February 29, 2008


I just received a call today from a Polish woman living in Herndon, Virginia regarding playing with the Concert Artists of Baltimore next week - and it would have been quite nice to do so, as I would have been sitting assistant concertmaster for a concert that includes Strauss' "Bourgeois Gentilhomme" and Brahms Violin Concerto. Nice for not having taken an audition, no?

Well, unfortunately I cannot do the concert, as I am "otherwise engaged". This has been the state of the state for the entire month of February, as this was the THIRD call that I've received regarding playing in the Baltimore/DC area that I had to turn down. I guess that's life as a freelancer, no? It would have been nice to have taken these engagements, as I would be AT HOME, something that I find myself relishing more and more.

Why I have the desire to be "in my space" I do not know - perhaps it is due to having bounced around a lot over the past three years, perhaps it is due to finally having moved into an apartment in Baltimore and the desire to "set up shop" for a while. Nevertheless, here I am, and while I will not see that apartment until April I do have to say that I am grateful for what I have in front of me.

Of course, this has happened before - many years ago. In 1998, shortly after returning to Houston after a great summer in Breckenridge, Colorado with the National Repertory Orchestra I found myself with two orchestral weeks and an audition for which to prepare. Having been called many times by the Houston Ballet, I called the personnel manager (on the advice of a dear friend in the orchestra) and let him know my availability. He did call back with some services - but I was getting ready to take an audition...that I did not win (although when I came home from that audition I had to return a call to Fergus Scarfe who was at the time the admissions director or something of that effect of the New World Symphony, finding out that I had been accepted into the orchestra, which required moving to Miami Beach within two weeks).

It also happened in the summer of 2000 when, while at Spoleto Festival USA, I was asked by a conductor to be his assistant at a music festival for the rest of the summer. I had a quartet audition to take...which I did not win, and life took what I see now - and saw then - to be an incredibly beneficial turn (as I sit in a hotel room planning my press release mailing, which will take place sometime next week).

Again in 2002 - just as I was about to move to New Orleans to start with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, I received a call from the Mayo-Hill School of Modeling, which is associated with the Neal Hamil Modeling Agency. I had been accepted after going to an open call...

AHHH...what can I say? It's important to be still, to be available...and it is equally important not to let "overwhelming necessity" in the form of needing money, feeling that one "has to move forward" (win an audition and leave a city in which there is a school from which one has recently graduated so that one does not feel like a "loser"), etc., force us into making choices.

Yet it is difficult to sit still, particularly in a society wherein having an overbooked calendar is taken as a symbol of worldly success - and moreso in a society where trusting one's instincts (the still, small voice that leads us all) is almost frowned upon. Nevertheless, while I have no regrets I'm finding myself wanting to sit still for a while, to take the edge off so that I can hear that little voice again and follow it...

...but duty calls.

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