This week we are playing our 4th Masterworks concert of the year, which means we are also auditioning our 4th conducting candidate: Fusao Kajima. He was on a roll at our rehearsal on Tuesday night...naming cities in Arkansas for every rehearsal letter...he turned out to be very charming, and lead a pretty decent and effective rehearsal. We'll see how the rest of the week goes. He picked a pretty orchestra and audience friendly program: Villa-Lobos Sinfonietta No. 1, Grieg Piano Concerto, and Dvorak 8 (which just so happens to be one of my favorite symphonies...mainly thanks to a certain performance led by James Levine and Tanglewood...sigh).
In my infinite wisdom, I decided that I needed to get my flu vaccines...since we play for some many schools, I didn't want to pick it up from anybody, and I hear that H1N1 is coming around again...(I think Arkansas was hit pretty hard by it last time)...so I went over to Arkansas Children's Hospital (where I volunteer every other week) to get my shots...both seasonal and H1N1, one in each arm. About 8 hours later, during orchestra rehearsal I starting feeling a little sickish...by the next morning I had aches and a fever...still went to my Rheinberger rehearsal (since that concert is coming up on Feb 5)...but after that I made a steady decline...had to cancel an informal Quapaw Quartet concert and a Sturgis Quartet rehearsal because I had a 103 degree fever...ugh...sat around all day, and it got better and better...so I'm about to head out to orchestra rehearsal...we'll see if I make it or not...I'm feeling fine though.
My mom gave all of the dogs (Daisy, Gus, and Jo) tennis balls for Christmas. They all had fun chasing them around for a few minutes...Gus and Jo lost interest, but Daisy kept destroying them for days...and we got a few to take home. I gave her one yesterday when I got back from Chicago, and you can see what it looks like in the picture...
I went home for a week and a half...we celebrated my dads birthday, my recent audition success, and of course, Christmas. The highlight of the trip (besides getting to see my parents of course!) was eating at two of Chicago's best restaurants in one week. The first was Arun's, a Thai restaurant: no menus...they just bring you a 12 course tasting dinner (6 appetizers, 4 main courses, 2 deserts...with 5 different wine pairings) The highlight of the meal was definitely the one bite salad...so much flavor in one bite...it was kind of insane.
My favorite of the two was Topolobampo...you may have heard of chef Rick Bayless from Top Chef Masters (which he won)...we all got the tasting menus here too...only 5 courses this time (with a wine pairing going along with each course)...each one of my courses used a different kind of mole (who knew there were so many?!?!?) It was probably the best meal I've ever had!
- On December 5th, I auditioned for and won the principal cello job in my orchestra. There were only three candidates, but they were all very good. I practiced really hard...doing a mock audition everyday, including two at 9am (which is when the actual audition was). It was the most prepared I've ever felt for an audition, and I'm happy with the results (duh)
- The following day I played the Messiah at UAPB (University of Arkansas Pine Bluff). Their choir is very very very good, and its always fun to hear them. It is also the most complete Messiah I've ever played...I think they leave out 2 numbers. Maybe 3?
- I have been super busy as I have been playing with Sturgis (my usual quartet) as well as subbing in the Quapaw Quartet fairly often. I'll be playing a recital with QQ in January, so we have already started rehearsing.
- I went home to Chicago for the first time in several for Thanksgiving. I mostly just practiced that weekend. And I met my parents new dogs: Gus(tav) and Jo(hannes).
- I played my first Nutcracker this past weekend. I was a little bit nervous, since it was my first service sitting principal and I had never played the piece before. I think it all went pretty well though. And we only played it twice, so I don't hate it yet.
- Several rehearsals with QQ (we are playing Shostakovitch 3 and Brahms 1).
- Holiday Pops with the ASO (a brand new show...should be fun)
- Rheinberger rehearsal at Cathedral of St. Andrew (performing with Drew and Phil in February.
- Not 1, but 2 gigs!! This is unheard of for me in Little Rock...
- More blog posts? Maybe people will read this if I actually write something once in a while. Hmmmmm...
Now I'm hanging out on the couch with Daisy...gonna watch some Dexter and then head to bed. We have a rehearsal for our children's concert tomorrow night...which includes La Mer and the famous cello excerpt...we will only have 6 cellos (5 for one of the concerts) so its gonna be awfully exposed...and joy! I'm playing the top line. So basically, I will be hanging out at my apartment all day practicing (there are a few hard pieces on the concert that I've never played before). I'm glad we are presenting actual music to the kids!