Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New York Trip

     Last month, I went to New York with my teacher Dileep Gangolli.  It was an amazing trip!  We flew to Laguardia airport, and we stayed with Dileep's brother Ashok.

     On Thursday, I saw the Metropolitan Opera play.  They did Satyagraha, an opera about Gandhi's years in South Africa.  The opera was very surreal.  It was in Sanskrit with Gandhi's writings in English projected on the wall.  There was also no recitative, which means it was all songs with no explanations or bridges.  It was weird, but also really cool.  I loved Gandhi's solo at the end.  It was incredibly long, and every moment of it was gorgeous.  Anthony McGill's part was kind of boring and supportive, unfortunately for me, because I always love to hear Mr. McGill play as much as possible.  But, of course, he executed it perfectly, like the brilliant and lyrical clarinetist he is.

     After the concert, my teacher and I went outside the Met opera house where we saw a bunch of occupy Wall Street protesters trying to get the musicians of the Metropolitan Opera and the audience members to join their protest.  I guess this was because the opera was about Gandhi, and he was a non-violent protester, like the Occupy protesters.

     On Friday morning, I went to see the New York Philharmonic play Mahler's tenth symphony.  I enjoyed the experience much better than when I saw them last year.  This was an acoustical issue, I think, because everyone knows how great the New York Philharmonic is.  Last year, we sat in the balconies on the side of the concert hall where the sound was really inconsistent, and the solists were almost inaudible.  This year, I sat on the ground level, and the acoustics were much much better.  The horns were great throughout the whole piece (Mahler has the best horn parts).  The violas sounded a little shaky in the second movement when they had their big soli, but again, I think this was a problem with the Avery Fischer Hall acoustics, which isn't able to project the beautiful and subtle sound of the viola section.  There were a couple of parts that didn't sound right to me, but I think this is because the celli and the violas suffer most from the sound issues in that concert hall.  We are lucky to have the Chicago Symphony Center here in Chicago.  In the last movement there was a beautiful flute solo which was executed to perfection by the principal flutist.  He was almost as good as Mathieu Dufour, but not quite, but I have to admit that I am biased, because I am from Chicago, and I support my hometown orchestra.

     After seeing the orchestra play, we went to this wonderful French Bistro where I got a really great sandwich.  Later that afternoon, I had a lesson with Anthony McGill, principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.  It was an amazing experience, just like last year.  Mr. McGill had some really great insights into playing Rossini, which he shared with me.  He helped me balance the pressure I was placing on the reed when playing the high notes, and it helped my highest notes become more in tune.  He also gave me insight into dynamics.  He said to think of dynamics as a style of playing and not a volume.  This is a really good way to think about it.  We finished the day with dinner at a great Italian restaurant.  I had the lamb.

     On Saturday, I went to see Will, a friend of mine who I met at Interlochen, who lives in the New York suburbs.  Will's dad took us to the natural history museum where we spent most of our time in the jungle and African Peoples section.  It was really interesting tracing the African Peoples through the years and looking at their art.  I spent that night at Will's house.

     On Sunday, Will's dad dropped me back off at Dileep's brother's house.  We went from there to the airport.  When I got back to Chicago, I went straight back to my chamber rehearsal at Midwest Young Artists.  It was one busy weekend!

     I had an amazing time in New York.  I enjoy vising New York a lot, but I think I like Chicago the best.

It's Been Too Long Since My Last Blog Post

December was a really busy month!  I went with my teacher to New York to have a lesson with Anthony McGill again.  My youth orchestra (Midwest Young Artists) played several Christmas concerts in area malls, and I was busy preparing for the Walgreens Concerto Competition and the DePaul Concerto Festival.  Plus I performed a family concert with my great aunt Corean who is a concert pianist.

I won the wind category of the junior MYA division of the Walgreens playing the Rossini Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet, and I won the clarinet category at the DePaul Concerto Festival, playing the Weber Concertino.  I think this means I will get to play the Weber Concertino with the Oistrach Symphony Orchestra later this month.

Also, my chamber trio auditioned for WFMT Introductions, and we were selected to play on January 28.  We will be playing the Mozart Kegelstatt Trio (k. 498) and the Schumann Marchenerzahlungen for viola, clarinet and piano.  I'm really excited about playing, but I'm kind of scared of the interview part.