It is part of a grant I am attempting to get to fund a series of concerts.
The concert will be an evening of all Dickinson. Featuring several song cycles that use the poetry of Emily Dickinson including selections from Copland's 12 poems of Emily Dickinson. Also featuring George Pearle's cycle and Dickinson inspired solo piano music by Leon Kirchner.
Should be a great concert, we are hoping to add more dates to the series and, hopefully, bring it to the west coast later next year.
We have returned home (actually like a week ago, but I have had things to do). The trip was an amazing adventure. We saw several towns in Finland as well as Stockholm (which was amazing) and Tallinn, Estonia.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip:
The backyard of the grandma of our friend...
The Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral...
Tallinn market square
It was a great trip, I recommend Finland to anyone. Beautiful and green with forests everywhere. You just have to get used to it being light all day if you go in the summer.
The guitar half of the guitar/trumpet duo TinBag (featuring Kris Tiner and Mike Baggetta) is making a valiant effort to reissue his first solo album 'Canto' featuring nine original pieces for prepared guitar. This is an amazing guitarist that has that "effortless mastery" of his instrument like few others. The music he creates is both daring and sincere in every way and is as provacative as it is beautiful.
Mike is funding part of this project through a great site KickStarter.com. If you have a few bucks to spare it is more than worth it to put this wonderful music back out into the world in a more substantial way, and if you don't, at least take a listen.
Today I discovered an amazing piece of music. George Rochberg's Quintet for Piano and String Quartet on the Nunsuch label on LP. Just a really amazing piece of music. Soft, obscure and beautiful music moving in and out of craziness. really fantastic.
Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending an amazing concert from pianist/percussionist Danny Holt. He played this amazing set of new pieces written specifically for his new piano/percussion project. It was one man, a large piano, and a myriad of percussion instruments surrounding him, and yes, he played them at the same time, with such amazing virtuosity at times, and astounding quietness and serenity at others. I never knew someone could grove in a different place with each limb.
If you have a moment you must check this out, even if it is just out of pure curiosity. He has worked with David Lang, Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Christian Wolff and many other amazing composers. You can check out his YouTube Channel he has some amazing video of his piano skills. Nothing of this crazy piano/percussion project (as it is just getting underway), but I will post some video as soon as there is some to post.
He has an album that came out last year Fast Jump that is an amazing display of what the piano can do. Some of it seems not-human. In particular there is a new set of piano pieces by David Lang that is just amazing.
I had a chance to talk with him for a few minutes after the show and he is one of the nicest and sincerest people I have met, who really digs what he does. It truly made for a remarkable experience.
And an extra thanks to Jim Scully for bringing this great artist into our midst.
My former trumpet teacher, and friend, Charles Brady passed away this morning. It is truly a shock. He was a lively fellow, who had the pleasure of playing with people like Stravinsky and Copland and came back to our small area to teach young children.
He truly changed the way I approached my trumpet playing and music in general. He was always quick to offer a seed of musical wisdom that was often accompanied by a morsel of a life lesson.
He was one of the most settled people I knew about who he was and why he was here. He will be missed.
I am 4 weeks from being done with this student teaching debacle. It truly is a waste of time. But my master teacher is really nice and very laid back so it is the best of a crappy situation I suppose.
in any case, I heard something very interesting, from my master teacher yesterday. We were talking about listening to each other in an ensemble. (something many adults have forgotten how to do). He said something that was really interesting:
"Would you buy a painting from someone who painted it without looking? Then why would you expect an audience to listen to music from musicians who aren't listening?"
also in the same conversations:
"Why would you expect the audience to use their ears when you refuse to use yours"
These statements resonated with me on several levels. First off, a very poignant way to get the point across to 7th and 8th graders. Secondly, a lot of adults that I play with seem to have forgotten this very notion. How can we, as musicians, performers, composers etc... expect an audience to do all the work of listening and processing the music in the room, when we ignore it so often.
I like to think that I make a concerted effort in bringing my ears to the table in rehearsals and performances. But I know I don't always do, maybe I don't have the energy that day, or maybe I am in a foul mood, whatever the case, I am determined to double my efforts when walking into a rehearsal or performance to leave my mouth, attitudes and baggage at the door and only bring my ears in with me. After all, music is not expressive, people are.
So this week I started my somewhat humiliating endeavor into Student Teaching!!! (BUMP BUMP BUM!!!)
If you don't know the story here is the condensed version:
I was teaching elementary instrumental music at two schools for two years.
In may I was pink slipped because of our state's tanking economy (even though I was not the lowest splinter on the totem pole, but I am not bitter).
And since I was barely not done with my credential I could not find another job.
So this fall I had to substitute teach to earn some kind of meager income (worst job I have ever had, hands down, 4th graders.... they should just skip that grade)
and now.... with much anticipation, I have begun the final chapter in the ridiculousness that is our education system. The CSUB credential program is a joke! but the punch-line comes in that they control my immediate destiny... so I jump the hoops and do the assignments that have nothing to do with teaching music with methods music teachers would never use (nor most regular teachers that I know.)
So the student teaching has begun, one week down, nine more to go. The odd thing is I am student teaching in the very band room that I spent my Jr. High years escaping from the torment that is Jr. High School when you are a kid that the only thing you can do is play the trumpet and throw air balls.
I take over fully on monday, so I have to spend the weekend writing lesson plans (which I have yet to meet a music teacher that writes lesson plans, but that is neither here nor there).
The interesting thing that has spurred my first post in almost two months is this: I have enjoyed many of the students energy for playing music. They may not be the best players, even for their age, and they don't always like the music they have to play, but they do the best they can, and generally speaking, they are a very capable group. It has caused me to think back to when I was that age and try and remember what it was like, what was my attitude toward music then? Was I that excited about it, did I have that much energy to put into this stuff? If so, where did that energy go? grant it, it was twenty years ago, but hey, I should still have that mental energy right?
Not to mention the oddity of being back in a somewhat familiar place from a time I barely remember seeing my name engraved on plaques hanging on the wall for the last twenty years. Odd indeed!!
anyhow, I have a band piece being played this may and I am beginning work on another extended song cycle (ultimately, it may end up to be not so extended, but for now, my intentions are bold and ambitious).
and on top of it all, I begin for the third year in a row, the waiting and waiting for Ph.D. program decisions. Fantastic....!!