It’s Tuesday night, and I should be packing for our trip out west. But again, true to character, I’m doing everything but! My friend Sylvia is at my apartment, and we just had some pizza while watching American Idol. I thought I’d write a couple of lines, and then I really should pack! Last night’s concert at Curtis was very exciting! There was a great energy in the hall and also between the six of us; it was a really enjoyable concert to play! However I think it was just a little nerve wracking for all of us, because we knew that it was being recorded for WHYY and for a recording release. Even if we tried not to think about it, WHYY had their cameras and lights set up in the hall, which were quite hard to miss. It was so nice to play at Curtis, because we were playing for all our friends, teachers and supporters. It was a really lovely evening!Before the Schoenberg, Dr. McGinn, our English teacher, did a beautiful reading of the poem Transfigured Night by Richard Dehmel. Joel will be writing a post with the text of the poem soon, and talking a little bit about it. There have already been 410 streams and 166 track downloads of the Curtis Concert on InstantEncore.com! I’m looking forward to listening to the recording on the plane ride tomorrow. Unfortunately I have to start packing now because our morning starts early tomorrow, but I’ll be writing more soon. Until I loosen my bow again, BellaThe six of us backstage after the concert. The six of us with Dr. McGinn, our english teacher. Bill and I were cello caddies. This was our reward at the end of the night!
So Thursday (March 6) marked the beginning of our
tour! We had all decided to meet at 7:45 am at the Radisson Warwick hotel
to catch the Lady Liberty shuttle to the airport. I'm not much of a
morning person in general, so I began by getting a coffee for the shuttle
ride. We got to the airport around 8:15 am and we checked in and went
through the security. Anymore, you have to get there so early just to get
through the security lines! We hung out around the gate for a
while. I tried to start reading an assignment for my Language and
Literature class, but I get ridiculously distracted by noises in general, so I
didn't really read that much. Finally, we boarded the plane.
The flight was short and sweet. Vicki and I were seat buddies for the
plane. We both tried to get some shut eye, but as usual on planes, it's
practically impossible to sleep! Also, I hate it when I'm sleeping on a
plane and I miss my in-flight drink! I mean, what do you do if you're
sleeping and you STILL want your in-flight drink? Do you leave your tray
table down? Sometimes that seems to work... Anyhow, we landed at
around 11:00 which was 15 minutes earlier than the estimated time of arrival
which was sweet!
We got off the plane and walked over to baggage claim. I don't think I've
ever seen such a slow conveyor belt in my life! After picking up our
luggage, we headed over to the rental car area. As Mr. Diaz and Margo
were getting the car, Bella, Vicki, Yu-Wen, and I had a nice little bonding
talk about how music is EXTREMELY distracting while trying to study. I
kinda thought I was the only person who felt that way... When we walked
out to our car, I noticed that we had rented a MONSTER VAN for the six of
us! It was pretty intense! As we were driving, everyone was getting
hungry. In particular, Bella felt compelled to read the name of every
restaurant and fast food joint in Maine.
We decided we would check into the hotel first and then we would get some food.
We checked into our hotel around 12:30. It was sweet that I got my own
room! I like having the option to be
alone when I want, and I can always invite people to hang out if I want
to. My room was really nice and quite
spacious! The TV had most of my favorite
channels which was pretty sweet too! We
dropped off our stuff and left to get food at 12:40. Mr. Diaz recommended the Brunswick Diner, so
we all decided to go there. It was
unbelievably delicious! I got a bowl of
seafood chowder and a smoked turkey club.
After I ate, I just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep, but our
rehearsal was scheduled in Studzinski Hall from 2-5. We had to drive right off to rehearse!
The hall was beautiful!
I had the opportunity to play in the same hall last summer. The sound is really pure and clear. We started by running through the Strauss
(Capriccio Sextet). That piece is so
difficult to play when your fingers are cold!
After running it through, we decided to work on some spots which proved
extremely helpful for me. Then we
started working on the Schoenberg (Verklarte Nacht). What’s amazing about this piece to me is that
fact that every time you play it, you notice different things about it. It’s really a great work of chamber music, and
such a pleasure to play it with such great musicians! Also, the fact that we’ll be playing it for
the next two weeks is unbelievable! We
rehearsed the Schoenberg till around 4:30 or so, so we didn’t really leave
quite enough time for the Dvorak Quintet.
We rehearsed the first movement and decided to save the rest for the
next day. Bella, Vicki, Yu-Wen, and I
were supposed to play some quartet stuff for part of afternoon program on
Friday, so we decided to spend the time from 5-6 rehearsing Beethoven’s Op. 95
quartet. It was interesting to play it
as a quartet after having played it as a string orchestra in Carnegie
Hall. It’s such a great piece to work
We went back to the hotel to drop off our instruments,
and then we went out to MJ’s Grill and Tavern in downtown Brunswick, Maine
for dinner. Again, the food was
great! I got a Cedar Planked Atlantic
Salmon entrée, which was awesome! The
seafood is SO great here in Maine! Dinner conversation was full of great stories
by both Mr. Diaz and Margo. It’s always
really cool to hear stories about great artists that seem to deal with the same
mundane issues we all deal with in life…
We went back to the hotel around 9 and we had some time to just chill out and get re-grouped for the next day. We have to get an early start tomorrow, so I think I'm going to head off to sleep! Enjoy and I'll write again tomorrow...
Greetings new and old Curtis friends!
We are extremely excited to be part of the first Curtis On Tour initiative from March 6 - March 21, 2008. Let me first introduce ourselves! Bella Hristova and Joel Link are our violinists, Vicki Powell and Curtis President Roberto Diaz are our violists, and Yu-Wen Wang and myself (Margo Tatgenhorst Drakos) are the cellists. I graduated from Curtis in 1999 as a student of David Soyer, and it is such a privilege for me to be able to be once again inspired by the incredible talent, drive and excellence that is Curtis. During the next two weeks our sextet will be traveling through Maine, Pennsylvania, California and Florida, performing concerts, doing outreach events at schools and medical centers, giving master classes, and meeting Curtis Overseer's & Friends of Curtis, the wonderful supporters that keep Curtis, Curtis! We will be performing the Strauss Sextet (which is the opening to the final act of his Opera, Capriccio), Schoenberg’s incredible Verklarte Nacht, and the fiery Dvorak E-Flat Viola Quintet.
Curtis is a tuition-free conservatory that trains exceptionally gifted young players for careers as professional performing artists at the highest level. Curtis On Tour is an incredible opportunity to prepare students for the rigors of a performance career and the plethora of skills and the endless balancing act that this requires. Whether it is juggling travel delays, finding the right directions to a hotel, and preparing talks for students, or squeaking in practicing, trying to get some sleep and stay on top of emails, these are the rewarding and sometimes challenging realities of a professional musician. Equally amazing is the chance to perform the same program multiple times in close proximity! My last year of Curtis I the opportunity to perform a program in multiple cities, night after night. Never before had I played the same program more than twice and it was a completely life altering experience. I have found that only after you have played a piece many times, in many different moods, with many different audiences, do you begin to truly explore a piece. For the Curtis students on this tour, I hope they find this to be equally a profound experience.
Over the next two weeks, Bella, Joel, Vicki, and Yu-Wen will be providing you with a glimpse into life “On The Road” through words and pictures. We hope you enjoy and that you will share your comments and questions! Our live performance from Field Concert Hall at Curtis will be available for public streaming online right here at InstantEncore.com/Curtis beginning Tuesday, March 11, 2008.
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