the orchestra world

what I would have been playing this week – 1/11/21 edition

I’ve decided to start a new weekly feature – What I Would Have Been Playing This Week (or WWIBPTW) – as I’m starting to re-mourn my loss of orchestral and in-person concert experiences.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 4
Violin Concerto No. 1
Tania León: Stride (Oregon Symphony commission)
Enescu: Romanian Rhapsody No. 1

This would have been a lot of fun. Our concertmaster Sarah Kwak would have been the soloist in the Prokofiev. Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony is one that I haven’t done enough to get tired of, and it has some great licks in it for our bassoons! I was also really looking forward to the Tania León commission as well, I’d been hearing great things about it. And the Enescu is a wonderful piece with a really nice viola solo.


random thoughts for a decidedly random time

This week is over. And not a moment too soon! I remember last spring, when the pandemic lockdown period began in earnest, being thankful that it was not happening in the dark, wet depths of a Pacific Northwest winter. I’m now appreciating that view as we enter the nadir of not only our meteorological cycle, but also our political one. I thought that it might be instructive to share what I’ve been up to these past few months.

In nice weather, I’ve been putting miles on my road bike. Last year I managed to ride 1,754 mi (2,822 km). I’m still hoping to hit 2,000 mi one of these years, perhaps it will be 2021! I’m not complaining, it’s my highest yearly mileage to date, and it’s a sign of how much time I’ve had on my hands with an almost complete lack of work.

By the time December rolled around, I was largely out of things to prepare for on the viola, and started thinking about other projects. I started Classical Currents, a concert guide (and soon-to-come podcast), that has been up for about a month now. Things are progressing slowly, but that’s fine with me, and I’m hoping to steadily build an audience as time goes on – and eventually figure out how to make money from instead of only spending it on the site. I invite you to check it out. I’ve been putting a lot of work into it!

As the new year begins, there are some projects coming up that are getting me engaged with playing the viola again. I’m playing on several Fridays with 45th Parallel – beginning this coming week with The Joe Show, which is a program built around Oregon Symphony and 45th Parallel Universe French hornist Joe Berger. In coming weeks, I’ll be playing music of Bach, and string quartets accompanied by video animations. Finally, on February 4th I’ll be playing a small recital of selected movements of Hindemith, Bunch, Bach, and perhaps something else for Thursdays @ 3 on It’s good to have things to do, but my heart is really missing playing the orchestral repertoire, and I hope that I get the chance to join with my colleagues to play that music soon.

I hope that you are keeping sane in these decidedly unusual times, and if you are a frequent concertgoer from the Before Times, I can’t wait to see you again, in person!