Wow, I am listening to the recording that the Tanglewood Music Center performed this summer [of the Reich] and it’s great. Two things really strike me: obviously the musicianship and the great care and coordination it took to rehearse/perform this piece, but also the audio quality of the recording. I’m not sure how well known it is, but TMC has other programs than just instrumental and vocal. There are conducting fellows, composing fellows, audio fellows, a publications fellow, librarian fellows and piano technician fellows. It’s great because it’s very inclusive of all the things a major symphony orchestra needs to function at a high level. While the music and musicians are clearly the focus, many other things go on so a successful rehearsal or great concert can be had.
This summer was wonderful. I learned a huge amount, met fantastic musicians and listen to great music almost constantly. What more could you ask for? (Perhaps some air conditioning once in a while…) Not only did this summer cement my career path, but it will stick out as one of my best summers in my life, hands down. Hopefully, being at Tanglewood in some capacity will continue for a long, long time.
In my last post, I began with “Hiatus, over!” Well, as you can see, it continued into the new year. But, since we all escaped the Mayan apocalypse, I’m here, I’m a musician, I’m a library student and I’m writing!
Not too much has changed; I finished my penultimate semester and am now ready to tackle my last class: music librarianship. How fitting! Since starting at the music library at Boston University (a timely change from the law library) I’m learning more and more about music: how it’s cataloged, how students search for it, how they use it, how librarians can make it easier to find and all those kinds of good things. I’ve also [finally] gotten my horn cleaned (by the illustrious and fabulous Ken Pope, no less), so I’m hoping to start back up and take some lessons. I’m also gearing up to go to MLA San Jose! I’ll be meeting with fellow MLSG members, as well as some summer friends from Interlochen! I think it’s going to be a great opportunity and really round out my spring of music. Musical spring? Either way, on y va!
Hiatus, over! Well, it was never officially taken, but that’s how life goes. After a fairly uneventful end of summer, the semester steams ahead. Projects and deadlines are looming ahead and I’m trying to stay on top of things and get ’em done. (I’m tragically trying to recreate the post I had half way finished, but didn’t save, since there’s no option in the “quick” post module…grrrr.)
Two weeks ago, I went to a really interesting discussion at Harvard. The panel was: Joseph Horowitz, Mark Volpe, Jeremy Eichler, and Lloyd Schwartz. Respectively, they are a historian, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and two music critics. The alarmist title to the discussion was <<Classical Music in Crisis.>> Don’t worry, the panelists and hosts also denounced it as such. The biggest point that all the panelists could agree upon was that classical music is NOT for the privileged or hyper educated crowd—it needs to be, as Eichler stated, “more things to more people.” Bingo! However, the steps to make it such are somewhat nebulous. Horowitz is a promoter of combining performances and education simultaneously. He has led very successful and engaging programs that fuse literature and visual art with music. His big push is for an interdisciplinary approach of spreading classical music around. Schwartz, one of the music critics, is also for education, but doesn’t want “learning thrown at him.” An interesting take on the situation for sure…how much do we need to be extolling the virtues of classical music? It should be self evident, but it’s not, in many cases. I’m don’t think it’s from lack of interest, but from lack of exposure and opportunities. But creating those opportunities isn’t easy either…
Basically, it boils down to how music affects people, how it changes people, how it’s all about relationships. Horowitz said the orchestra’s circle needs to expand—how to do it it is the big question. This presents a lot of food for thought. One interesting and interdisciplinary (or inter-genre) approach is an album of remixed Philip Glass compositions. More information can be found here (http://philipglassrework.com/). I really liked the two sample tracks, so much that I even splurged and bought the special “glass” LP! This is more of a commercial/popular approach to spreading classical music, but it’s a start. I don’t think there’s one solid answer: solutions will be fluid, personal and localized. Suggest a favorite symphony to someone who’s never explored classical music, or drag (er, invite) friends to an afternoon concert. A lot of universities and conservatories give free/donation based/very reasonably priced recitals and concerts. Take advantage of what your city/local schools/youth orchestras are offering—it’ll always be more than expected!
Whoa, August 1…what?! This past weekend, I was able to play with one of the high school orchestras on the fourth movement of Mahler’s 1st symphony. It was an amazing experience; not only did I get to play Mahler, I was able to play with a fantastic conductor and I rediscovered why I love playing horn! Mahler for horns is somewhat of a holy grail and while it was super challenging (on top of my extremely out of shape chops), it reminded me of how rewarding it is to work on something, loathe yourself for the majority of the process and then finally end with a great performance. Just because all the notes don’t make it doesn’t mean it’s not worth credit; if you, your orchestra members and audience feel exhilarated afterwards, that’s what matters. You can use that exact feeling to fuel your next practice session/rehearsal/performance. Ah, music, you feel so good to make. Once you get out of that cycle, it’s hard to remember the feeling, but when you do remember it, BAM! Now hopefully the feeling will linger, so I can keep it going when back in Boston.
My ensemble manager extraordinaire recently begun a music series in his college town. That’s an incredible feat, especially considering he’s been working on everything from afar and managing four performing groups alongside it all. I really wish I was going to be in Iowa (probably one of the few times I will write that!) but I’d love to see his hard work in action. More information and tickets can be found here: www.wsmsdecorah.org and www.facebook.com/WaterStreetMusicSeries. Look! They even have a snazzy logo:
I’m really fortunate to have worked with Dan and I’m sure when we meet in the future (it’s happening!), he’ll regale me in tales of WSMS success, maybe some even involving Mahler or Interlochen alumni or…both!
Oh, the camp life. I had forgotten what a wonderful time summer is for artistic endeavors. I’ve participated in various summer music “things” (horn camp, chamber music camp, brass quintet camp, horn/piano/vocal chamber music camp….yes, ultra nerdy and ultra fun!). However, since those formative camps, summer has been forever linked with music/the arts in my mind. Being completely surrounded by the arts is a funny and interesting experience. It is amazing too — being literally inundated with these talented, dedicated and YOUNG kids. It’s exciting to know they’ll develop into amazing artists. It is funny because everyone is so absorbed in their own routine that you’d think they wouldn’t be able to relate to each other or have an ounce of empathy, but they do! Sure there are petty disagreements along the way, but everyone has the same goal in mind—to make something beautiful that people with various backgrounds can enjoy. Even though the kids are trying to play it cool and obviously want to have fun along the way, I know they’ll look back on this experience and be really proud of themselves and really value this summer for everything they learned. Anyways, off to rehearsal!
Oh, hello there…blog type thing! Yes, this is a terribly overdue update and I obviously have a plethora of excuses, but no need for that now. To the updates:
~Spring semester is officially over! I successfully completed International and Comparative Librarianship, Collection Development and Preservation Management. The International Library class was wholly online, my first. We all had to pick a country to explore, so I chose Vietnam. I learned all about their library development in the late ’80s/early ’90s and what direction they’re going in now–a more Western version/patron driven/information commons, like many universities in the States. It’s interesting that it’s harder to find current and actively updated (as well as translated!) information regarding libraries. Hopefully that will be changing in the near future. Preservation Management ended with a really great project: you are the new archivist at a hypothetical historical society in a ritzy New England coastal town…what do you do?! One of my ideas was to rent the 300 year old house located on the water for weddings and other events, with some of the money going to fix the roof/other building issues.
~I just found out that I’ll be an Ensemble Library Intern at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp this summer! I immediately applied as soon as I heard about the opening and I’m so excited: I’m going to learn so much about ensemble librarianship. I honestly cannot wait. While I was in college, playing in summer festivals/camps was so much fun and while this will be slightly different, I know the environment will be just as inspiring. Actually, I’m planning on bringing my horn to practice when there is some downtime. I’ve also never been to Michigan, so that’s another exciting element as well.
~I’m starting an online Music Cataloging class next week. I also can’t wait: even though my brief experience with cataloging was somewhat challenging (it just didn’t click with me, like it does for some folks), I think music will be especially intriguing. I also have this slightly crazy idea to listen to each piece we catalog/discuss. Might take me longer than the duration of the course, but I think it’ll be great practice!
I’m really excited for summer now. Definitely will be writing more about all I’m learning and experiencing, both with Music Cataloging and at Interlochen. I’m also still working on the BYSO’s library re-organizations…I have a great “before” photo to post; I know it will take a while to get through all of our music, but I’m excited to post the “after” photo…probably much later in the summer, if not the year! A bientot.