Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Great job everyone!

Just wanted to shout out a quick congratulations to all of you who performed in the NJSYO winter concert last week!!
I had a blast listening to you all (even while I was conducting, or I should say, especially while I was conducting).

I usually have lots and lots of criticism after each concert, and I usually debate whether I should even mention them, but honestly for the first time, I really have zero criticism to make for CYO, at least none directed to you guys (I have lots reserved for myself.......). I thought CYO was magnificent.  I really do. You guys were awesome.
For chamber I don't have criticism per say, but I think that we are all aware of what went down, and it is important that we review those next time we get together. Still, the command you had on such complicated and challenging materials was quite awe inspiring.  And we all know that we can, and have played EVEN better than that is quite astonishing. We just have to learn how to make it happen at the right moment, and we will do exactly that next time. I'm already getting excited about our next concerts!!

Meanwhile, have an awesome break. Rest well, eat a lot, sleep a lot, have fun, enjoy your presents, and listen to good music!

I will see you all next year!

Oh, and thank you all so much for the loveliest gifts!!!! I REALLY appreciate them!

Friday, December 13, 2013

we are sooo ready

Date: 12/12/13
Orchestra CYO

So I love rehearsing. As a kid, I was one of those weird ones that actually enjoyed the actual rehearsal much more than the break time. And if I had one rehearsal a week, then whatever day that the rehearsal landed on, was always my favorite day of the week.

I like figuring out the little things we can do to change the effects, and tiny little things we can do to make us sound a tiny little bit better. In ensemble rehearsals, topics were almost always less technical, and almost always purely musical, and I love that. And when we do talk about technical things, it is ALWAYS in context with that specific music we are playing, unlike in private lessons, where some (not all) teachers often remove all technical exercises from any kind of context whatsoever, resulting in something like a race/competition of the physical aspect of the playing, not dissimilar to athletic competitions. While I adore watching Olympics and World Cups and such, in music performance, the physical aspect of it is less than a very small portion of the whole act, and to focus on something so small, without the discussion of "why", misses the entire point. Once we figure out the "why", that tend to also answer a lot of our questions as to "how", anyway.
In ensemble rehearsals, even people that tend to generally be much less artistically inclined, are forced to think of music more musically :)

But it looks like my obsession to rehearsing has not only run the rehearsal a lot longer than I originally intended to (it was gonna make this a short one...) but also cost you guys a break, and some time to hang out with your buddies on your last rehearsal before the winter break.... I apologize....

But on the bright side, the work that you unintentionally put in, is paying off. I think you guys sound REALLY REALLY good right now. I can't tell you how excited I am for this concert.

So I mentioned how I love the sound of the clarinets and the flutes playing in octaves. To my ear, that particular combination creates a lot of warmth, and drama, with hardly any intensity to the character. Rich. moving, but gentle.

Combining of different instruments in certain way to create an effect is called "orchestration". Other common orchestration techniques that I really love is:
 - flute and oboe in unison
 - french horn, viola, and cello in unison
 - cello and violin in octaves (very common, but definitely my favorite) also unison of the two instruments is very nice (quite intense)
 - harpsichord and strings
 - muted trumpet and english horn in octaves
 - staccato clarinet and pizzicato violin in unison

Do you have a favorite orchestration technique?

Looking forward to Sunday!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I have not forgotten!!!!

I'm usually not one to make excuses, but just so you know that I didn't stop caring about this blog or you, I wanted to let you know that I had been committed to doing things that took a lot of my mental energy elsewhere, and just wasn't feasible for me to do everything. This blog had always been on my mind though.

In fact, I was writing about what I had been doing, and how I was inspired by you guys to get through all that, when my phone rang to tell me that I had to be in a rehearsal VERY early the next day, when I just had a very exhausting and musically  unsatisfying loooong rehearsal just before coming to a CYO rehearsal...
I had to cease my blog writing immediately then, to switch my gear to make sure that the next rehearsal, which was the last rehearsal I had for this concert, was a successful one.

This was a full concert of cello and percussion duet. It was a part of Sounds Of Arts Festival, organized by a group called MuSE, run by friends of mine. There were seven pieces, all of which were brand new, including one of my own. I had to breathe life into 7 new born babies that no one had ever seen or heard of before. It is an enormous task. I mean writing a piece itself is generally enough work for any individual, I think...

The week before that, I had to write a jingle for Fuji film. And the day after the concert, I received an opportunity to have pianist, Blair McMillen read through a new piano piece, which took place on Monday. Then I am currently working on a violin solo piece that a friend of mine from Turkey asked me to write for her violin recital next week... I have to finish it by today or tomorrow...

So yes, you've been on my mind!
Looking forward to CYO rehearsal tonight!