Friday, December 20, 2013

group of 27 November 15, 2013 Beethoven 2, M'vt III

A snippet from our last concert with the group of twenty-seven led by Eric Paetkau... this is the orchestra that I recorded the Canadian Concerto Project with.  We are allowed to publish 30" segments of our pieces, so a sample of the premiere of the Oddbird Concerto will be coming soon.

I love this orchestra!  It is the best orchestra I have ever played in and I want everyone to come to our shows.


Monday, December 16, 2013


Thinking a lot about my dear parents... Dad recovering from surgery and still ready to take on the world at the age of 88... my Mom so strong in my memory.

They love/d me so much!

Christmas makes me remember their fiery spirits and how they tried to make it a wonderful time for me and my brother Keith even as it brought to the fore all of the anomalies of our family... too bad they didn't know they did not have to be the "perfect" family, but that their fierce love and spiky spirits were beyond perfect.

I'll try to tell them.  Again.
Nadina with B. Allan Mackie (a.k.a. Slim) at Silloep Hills Ranch, B.C. 1959

Nadina with Mary Mackie (a.k.a. B.C. Mary) at Silloep Hills Ranch,  B.C., 1959

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Getting In Shape

I have a few live performances up on YouTube. Part of me flinches every time I put them up because they are flawed. But there are also good parts and tons of good memories about the events, and also informative because they are all live. In truth, they are also the only footage that I have… I do have some better footage but don’t own the rights so cannot share (yet). It is hard to get concert footage for classical musicians… so many rules governing hall, and even when there are no rules, the audience is never sure if they are allowed to film us. But I have come to love the idea of casual videos and am going to figure out how to edit. Anyway, on to my topic.

When I do live performances, I have learned the hard way over the years that I cannot drink coffee. I mentioned this once to a great orchestral flautist, and she said that she would never give up the enjoyable things in life for playing better… I think she is one of the lucky ones who doesn’t fall apart from being over-stimulated!

And I sooooo want to drink coffee. So sometimes I have my last cup quite close to the concert day. And it is always an error. It throws me into another time zone and I have to hang on for dear life once my particular brand of performance adrenalin kicks in. And it really is dumb, because it takes away the refinements that actually are part of my voice.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Photos!

I love getting new publicity photos!  I always love the fantasy and the process.  These photos were taken at Toronto's Pearson International Airport... I had just come home from premiering the first movement of Paul Frehner's Apollo X with Orchestra London and Valdy was driving in from Pembroke, the last concert of his Ontario tour.  We needed shots for our first show with orchestra that will be on February 1 in Brampton with the Rose Orchestra (Valdy to Vivaldi).

We met our photographer, Bo Huang and his wife Yan at the airport.  I had managed to secure permission from the airport administration that very morning to set up and it was one of the most enjoyable shoots I have ever done.

Here are a couple of the pictures... many more were taken from all angles and I'll reveal them on our websites over time.

All photos by

Great Ideas for Orchestras: chamber music concerts

Last night, I played a recital with the violist David Rose on the chamber series that has been launched by our chamber orchestra, group of twenty-seven.  I would love to have all of my friends come to these concerts with me... this is the most vibrant orchestra that I know and I love them.

The concept of a chamber music series attached to an orchestral season springs from the percolating mind of our creative, energetic and buff conductor, Eric Paetkau (all conductors should work out and eat right, just saying).  This is our first season of more concerts, namely 4 orchestra concerts and 12 (count ‘em) chamber music concerts that feature the astonishingly good musicians within the orchestra.

Today I want to talk about the idea of chamber music within the orchestral context….

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Life in Music: the company we keep (colleagues)

I am grateful and amazed to the point of being stunned.  Stunned in the sense of standing motionless, jaw slightly agape, mind racing, body frozen.  No actual injury; quite the contrary.

This month, I have played with some new people and have felt new fires rising... rehearsing this week with the violist David Rose for our recital on December 9.... all who know David know what a supremely gentle and intelligent soul he is.  Those who have played with him know how skilled he is.  And what fire and strength lies in this refined and thoughtful person!  To play with him, I feel how amazingly quickly he learns... each repeat of our fiendishly challenging new work by Gernot Wolfgang is better... if I fumble and stumble, David is momentarily confused by my opacity but never loses his pulse.  Each great player that I work with has some distinct trait beyond the universal markers of beautiful tone, tuning and sensitivity.  Sometimes it is hard to name because I am experiencing these traits for the first time.  But it is amazing to experience.

Life in Music: the company we keep (teachers)

Had breakfast this morning with my first bassoon teacher and the layers of memory, all of the joy of learning to play came flooding back, listening to his familiar, nuanced, animated voice and seeing his dear face, so unchanged after 40 years of knowing each other.  For reasons that are forgotten, we have not seen each other much in the last few years.  Christopher Millard is an international star and I have been busy too.  Yet this morning, in gray rainy Toronto, in the elegant open restaurant at the Intercontinental, we were in non-stop conversation, comparing reed confessions and aspirations, talking about our new generation of talented students, about our aging parents and our own lives…. Spent another hour interviewing Guy Legere about his amazing polymer reeds… Finally reluctantly said goodbye, wanted to stay longer yet left happy and inspired anew.