The pursuit of personal excellence, whether as a five-year-old or as a sixty-five-year-old, is a driving force of life–the cradle of hope and faith. Whether this pursuit is in the planting of a garden, the raising of a child, the painting of a picture, becoming an “A” student or excelling at sports, bodybuilding or music, the basic principles remain the same. Regardless of your path, I believe you will find correlations in the basic principles of my teaching of the piano.
1. Most people READ THROUGH the music repeatedly until they get most of the notes right, gradually deciding on proper fingering, dynamics, phrasing (legato, detached notes, and timing of breath pauses) and pedaling. This approach is a WASTE OF TIME and produces a dissatisfying result.
2. Listen to a RECOMMENDED recording three or four times–following the music–to get a general idea of the piece. Then DO NOT listen to the recording again until the piece is learned and polished.
The Berlin Philharmonic made its annual appearance in Salzburg with an exciting program comprising three concerts and one opera. The emphasis this year was on the British composer, Benjamin Britten.
His opera, Peter Grimes, is a gloomy saga about the proud, self-willed fisherman. It is his uncompromising independence and unwillingness to accept any help, that brings Peter Grimes to disaster and suicide. Director Sir Trevor Nunn and designer John Gunter filled the stage of the Grosses Festspielhaus with Brugellian bleak true-to-life sets depicting most realistically the fishing village and its simple yet hostile and aggressive inhabitants.
Although in its current season the Washington Opera will be giving 80 performances of eight operas, the beginnings of this impressive company were humble. In fact, the first formal performance of the company in 1957 took place in an auditorium in one of Washington’s universities, and rehearsals had to be held in New York.
During the recent season, I attended performances of Don Carlos and The Marriage of Figaro. Don Carlos is one of Verdi’s richest operas, which confronts issues of religious, political and personal conflicts, all played out in the court of Philip II of Spain. The opera premiered in Paris, but Verdi subsequently produced an Italian version in which he omitted the first act. The Washington production opted for the abridged, four-act Italian version with the addition of the Veil Song.
New Voices @ CUA is a phenomenal festival of new vocal music, music that was just written for the human voice. In January 2014, the fourth edition took place showcasing chamber music, art song, sacred music, and cabaret. The festival was a 2-day event at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC.
See also this New Voices @ CUA 2013 video (I Pray for Them):
On January 24 & 25, 2014, UCA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music (SCI Chapter) hosted the two-day festival of new vocal music in Washington, D.C. This fourth edition of the New Voices @ CUA Festival featured four concerts that were performed over the two-day period and included compositions by student composers of the school. New Voices @ CUA was proud of the new collaboration with Next Parallel, t eh famed DC Ensemble that served as the festival’s resident ensemble.
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony featured at Washington Performing Arts Concert
CUA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music is actually the only university to participate in this concert which is presented by WPA (Washington Performing Arts) that will celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary. The unique concert, which will also include new work from Esa-Pekka Salonen, the great Finnish composer and orchestral conductor, is actually the first collaboration ever of WPA and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, says the school’s dean of music, Grayson Wagstaff.
1. I’ll Fly Away – Jars of Clay with Sarah Kelly:When I was in preschool, my dad sang with the gospel group at church. This is one of the songs they sang. 2. Sweet Child o’ Mine – Sheryl Crow – I made a slideshow of family photos to tell Dad I was pregnant with Bob. This played in the background. The video ended with “I told you it was going to be a good year.” Yes, yes, I’d like to throw up at that irony too. 3. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – Indigo Girls (Link goes to a version by Heart): Back in the day, there was a weekend where I had 3 friends hit by a drunk driver, meanwhile, Dad landed in the hospital with a case of bacterial pneumonia. This song was on the new IG double cassette (yeh, you read that right – cassette – not CD) and played on most of my trips to the hospitals. Oh, and the hospital Dad was in then? Same one he died at. Fun times.)