I must be wired, because it’s four a.m. and I still can’t sleep. I just returned from my China trip a few hours ago, and thought I would share some of my experiences. Maybe share a couple of photos as well.
All in all, it was a very successful trip. I should have re-read my previous post, because one of the tenser moments was in the first rehearsal of the fiendishly difficult “Legende” of Schmitt, when the saxophone soloist wanted to go faster than I was ready to go at that first rehearsal. This is a crucial moment–the soloist is sizing me up and thinking, oh boy, he can’t play the piece, what do I do now? What I did was practice the devil out of the piece before our 2nd and final rehearsal. He seemed much happier, and the performance went reasonably well. I must point out at the moment he wanted to go faster, that while I am busy with 3 staves of music all over the place, the saxophone is sustaining quarter notes and whole notes, so for him the main issue is breathing. The faster it goes, the easier for him. That is so often the case in these works.
I should explain that I was there being a staff pianist for the 2007 China International Clarinet & Saxophone Symposium. My fee didn’t even cover the ticket to get there. So why would I do something that difficult and lose money at that same time? Well, if you haven’t been to China, you might not understand. Actually it was a lot of fun. In my warped value system, that is some of the most fun in my life, working with great musicians from literally all over the world.
I was astonished to see my accommodations for the week. The organizers gave me a deluxe room, actually a suite, with an upright piano. That was my practice/rehearsal room, and I stayed in there for 3 days, only coming out for performances and meals. (I missed a couple of the latter, but I still managed to put on a few pounds anyway–notice the food in the next photo!)
After the last concert, the 3 festival pianists went out for the customary Post-Festival Collaborative Pianists Gathering. This is when the pianists can breathe a sigh of relief, lick our wounds, and enjoy the kind of camaraderie that exists in our profession.That is Jackie (Jahyeong) Koo from Los Angeles, and Ha Eun Jeong from Seoul. I am behind the camera. We divided the workload pretty evenly.
Here I am with Mario Marzi, saxophone virtuoso from Italy.
Well, I am starting to fade, so I am stopping for now.