Friday, September 14, 2012

Master Class with Jessica Phillips Rieske

A few hours after the ICA High School Solo Competition, I was scheduled to play for a masterclass with Jessica Phillips Rieske, Acting Principal Clarinet at the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  She is also on the faculties at Rutgers and Columbia Universities, and she teaches E-Flat clarinet at The Juilliard School.

Ms. Phillips Rieske with the clarinets from the masterclass.
I was pretty wiped out emotionally after the competition earlier that morning.  It didn't help that one of the teachers of one of the others students in the competition, a student who, like me, also did not place, came to me afterwards to tell me exactly what I had done wrong.  He kept harping on my Legere Reeds and telling me that I played poorly.  His comments did not agree with the judges comments, and I didn't know him, so it was very odd that he would come to me at that moment with such strong statements.  At that point I was trying to shake hands with the winners and congratulate them on their performances and to get my own comments from the judges.

In any case, I went to the dealer's room to try out the new Buffet Divine clarinet and I got some lunch, and then I took a deep breth and went to the masterclass.  I was playing the exposition of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in front of a room full of clarinet professionals, enthusiasts, and students.  It's funny.  I wasn't nervous.  I figured, I would do my best and not worry too much about it.  Unlike the competition, this time, I didn't have much to lose.  Also, I don't think I had enough energy left after the competition to get too worked up about anything.

I think I played quite well considering everything -- although since I have been working on the Mozart since then, I could play better today, but that doesn't really matter.  The important thing was that Ms. Phillips Rieske was a FANTASTIC teacher.  Like Mr. Manassee, she focused first on what she liked about my playing, which is something I think all teachers should do.  It makes it much easier to hear the criticisms, especially in a room full of people you don't know.  I'm not going to go into specifics about her comments this time, like I usually do, but suffice it to say that the master class was a great experience.  I hope that I have the privilege to meet Ms. Phillips Rieske again as a teacher or as the amazing performer that she is.

No comments:

Post a Comment