Friday, December 30, 2011

Playing is Working (for me)

Everyday, I roll out of bed, eager to see what happens.  I am enough of a nerd to particularly like unscheduled days that allow time for both reed-making and scales. Yes, I worry constantly about maintaining my expensive addiction to solo art music, but I find encouragement in many places.  I recently rediscovered the website of the composer-writer-bassoonist, John Steinmetz.  I find him genuinely funny and insightful, and I enjoyed re-reading his articles.  And here is his “generic resumé”  which has always made me smile. 
And speaking of thinking about careers, I was pondering the question of “career highlights” today (it is a subject that comes up when composing resumés).  My career has been really long and varied at this point and yet I am always looking to the horizon, thinking of how to get more experiences.  And though I live for being on stage, the moments that I remember are the moments leading up to the concerts... e.g.  the night before my first tour with Guy Few in October, 2009.  It had taken us all day to fly from Toronto to Kelowna because there was a highway-closing accident in TO on the day we were driving to the airport, so we missed our plane and all other connections.  I had a nasty cold and we were flying in the back of the economy section, sitting in the middle seats at the back.  When we finally made it to our destination, all the restaurants were closed except a neon-flashing Chinese-Canadian buffet.  My nose was raw and my ears were blocked though I could hear the sad country music playing on the static-ridden speakers.  And at that moment, I was overcome with happiness at the prospect of two weeks of touring in beautiful B.C.... the concerts were fantastic and the whole trip unforgettable, but it was that night before it started when I felt the reality, the sure knowledge that our duo's first recital tour was about to begin.  

The new year starts with month of touring.  First, I will go to the Meg Quigley Competition and Symposium in Stockton, California to judge, teach and perform. I am flying there with one of my top students and we are arriving a day early to go on the cane harvesting expedition and for me to rehearse with the pianist, then it will be three packed days of judging the semi and final rounds of the competition (10 wonderful young bassoonists are performing! and a similar number of fabulous professionals).  I will lead a masterclass on January 7 and play in the concert that night.  I am looking forward to meeting old and new friends and having that incredibly rare experience of hearing many bassoon soloists.  Then we zip back to Toronto, and Guy and I leave on a Western Canadian tour that will take in some really cold places!  Here is a list of some of the solo and duo works that I will play this month... playing is the best work I can imagine!

Jean-Daniel Braun - Solos (#6, 7, 13 & 21)
Mathieu Lussier - Bassango (with piano & also with strings)
Mathieu Lussier - Bacchanale
Ignaz Lachner - Concertino
Marcel Bitsch - Concertino
Paul Jean-Jean - Prelude and Scherzo
St-Saens - Sonate
J-B de Boismortier - Suite in G from Op 37; Sonata in E minor Op 50 #1
Rimsky-Korsakov - Flight of the Bumble Bee (with piano and with strings)
Piazzolla - Oblivion (with piano and with strings)
Shostakovitch - Waltz and Fast Dance
Schreck - Sonata in E Flat Op 9

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