festival musings

My viola resting before our first rehearsal at the Tower Theater in Bend.

The first concert of the 40th annual 2017 Sunriver Music Festival took place last night. We started rehearsals Friday, and threw together a nice program. I’m just glad that we didn’t start with the usual Pops concert on the first day. This was much more humane, and gave the orchestra a little bit of time to get used to playing together again.

Today we have a day off, and it was one of the first cooler days that the Bend-Sunriver area has had in some time – it will not even crack 80F today! It’s been unusually hot in the Northwest this summer. I bring my bike to ride, but often our free time starts at 1pm and ends at 6pm, so activities outside are confined to the heat of the day. If we have some cooler weather, then it’s the perfect time to capitalize on it and get out on the road!

I did a 12 mile loop today on the eastern side of Bend, where my homestay is located. As I was navigating my way along some unfamiliar roads, my mind started to wander as it often does on rides. It’s one of the things that I love the most about cycling. My mind can clear and wander as I keep track of staying alive on the roads I travel. It’s a great stress reliever. I began to think about some topics and people that I want to include in my upcoming podcast. That’s right, I will soon be debuting my Nobleviola Podcast! My plan is to discuss topics that concern the inner workings of being a musician. I hope to include interviews with musicians from around the world, experts on

First Ocean Roll (from Sparrow Bakery) of the festival. Worth a trip if you’re visiting Bend – total cardamom bliss!

various aspects of performing, and my local colleagues in the Portland area. It’s an ambitious project, but one that I think will be even more interesting and valuable than my personal writings that have been featured here for the past dozen years are so.

I’m not giving up on writing – there will be at least as much writing involved for the podcast as for the written blog. I am looking forward, however, to evolving this platform from a very introverted, self-centric project to one that is more collaborative and inclusive. I’ve got some ideas about this that are too embryonic to share, but I’ll post about them as they come to fruition (if indeed they do). For now, I’ll continue periodically posting my usual content, and will provide updates on the launch of the podcast as things progress. Thanks for reading!

Mahler time

Mahler in 1895, just after the premiere of his 2nd Symphony.

If it’s the end of the Oregon Symphony’s season, chances are it’s time to hear one of Mahler’s magnificent symphonies. This season it is his massive Symphony No. 3. It will be my second time playing this wonderful piece, the first having been back in 2003 under Maestro James DePreist. We’ll have a viola section of 12 players (!) instead of our usual 9-10. And 10 cellists, instead of our usual 7-8. There are more violins, too, but that doesn’t concern me so much. It’s a huge orchestra, and along with the instrumental forces, there will be young singers of the Pacific Youth Choir and the women, of the PSU Chamber Choir and Vox Femina. It’s going to be quite the spectacle, you won’t want to miss it!

My musical summer plans are coming along nicely as well.

Late in June and into July, I’m spending a good couple of weeks at the Oregon Bach Festival, playing works by James MacMillan (including the world premiere of his Requiem), Gabriel Kahane, and the great Brahms Requiem.

After a nice respite in Ashland seeing the sights, I’ll be back in the Methow Valley in the North Cascades of Washington to play at the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, which will include some fantastic pieces: Schubert’s Adagio and Rondo Brilliante, Mozart’s Horn Quintet, and Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht.

Then, it’s back to central Oregon for the Sunriver Music Festival, where the focus is on works inspired by nature and natural beauty.

last festival, great scenery

Looking west towards Bend and the mountains beyond. Photo: ©Charles Noble
Looking west towards Bend and the mountains beyond. [click to enlarge]
Another week, another festival! In this case, my last of the 2015 summer season. I’m here in Central Oregon for the Sunriver Music Festival, of which I’ve been a part since 2000. We’re off to a good start, with a sold-out pops concert on opening night, and a very well attended first classical concert last night in the Great Hall at Sunriver Resort. It’s a great place to be for a festival, with so much hiking and biking available to do in one’s spare time. If you’re in the area over the next ten days, do check out the festival’s website and come to a concert, we’d love to have you!