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2014-2015: a retrospective, part one

[Photo credit: Joe Cantrell]

Ok, I’ve given myself about 24 hours of breather time, and so it is time for the first part of my taking stock postage. Part one is the stuff outside of my day job (the Oregon Symphony). One can argue that playing so much outside stuff takes away from my focus on my primary job, but I argue that it does just the opposite. So much of my outside gig work is chamber music, and that hones one’s listening chops like no other kind of music making, and that makes for a better orchestral citizen. In addition, I do a lot of new music, and that makes for better reading of the new music that we do at the symphony as well. For me, sitting at home watching Game of Thrones doesn’t really do anything for my playing. I’ll do it when I have the chance, and I’m not above binge watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (great show, btw) on a rare day off, but by playing often, and being forced to think about music in new ways – and in particular about how I play my instrument – is how I think that I sound better today than when I joined the orchestra twenty years ago. So, here’s what I was up to this past year, outside the orchestra:

  • Fausto Romitelli Ganimede for solo viola
  • John Luther Adams Wind in High Places
  • John Cage Imaginary Landscape No. 1
  • John Zorn Alchemy
  • Steven Mackey Humble River
  • Daniel Ott String Quartet No. 2
  • Kenji Bunch String Quartet No. 2 “Concussion Theory”
  • Ludwig van Beethoven Grosse Fuga, Op. 133
  • Samuel Barber String Quartet, Op. 10
  • Franz Joseph Haydn String Quartet, Op. 50 No. 2 “The Frog”
  • W.A. Mozart String Quartet in D minor, K. 421
  • Franz Schubert String Quartet in A minor “Rosamunde”
  • Johannes Brahms Sonata for viola and piano in E-flat major, Op. 120 No.2
  • Aaron Copland Appalachian Spring Suite for 13 players
  • Jean Françaix String Trio
  • PDQ Bach Schleptet

Phew! That was quite a bit of music – and most of it wasn’t simple or easy (sometimes simple can be very difficult, early Mozart, for example). But it was all rewarding and interesting, and occasionally extremely vexing!

In my next post, a look back at the orchestral music I played this past season…