I imagine that it may be “too late” to wish everyone a Happy New Year, but we are still in the new year and I have not been writing. So….so much has happened between September and now, and there were many things about which I wanted to write. Unfortunately, however, I did not seem to have the time as I have been working. A LOT. Here are a few personal highlights of the past six months:
1. Two weeks of performances with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, including last week’s very memorable – and fast – Beethoven Third Symphony. This was my fourth time playing with the orchestra since May 2009 and I must say that every time is a pleasure as I am both continuously impressed by David Amado’s concept of orchestral sound and his innovative programming: in addition to the Beethoven, this past weekend's concerts included Michael Daugherty's Trail of Tears Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra and Slalom, a work written by Carter Pann "which launched itself with a quotation from the Scherzo of the [Beethoven's] Ninth Symphony so shockingly literal that startled audience members would have checked their programs if the music had not instantly taken off in a new direction." (Thomas Leitch, Delaware News Journal)
2. In September, violinist Dylana Jenson performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Jenson is without question a violinist to be heard, as she is a thoughtful and very profound musician. This was an interpretation of the Tchaikovsky like no other, and I am grateful to have been playing in the orchestra for those evenings.
3. Speaking of reviews, I had the opportunity to write a review of the Nigel Kennedy Quintet’s album “SHHH!” for Elsie Stockdale, a very kind woman who happens to be one of Nigel’s “biggest fans” and the manager of Nigel Kennedy Online. That review was published and posted in December 2010 and can be found here.
4. The National Performance Network Annual Meeting took place in Dallas, Texas this past December. Always a wonderful gathering, this year’s annual meeting was particularly important as it was a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the organization. In addition to the many meetings and sessions, there were stellar performances by Jane Comfort and Company of New York, an excerpt of the Pomo Afro Homos' groundbreaking show "Fierce Love", and showcases by Dallas-based artists – including “Freckle In My Eye”, a powerful one-woman show written by and featuring my dear friend Ashley Wilkerson.
5. My second performance in New York City. While I still have yet to play a formal debut, it was great fun to play with my friend Mary Edwards during the release party for her album Console.
6. In February of 2010, violist Robin Fay Massie and violinist Heidi Daniels founded Musicians of Mercy, an organization that presents benefit concerts from which the proceeds are directed to organizations around the world. The inaugural concerts, which were a huge success, were in support of organizations assisting with Haitian earthquake relief.
Musicians of Mercy gave its second concert in December 2010 at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. Organized in response to the large number of reported youth suicides this year, proceeds from that concert went to benefit both GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and Youth Frontiers of Minnesota. Gordon Green, a young Baltimore-based conductor, led a very enthusiastic orchestra consisting of musicians from the Baltimore-Washington DC region and I had the opportunity to perform as concertmaster during that week.
Whew...and that was only a bit of it...
2011 has started with great energy and promise, and upcoming events include performing with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra during the 2011 Sphinx Competition Finals in Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan in February. FIRST, though – Midori playing the Mendelssohn Concerto in Knoxville, Tennessee, followed by an opportunity to hear violinist Odin Rathnam perform the Korngold Violin Concerto with the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in Fairfax, Virginia. I have been corresponding with Odin since July 2010 and having read some of his thoughts on violin playing, music making, and truly living as an artist and citizen, I am truly looking forward to both hearing him and meeting him in person.