck would have it I’m performing on a concert dedicated to just that, Poe!

Whitney George’s Curiostiy Cabinet is presenting an evening of music and Poe. There will be original score to silent films from the 1920’s, a retelling of The Raven with puppets, and even a setting of a lesser known poem of his, Evening Star.

It’s really going to be a great evening to celebrate Poe and the season of the macabre. Join us at 7:30p this Thursday at the Center for Fiction (17 E 47th St.)!!

Big Read POE Concert Poster copy

 

– another SoprAboist

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Holiday in Rome

Come join the Litha Symphony Orchestra for a Holiday in Rome!

The concert features Berlioz’s Roman Carnival, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italian, Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and the night wouldn’t be complete without Rhespighi’s Pines of Rome. I’m playing English Horn with the group and having a great time with the two fantastic solos.

Your holiday begins at 8:00pm tomorrow, Saturday, August 23 at the Church of the Holy Apostles (9th Ave & 28th St). Tickets are $20 and includes an open bar for the duration of the concert. For more information visit http://www.lithasymphony.org.

Hope to see you there!

Litha Symphony

– another SoprAboist


IDRS 2014

What a week!  A record number of double reeds flocked to the big city of New York to attend the International Double Reed Society’s (IDRS) conference at NYU.  The conference began Tuesday morning and ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning with a cocktail party overlooking the beautiful New York skyline.

I spent the entire week listening to lectures and concerts, meeting new and old friends and walking around the exhibits seeing all the new gadgets available and of course trying all the great instruments.  The exhibits wouldn’t have been complete without the madness of everyone noodling on the instruments, searching for one they might call their own.

And (excitedly)…. I am happy to announce that I got a new oboe!  After 10 years with my last great instrument I finally have a second oboe!  It’s another Lorée, but this time a 125 model. It has an extremely smooth sound and unbelievable upper range.  I’m so sad that I can only play it 15 minutes a day right now!

New Oboe

New Lorée 125 Royal model oboe!

 

Another great highpoint of the week was participating in the William Scheide celebration.  I had the great honor of playing and singing next to Allan Vogel, Dan Stolper and Frank Morelli.  Just playing with one would have been amazing, but I had all three of these greats right next to me.  The celebration was made even sweeter as the 100 yr old Scheide was in the audience to experience it.

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With so much that happened this week it would take days to detail it all, but I can say that I saw so many great performances, master classes and even lectures.  What a great introduction to the fun of IDRS!

Now for Tokyo 2015!!

 

— another SoprAboist

 


aMainezing Summer!

I have finally begun to catch my breath after a great 3 weeks spent at the Bowdoin International Music Festival at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. As a woodwind fellow I was there to perform chamber music in a woodwind quintet as well as in the orchestra and any solo performances I could squeeze in. After 21 days those performances totaled 11! I was able to perform 3 solo, 3 orchestra and 5 chamber.

To break those down a bit I began my performances with the Brahms Violin (really oboe!) Concerto.  I was very excited to have the chance to play this amazing solo.  My fellow winds were a great cushion allowing me to float above.

Post Brahms "Oboe" Concerto performance with Ilya Kaler.

Post Brahms “Oboe” Concerto performance with Ilya Kaler.

After that initial concert I got my chance at some solo work on the Bowdoin stage with Lyle Davidson’s Bird of Paradise and Poulenc’s Oboe Sonata.

Later that week it was the Lady Wind Squad’s turn at the stage.  We decided early on that we wanted to prepare a children’s concert, so our first performance boasted some of that program, Berio’s Opus Number Zoo and Derek Bermel’s piece Wanderings.  We had the great fortune to work directly with Bermel for this performance, which was a great added bonus. A few days later we performed our children’s concert adding Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  Our “children” were a little older than we imagined, but it was still great fun!

Lady Wind Squad after our first performance together!

Lady Wind Squad after our first performance together!

Lady Wind Squad after our Children's Concert

Lady Wind Squad after our Children’s Concert

My final week of performances kicked off with a chance to show Bowdoin my passion of bringing both of my gifts together in Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise. As is always fun when I perform this piece I witnessed the audience suddenly lean forward as I began to sing.  It was completely unexpected for them and they loved it.

Rachmaninoff Vocalise

Rachmaninoff Vocalise

The last performance I will speak of was performing Mozart’s Eb minor Serenade with (almost) all of the winds.  This was another community concert, this time at a Residential Community in town.  It was a full house and my joy was in the audience members’ joy.  I could feel the few that had a seat not even a foot from me hanging on every phrase.  It was something very special that I will hold dear forever.

 

Outside of all this performing I met some great friends and had some time to explore a bit of Maine. It was of course a must to find lobster, and we certainly did at any opportunity.  And we even had a chance to make it to the beach!

Maine Lobster!

Maine Lobster!

Me at the beach

Me at the beach

The Maine shore is just beautiful!

The Maine shore is just beautiful!

Most days our free time left us exploring the town of Brunswick.  The restaurants were plentiful, which we made sure to try as many as possible, but there were a couple places that continued to be frequented.  I can (but probably shouldn’t) boast that as many concerts I played I probably visited Gelato Fiasco more.  One week is was a destination 5 days in a row.  (Maybe more…)  There were simply too many amazing flavors to try and experience! There was also Joshua’s, which had free popcorn and was a great hangout after a long day to catch up and talk of the upcoming days.

The three weeks will certainly be ones to remember.  I learned so much about my ability as a musician as well as met friends and colleagues that will be around for life.  From here it is only up!

Lady Wind Squad

Lady Wind Squad

 

My next adventure this summer: IDRS – New York!
August 5-9, 2014

 

– another SoprAboist


August 8 @ 7:30pm!

Join me at Music Mountain on August, 8 at 7:30 pm for a great concert. Joining me will be pianist John Tu, clarinetist Alex Kollias and bassist Evan Runyon. The program consists of Davidson’s Homage to Charles V. Stanford, Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock, Persichetti’s Parable for Solo Oboe, Clearfield’s Neruda Songs for Oboe and Bass and a world premiere of Jason Coleman’s Sognata No. 1. Tickets are $10 at the door.

If you can’t attend in person join via the live stream!


Live stream by Ustream

See you there!!

– another sopraboist


Middle of summer already?….

Wow! What a year!…ummm… yeah, sure…

So it has been awhile since I last posted, and all I can say is it has been a busy time since then. I officially completed the first year of my DMA and am moving on to year 2 which I am sure will be just as busy as the last. I love the program at the CUNY Grad Center and am so happy that I have the chance to study there. I will admit it was an extremely difficult adjustment, and one that many may not have wanted to survive through. Besides starting the program I was beginning in a new city – New York City – (of all places) and had to find sources of money. I ended up with a job working in a call center making hotel reservations. (Talk about a stretch from the music!!) I found it to be interesting and frustrating at the same time, but it was flexible and allowed for my own personal work to be attended to in down times. At the height of the year I was working 5 jobs all while fitting in practicing, class, lessons and yes even some time for eating and sleeping.

I have been able to make great connections, see wonderful concerts and sightsee while showing people around that have come to visit. I even perform from time to time! (Come out and see me if you can!)

At the beginning of 2012 I was asked to join Music Mountain as the Festival Manager and that is what has kept me busy since the first of June. It’s such an interesting side of Music, as I am doing all the heavy admin work that most musicians don’t get a chance to experience. I am the one paid employee of the festival so I run the box office, make the print and digital ads, posters, manage the social media, work with the artists, and solve any problems that come my way.

In a few weeks I will be taking to the stage at Music Mountain to give a concert during the 16th Annual Lucarelli Oboe Master Class. I’m extremely exited about the concert and am having a great time rehearsing and practicing. I will post more details about the concert soon, but it is Wednesday, August 8 at 7:30pm.

Have a great rest of the summer!

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– another sopraboist

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Love in the Ether

Happy New Year Folks!

I will be presenting a concert in a few weeks in the Fine Arts Theater at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, MO.   If you are around I would love to see you there, if not there should be a live stream.  (Link will be posted once I’m certain on that.)

I am dedicating this concert to a former student and friend whose life was cut short last month.           Alex Perry (1990-2011)

Concert is January 22 @ 3pm

Program will include:

Homage a Charles V. Stanford – Lyle Davidson [world premiere]

Sonata for Oboe and Piano – Francis Poulenc

Das Verlassene Mägdelein – Hugo Wolf

Du Bist die Ruh – Franz Schubert

Wir Wandelten – Johannes Brahms

Drei Romanzen – Robert Schumann

Serenade for Oboe/Soprano and Piano – Jason Coleman [world premiere]

Please come and share in a wonderful afternoon of music!

– another sopraboist


Something to look forward to…

I just came across this article while catching up on facebook.  It definitely gives me something to look forward to as I get older.  Check out this wonderful article and study on musicians’ brains.        (link to original article at the bottom)

(My favorite line, and what has to be a quote of the day is: “With that in mind, perhaps joining a marching band now will make you the smartest person at the retirement home in the future.”)

Want to keep your mind healthy and sharp throughout your life? Pick up an instrument. A new study found that musicians might have brains that function better than their peers well into old age. Bet you wish you stuck with those piano lessons after all.

Researchers tested the mental abilities of senior citizens and discovered that musicians performed better at a number of tests. In particular, musicians excelled at visual memory tasks. While musicians had similar verbal capabilities to non-musicians, the musicians’ ability to memorize new words was markedly better, too. Perhaps most importantly, the musicians’ IQ scores were higher overall than those who spent their lives listening to music rather than performing it.

The experience of musicians also played a role in how sharp their minds were. The younger the musicians began to play their instruments, the better their minds performed at the mental tasks. Additionally, the total number of years musicians played instruments throughout their life corresponded with how strong their brains remained years later.

The study also found that musicians who took the time to exercise between symphonies had even higher-functioning brain capabilities. This finding supports another recent study that reported people who walk regularly maintain healthier brains. With that in mind, perhaps joining a marching band now will make you the smartest person at the retirement home in the future.

Summary
While it is known that practicing music repeatedly changes the organization of the brain, it is not clear if these changes can correlate musical abilities with non-musical abilities. The study of 70 older participants, with different musical experience over their lifetimes, provides a connection between musical activity and mental balance in old age. “The results of this preliminary study revealed that participants with at least 10 years of musical experience (high activity musicians) had better performance in nonverbal memory, naming, and executive processes in advanced age relative to non-musicians.”

Introduction

Changing one’s lifestyle may postpone the onset of problems connected with old age, like Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases cause cognitive changes like loss of memory, reasoning, and perception. Adequate rest and physical exercise as well as a lifelong habit of stimulating the mind are favorable for clear thinking in old age. Musical activities, undertaken throughout the lifetime, have an impact on one’s mental health during old age. This has been studied in this current research work. Practicing music for a number of years brings about certain changes in brain organization. Comparing the lucidity in old age of those pursued music related activities and those who didn’t may help to understand the effect of the music-related reorganization of brain on successful aging.

Methods

— Seventy healthy participants, aged between 60 and 83, were divided into three groups, based on their degree of involvement in musical activities, over their lifetimes.
— 
The three groups were similar in average age, education, handedness, sex ratio, and physical exercise habits.
— The first group, namely the non-musicians, never received any formal musical training. The second group, the low activity musicians, had one to nine years of training. The third, the high activity musicians, trained for more than 10 years and played regularly afterward.
— All were tested for brain strengths such as memory, attention, and language prowess, using standardized tests. Their mastery on the use of language, ability to remember, and ability to express oneself were tested.

Results

— Verbal intellectual ability and learning, as well as recall of verbal information, were found to be similar across the three groups.
— The high activity musicians were significantly better at performing tasks based on visual inputs.
— Although language prowess seemed to be similar across the groups, the high activity musicians’ memory for words was significantly better than that of non-musicians.
— The age at which musical training started affected visual memory, while the number of years of training affected non-verbal memory.

Shortcomings/Next steps
High activity musicians have a better chance of retaining certain mental abilities in old age; however, preexisting factors that may affect their choices have not been considered in this study. Social influences like motivation should be considered in future studies. Effects of musical training on verbal memory need to be analyzed further, by considering changes in brain organization that set in with age. A study on whether the effects of music are generalized or whether they affect only specific parts of the brain could also be undertaken.

Conclusion
Engaging in musical activity for most of one’s lifetime significantly helps remember names, and enhances nonverbal memory, the ability to work based on what one sees, and mental agility during old age. The habit of physical exercise, in addition to musical involvement, further adds to mental lucidity in old age. Starting musical training early and continuing it for several years have a favorable effect on metal abilities during old age. Musical training also seems to enhance verbal prowess and the general IQ of a person, although it is possible that people with higher IQ tend to pursue music more seriously. It is advisable to think about our lifestyles and change them accordingly to have a better chance at a healthy, clear-headed old age.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/20/music-intelligence_n_904124.html

– another sopraboist