Recovering from October

It seems like no matter how many freelancers I talk to, we all share the same horrid months: October and February are by far the busiest and craziest months of the year.

There are several good theories as to why everyone schedules things in these two months. One of the most accepted ones is that musical seasons and the school year tend to swim around each other a bit. School starts in early September out here, and giving a month or so for everyone to get used to getting back in the habit of homework, weekly appointments, and figuring out what the heck to practice seems ideal. Also, the full-time orchestras kind of take the spotlight in terms of performance, as their seasons usually have some exciting and grand opener. September for me involved lots of teaching (the colleges started up too!) and very few gigs. Lots of deep breathing and planning for the storm about to come. (In light of Superstorm Sandy, I think I need a better word; in seeing images from the East coast, my life described as a “storm” is not very apt.)

And then came October: this year was even more of a whirlwind (I think I’m getting closer with this term) than usual, as a dear friend of mine got married in Salt Lake City at the beginning of the month. While it would seem like bad timing on the surface, I think the long weekend away without touching the fiddle did me a lot of good. Spending some time in a dry climate surrounded by gorgeous scenery helped me to gear up for what was to come. (The pretty dresses and general merriment didn’t hurt.)

There were four separate productions I was preparing for in October. The Oregon Ballet Theater opened their season with a wonderful concert they called “Body Beautiful,” which contained four acts of dances based on Greek Myth. We played Stravinsky’s Apollo, a piece I was unfamiliar with and happy to learn. It was also about a half hour long and at the start of the program. While I would have been upset at this underuse of the orchestra in normal circumstances, I was quite grateful for the extra sleep I got by getting home early.

Then the Eugene Symphony had a concert – my first one as a regular member! My favorite piece on this program was Ravel’s La Valse, a fast-paced and rather demonic sounding number:

And then came our wonderful TARDIS concert at the Schintzer Art Museum. This one was fun, although the string players got quite a workout.

And now we are in performances of Don Giovanni, now my favorite Mozart opera. I’ve been tweeting constantly about how fast it is, but it’s far from a complaint. The singers are tight, paying careful attention to detail in a modern production that could easily distract from the music. The orchestra, if I may say so, is sounding fantastic on this one. (Although the clip below isn’t our orchestra or singers – but the images are from our dress rehearsal.)

So, after all this amazing music, what comes next? And the answer is big for me. I will be soloing with the Central Oregon Chamber Orchestra next month, playing two of Vivaldi’s four seasons: Summer and Winter. Soloing before an orchestra is something I’ve only done once so far, and the experience was so addicting that I’ve done everything I can to get back. I’ll be working with one of my favorite conductors, and performing some great works for solo violin – I can hardly wait.

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