Spring 2013 News

I suppose the increasingly long intervals between updates on this site may have some correlation to the amount of activities I’ve been involved in this semester. Here are a few updates:

Performance Schedule has been updated.

Had a great time playing for Andrew Pramuk’s show last night – “For Whom is it Useful? Hanns Eisler in Revue”.

Tonight I will be performing as piano soloist with the Musica Nova contemporary music ensemble, directed by Brad Lubman, on the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Hans Abrahamsen. I had the privilege of meeting and playing for the composer yesterday, as he is currently doing a residency at Eastman. Tonight’s concert will feature his Märchenbilder, Winternacht, and the Piano Concerto.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be performing with another of my many wonderful colleagues, Melissa Fajardo, mezzo-soprano, for her Master of Music degree recital.

I also have the great honor of playing for world-renowned euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead on April 19th and 20th in Ithaca for the Northeast Regional Tuba & Euphonium Conference.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to my final performance at the Eastman School of Music in May – my instrumental collaborative degree recital. My good friend CheHo Lam will be joining me on Respighi’s Violin Sonata in B Minor and Fauré’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in E Minor – two of my favorite compositions of the genre. But between now and then I still have many more things to do, including a few more recitals, various other gigs, some teaching, my job as a church organist (yup), and a paper that I should get back to writing now.

As for my post-graduation plans, I look forward to spending most of the summer at home in Oregon for once, before moving to New York City, where I will be entering the DMA program in Collaborative Piano at The Juilliard School. The Mail Tribune back home heard about my acceptance and kindly mentioned it today: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130408/NEWS/304080315&cid=sitesearch

Fall News

Fall 2012 has surely been the busiest period of time for me yet. Fortunately, it’s also been a lot of fun so far. A few weeks of non-stop rehearsals – all day every day – are now culminating in what is becoming a period of non-stop performances. Lots of stuff to do… Here’s a list of things I’ve been involved in or have been meaning to share for a while:

Recent (and not-so-recent) News:

Ossia New Music launches new website: ossianewmusic.org

[Switch~ Ensemble] launches new website: www.switchensemble.com

“The Prismatic Debussy” Festival at Eastman: www.esm.rochester.edu/debussy

Fellow Humpherys student Thomas Steigerwald slaughters the Rachmaninoff third Piano Concerto: http://youtu.be/wHVxKbYCiAA

After performance of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” arranged for flute, clarinet, and piano by Michael Webster; accompanied by dancers:
Jacqueline Cordova-Arrington (flute), Joseph Yungen (piano), Tiffany Valvo (clarinet), Keenan McKoy (dancer), Ainsley Kilgo (dancer)

MAW 2012

Now that I am back from Music Academy of the West, I suppose it’s time to update this thing. I realize that it might have been more interesting to have “checked in” during my time in Santa Barbara these last couple months, but as I have said on numerous occasions by now, the whole MAW experience felt like its own world, where it was tempting to think that the rest of my life was on “pause.” As self-centered as this idea is, I’m afraid I gave in to it, to a certain extent, and put off a number of things including phone calls, emails, and updating my website. At least I finally managed to bring myself to update my résumé and repertoire lists last week.

Whatever I choose to say about MAW is going to end up being a huge understatement, as it is very difficult to describe the combination of remarkable music-making, lessons, masterclasses, concerts, and interactions that comprised the eight-week program. To sum it up, it was a positive experience – not only was it great to live in the excessively beautiful Santa Barbara area for two months, but it was a real privilege to work with such an array of incredibly high-level musicians. Some of the concerts I attended are now embedded in my memory as some of the most powerful and exciting concert-going experiences in my life. I particularly enjoyed hearing the members of the faculty perform (especially Jonathan Feldman), as well as visiting artists such as Gil Shaham, and the Academy Festival Orchestra.

I learned a lot through my lessons with Jonathan, and took away some important tools to incorporate into my playing in the future. The time he spent working with me was extremely valuable, and I feel that I am a better musician now. I certainly hope for future opportunities to work with him.

Lesson on Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 8 with Jonathan. Koko Watanabe, violin. Photo courtesy of Natasha Kislenko.

Networking and developing connections with other people was one of my goals for the two-month period, and I feel that this was a success. Besides the faculty members that I met and worked with, and the colleagues with whom I collaborated musically, I made some great friends at MAW.

The other members of the Collaborative Piano studio are wonderful people as well as excellent musicians, and our group of eight could not have been a more perfect and harmonious combination of people – Jacob Coleman, Miles Fellenberg, Suyeon Kim, Yu Ra Kim, Doreen Lee, Luis Ortiz, Chorong Park, and myself. Our teachers – Jonathan Feldman, Hiromi Fukuda, Natasha Kislenko, and Margaret McDonald – helped make us feel like one big collaborative family.

The final concert of the program featured the Academy Festival Orchestra, conducted by James Gaffigan, who was absolutely fantastic. I played piano and celeste on Charles Ives’ Three Places In New England, which made up the first half of the program. The second half was Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, a great way to close the festival. During the rehearsals for the Ives, my friend Matous Michal – a Czech violinist studying at Juilliard under Glenn Dicterow – and I had the idea of attaching an American flag to the stick of the piano. I jokingly mentioned this idea to Maestro Gaffigan, who immediately responded, “DO IT!” We ended up attaching a smaller flag to the piano stick, which raised during an especially chaotic section during the second movement of the Ives, while Matous rose from his seat and waved a full-sized American flag on a stick above the orchestra. A review of the concert can be found HERE.

I am grateful and fortunate to have had this opportunity to work with such phenomenal musicians – there are so many that I could name, and so many that I wish I could have had more opportunities to play with. Fortunately, I am sure there will be plenty of chances in the future, as each of these experiences brings the members of our musical community closer together. I always find myself saying the ol’ “Wow what a small world” cliché, and am always realizing more and more how true that is.

Collabs: Miles Fellenberg, Yu Ra Kim, Doreen Lee, Joseph Yungen, Chorong Park, Luis Ortiz, Suyeon Kim, Jacob Coleman (not pictured)

What’s goin’ on?!?

Welp, time to post something to keep my website updated…

It’s summer now, and I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Medford, Oregon on a nice rainy afternoon.  It actually is starting to look like a tropical storm out there – the rain is really coming down. Oh and now there’s hail. How about that…and now lightning and thunder right on top of us:

Anyway, this week is my week of practicing – the past two weeks have been dedicated to relaxing and lazing around, but now I have a bunch of stuff to prepare for.  This Thursday, June 7th, I will be performing two of my favorite pieces for violin and piano with my friend Paul Grobey in Ashland, Oregon:  Respighi Violin Sonata in B Minor, and Fauré Violin Sonata No. 2 in E Minor.  It should be a pretty powerful program – the Respighi being highly dramatic and virtuosic, and the Fauré austerely captivating and harmonically complex.

In the meantime, I am also preparing for a performance with the East-West Virtuosi Musicians, featuring the music of George Crumb. I will be playing Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale) with Daria Binkowski (flute) and David Gerstein (cello). The concert will be on Monday, June 11th at 7:30pm in the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall in Ashland.

Once I’m done with all that stuff, it’s on to Music Academy of the West! I am still in the process of acquiring all the scores that I will need, as I have been assigned a pretty substantial load of repertoire, including various concertos, a good deal of viola repertoire, some orchestral repertoire, and some fun “contemporary” music projects. At least I don’t have to memorize it all…

Looks like the storm has already passed.

Arnie & Chuck

Welp, it’s the end of Spring Semester, and things are starting to wind down a bit…maybe. I was fortunate to not have to play for too many juries this year – I only ended up with a handful, as well as a few recitals here and there. I’m playing some fun tunes over at the George Eastman House this coming Sunday with Tiffany Valvo (clarinet) and Anyango “Agah” Yarbo-Davenport (violin). Should be a fun show. We haven’t played together since Tiffany’s recital last fall, so it’s great to get back to work.

A lot has taken place since my last post. Aside from performances with Ossia, my violinists, and probably some other stuff I can’t think of right now, I performed two full recitals with my singer, Elizabeth Smith (soprano). The first recital was Elizabeth’s degree recital, and featured a variety of Spanish-inspired songs in French, German, English, and Spanish. The performance could not have gone better in my opinion, especially considering the fact that Elizabeth was coming down with a cold that day, and had a sore throat. This ended up causing a bit of anxiety over the next few days, because my degree recital was to be the following Monday, on which we were to perform an entirely different program together. On Thursday, Elizabeth had no voice at all – she couldn’t even talk. We were just about to postpone the recital, but miraculously she was able to sing the following morning at the dress rehearsal, so we decided to go for it.

Anyway, the recital ended up going quite successfully – there was a good turnout, especially because of the interest generated by the program: Arnold Schoenberg’s The Book of the Hanging Gardens and a group of Charles Ives songs. As far as we know, the Schoenberg had not been performed at Eastman in its entirety before, so many people were excited to hear it. The group of Ives songs was a lot of fun, although there were a few scary moments due to our somewhat sketchy preparation.

In other news, I’ll be making a quick trip back to Southern Oregon in a week to perform a solo recital at Southern Oregon University. I won’t be home for long this time though, as I’ll be flying right back to Rochester the following week to perform with Elizabeth in the Kneisel Lieder Competition. Here’s an article about my upcoming performance in Ashland (complete with a highly original pun): The Siskiyou.

As for the recording of my recent recital, I haven’t yet decided what songs I might want to upload to SoundCloud, so feel free to enjoy the video of the concert in the meantime:

 

Time for some vid’s

Today I finally took the time to process the video footage of my recent solo recital and upload a few clips to good ol’ YouTube.  It took quite a while, because I had to first transfer the DVD to my computer, and then convert the video file to one that was compatible with my video editing program, which resulted in the video quality being rather poor.  In any case, there’s not a whole lot to see…just some guy’s torso and head bobbing around at a piano.  At least the audio quality is decent, although a bit on the quiet side.

I’ve posted an excerpt below. More can be found HERE. Please enjoy!

Quick Update: Solo Degree Recital Recording

It’s been a long time since my last update, and a lot has happened during that time, including my solo piano degree recital. I’m going to briefly recount a few of these as they come to mind, so the following description of events may not have any real order to it.

My solo recital was one week ago in Kilbourn Hall, and went quite well. I’ve posted a portion of the recording HERE. I might upload a few video clips of it to YouTube once I find some extra time (and ego) lying around…

Needless to say, this is an especially busy season – there have been student recitals every single day for the past couple weeks. This next week is Spring Break, however, so maybe things will slow down for a bit…except for practicing and rehearsing. I will be having my Vocal Accompanying degree recital exactly one month from now, with the assistance of Elizabeth Smith (whose own degree recital I will be playing for a week before my own).

Between now and the end of the semester, I will be playing on a number of my colleagues’ recitals, as well as performances for Ossia, the Composers’ Forum, and possibly the Rest is Noise ensemble (I just played for one of their concerts this last weekend, so I’m not sure if there will be another one this semester). I’ll share recordings for some of these whenever I get them and have time to upload them.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to my solo recital for Chamber Music Concerts back in Ashland on May 5th (www.chambermusicconcerts.org). Apparently you can buy tickets for this concert online…pretty cool all right. And I do realize that I need a better headshot photo…

After the CMC benefit concert, I will probably return to Rochester for the final round of the Kneisel Lieder Competition, before heading off to Santa Barbara, CA for the two-month intensive summer program, Music Academy of the West.

Welp, that’s it for now – enjoy the recordings!

Finally, A New Post: Rachmaninoff & Schnittke Cello Sonatas

Happy New Year to all! I’m back in snowy Rochester now, and it’s been right back to work rehearsing, playing for lessons, studio classes, competitions/auditions, and occasionally practicing. This semester should be a particularly eventful one, full of exciting projects. My Solo Piano degree recital is on March 2nd, and my Vocal Accompanying degree recital is on April 9th. In the meantime, I will be playing on numerous recitals with many of my colleagues. Just yesterday I began rehearsing with Ossia for their concert on February 2nd, featuring works by Zs, Perich, Andriessen, and Rzewski.

Last month I enjoyed performing with my fellow Oregonian, Kenny Lee, on his BM degree recital. The program featured cello sonatas by Alfred Schnittke and Sergei Rachmaninoff, in addition to a few art song transcriptions arranged by Kenny. Overall, it was one of the most intense and exciting performances I’ve participated in here at Eastman, which is really saying a lot. Part of the recital can be heard HERE.

MetaSynth Piece No. 17

Well, now that it’s Winter Break and I’m back home in southern Oregon, I’ve had a bit more time to spend making strange sounds on MetaSynth.  I’ve been working on MetaSynth Piece No. 17 over the past couple days.  You can listen to it HERE, under the “MetaSynth Experiments 3″ category.  It is in six parts, and is probably some of my strangest (and shortest) stuff so far.

New Recording: Bartók Contrasts

A couple weeks ago I performed in Kilbourn Hall for the MM Degree Recital of my clarinetist, Tiffany Valvo Lopez.  It was an exciting and energetic recital, featuring a roster of outstanding musicians and a program consisting of works by Wagner, Daughtrey, Schubert, and Bartók.

I’ve posted the recording of the third movement of the Bartók HERE.

Béla Bartók’s Contrasts was written in 1938, for the violinist Joseph Szigeti and clarinetist Benny Goodman.  The piece is in three movements (I have only uploaded the third for now), and is especially notable for the fact that it is the only chamber work by Bartók to feature a wind instrument.  As with much of Bartók’s output, the piece draws greatly from Hungarian and Romanian folk music.

Working on this piece has been a particularly enjoyable experience for me.  Besides having the opportunity to play such a fun piece, I have been fortunate to have two phenomenal musicians to play it with – Tiffany on clarinet, and Anyango (“Agah”) Yarbo-Davenport on violin.

As always, thanks for listening!

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