Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer is Over, Here Comes Mahler!

I had a great summer relaxing awhile at the beach, seeing family and doing a lot of practicing. I put the violin down completely for an entire week this time, enough to get a break but not so long as to forget how to play it. I have to be careful because when I start up again, it is easy to overdo it and stress the muscles more than they can easily handle, especially when you have been playing the violin for about 45 years, as I have.

Still, I can't complain about spending some time at the beach, seeing an O's game with my son Eric, catching up with my son Stephen after his long trip with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, a male a cappella group who traveled around the world this summer. The summer concluded with a family reunion in Glen Summit, Pennsylvania, (near Wilkes Barre) where my dad and his brothers and sisters own a very old summer home. Every Labor Day we gather there for tennis tournaments, swimming in the lake, playing chamber music together and just catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Even first cousins once removed, etc. This time I met some relatives I didn't even know I had! Pretty big family.

But I am glad to get back to work this week. I believe that I have only performed Mahler's Seventh Symphony once in my career. The violin part is unusually difficult, even for Mahler, I think. If I am not mistaken, the last time that we did Mahler with Marin, we played the Ninth Symphony. I thought that was a really good performance, so I am excited about this week.

Hope to see you there!

Rusty Musicians is Back!

Last night we had our second Rusty Musician event. This time it was right here in Baltimore, at the Meyerhoff. We rehearsed and then performed Brahm's Academic Festival Overture and the Finale from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite with four different groups of "Rusty Musicians." (The BSO was split into 2 orchestras, each BSO musician performed with two of the four groups of Rustys.)

Funny, though. Both of my stand partners, Tanesha and Gwendolyn weren't rusty at all! They both perform in Maryland orchestras (Columbia and Susquehanah), and I could tell that they both know how to be good orchestral players. I enjoyed sitting with them, hearing them play, and even talking just a bit. They both had children in the audience; Tanesha's son was right there smiling in the front row. He plays the violin too.

It is impressive and inspiring to me how much musicians like Tanesha and Gwendolyn are able to keep up their instrumental skills while working and being moms!