February 27, 2015


"A leader knows when to take charge, and when to yield...."

Post-Sibelius performance with Dorian Neuendorf

After almost 48 hours of delays, I am now back in Baltimore.   Having lived in Baltimore full-time since 2010, I seem to have forgotten that there are places and airports that do not have de-icing equipment (that would be Charleston, South Carolina), yet I sit grateful for the two day delay as I was able to spend time with my three-year-old niece.

Every performance is a rite of passage, and Monday's was no exception as it was my first performance of the Sibelius concerto as a professional.    This tremendous opportunity came to me last summer through being at the Vermont Music and Arts Center, where I met and read chamber music with a wonderful human being and his wife.

David Appleby is a man dedicated not only to his craft (he is a more than worthy pianist), but also to fully engaging with and working within his community.    Mr. Appleby is not only a member of the Board of Directors of the Columbia Community Orchestra, but also incredibly active as a member of the Salvation Army and has helped many men enter and continue recovery.    It was after a week of speaking with him and later reading Darius Milhaud's Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
(Mr. Appleby's wife Eileen was the clarinetist) last summer that he proposed my traveling to South Carolina for this performance.   I had heard of the orchestra, and was thrilled to have been invited as the Columbia Community Orchestra was founded by my first private teacher and her husband - and even happier that the opportunity "came to me" as it had been in my thoughts to contact Ms. Ezell and ask about performing with the group at some time.  

And how do I continue this essay?

It need not be said that a tremendous difference exists between playing a concerto with piano and actually standing as the soloist, feeling undescribeable excitement while being surrounded by a tutti passage experienced primarily as a listener.     Furthermore, it need not be said that the work involved in preparing a concerto for performance can be both intense and fulfilling.  For this one, I took the opportunity to have what was a needed and beautiful lesson/coaching with Nurit Pacht, a violinist who I had the pleasure of meeting first in 1995 and again in 2014 (and about whom I shall write more in the coming weeks).

But how do I continue this essay?  

As stated before, every performance is a rite of passage, and this one for me was one in which I found the balance of being gracious while truly collaborating.    This experience was truly an educational one, an experience through which I was challenged to fully embrace a score and share that knowledge with a group of musicians who were incredibly eager and willing to bring the best of themselves to a situation.

And again, HOW do I continue?    How do I share my thoughts and observations?    Perhaps the thoughts and observations are so deeply personal that I cannot fully share them.    Nevertheless, I am incredibly grateful to everyone who made this possible, and especially to Dorian Neuendorf, a wonderful student conductor with whom I laughed, stressed, and consulted, as the decision to program the Sibelius was hers, and it was through working alongside her that I was able to bring deeper parts of myself - some of the best parts of myself - into the world.

More very soon,

No comments: