Monday, July 30, 2007

The beginning of the end

Today marks the beginning of my last week here in Marlboro, and I find that I am sad to see the end of my time here approach. I have three concerts this weekend, in which I will perform one Stravinsky piece and two Schumann pieces. The week promises to be intense and will probably fly by at lightning speed.

I am struck by how much it seems that I was meant to be here this summer. The opportunity to be here sort of fell into my lap – in many ways, the choice made itself apparent. Of course I could easily have said no when the opportunity was offered, but that small, insistent voice inside me was telling me to accept. I am so glad that I did. I really had no idea what to expect from my summer here, but I have had nothing short of a mind-blowing experience. I have learned so much here and been recharged in so many ways on top of making some wonderful new friends. It’s been a real lesson in the value of taking a leap of faith – great things are meant to happen to us, and so much is to be reaped if one is open to it.

Maybe now I’ll stop worrying quite so much about the future…

Monday, July 16, 2007

Friends and a Wedding

I ducked away from Marlboro this weekend to see one of my best friends get married. Our friendship started because we had neighboring lockers for seven years while growing up in Ann Arbor, and over time, she and her family have become to feel like extended family to me. It was an event that I had blocked out on my calendar for almost 18 months, and I was not going to miss it.

It was a truly joyous occasion, filled with all of the emotion and intensity that such events provide. The best part about weddings is that they are a chance to reunite and celebrate with loved ones, and most of my closest and best friends from my youth in Ann Arbor were present. Sitting at my dinner table after the ceremony, listening to toast after toast and watching slideshows of embarrassing photos from our pasts, I felt my eyes water as my heart surged with gratitude and pride for my friends. People who are friends for life are rare and precious, and these guys have been there for so many milestones and changes. We continue to grow together as we talk each other through our career beginnings and changes, our pregnancies, our first children, our weddings, and our advanced degrees. I am so proud of each and every one of these people, who are out there accomplishing great things and trying to make our world a better place either through dealing with the present, trying to understand ourselves better through the past, or envisioning a better future.

Weddings are always bittersweet for me, because it is such a heterosexually-based and tradition-saturated ritual. With all of the intellectual debate and political furor over the issue of gay marriage, the emotional reality of the subject gets lost. During the reception on Saturday, I looked over at Jeremy and saw a surprised joy in his eyes that he was so included by my friends and their families in the event and that they have truly come to regard him as one of the clan. I also saw the sadness in his eyes that his family will never be able to celebrate our union in any way whatsoever. His parents refuse to meet me to this day. It is painful for me to think that I am not even sure how my own parents will deal with such a public affirmation and celebration of our relationship and commitment to each other. When confronted with tuxedos, white gowns, teary-eyed parents filled with pride, and three-tiered cakes wedding cakes, it is hard to avoid having such thoughts creep in to the mind and mix in with the joy and happiness that I feel for my loved ones who are celebrating their vows.

To the bride and groom (who we also have come to adore as one of the clan), I wish all the best for an incredibly beautiful future together. And to my friends from home, I am so grateful for our friendships and our time together, and I am so proud of all that you do – you are incredible people and we are lucky to be loved by you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Haven

The first concert of the summer here at Marlboro was tonight. It was an informal evening of music in the dining hall, complete with two trios and a performance of Les nuits d’été, and it was incredible. It was amazing to watch people enjoy themselves so much making music at such a high level. For the ninety minutes of the concert, I sat and was grateful that I have the privilege to be here this summer.

My time here so far has been day after day full of inspiring musical moments. Whether in rehearsal for one of my own pieces or watching a reading of a piano concerto or simply walking on the campus here hearing bits of other groups’ rehearsals, my mind is in a state of continuous expansion. The emphasis of this place (and what makes it so special) is on rehearsal and not on performance, and even though there are concerts, many of the pieces we explore here don't actually get performed. As a result, rehearsal time is practically unlimited.

It is so great to have this incredible opportunity to immerse myself in rehearsal, study and practice, to have the time to iron out and explore the details, to be able to ask questions of my incredible colleagues, and to be surrounded by people who all share the same passion for the precept of music for music’s sake.

This is the sign that greeted us as we arrived at the festival, and it continues to display itself proudly at the top of the hill that is the heart of the campus. It is such a luxury to get to play, instead of stress, worry, obsess, and cram. It is so easy to forget that music is serious fun, and not a stuffy, elitist profession.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Beverly Sills

I was saddened to read the news that Beverly Sills died last night...She was an inspiring presence in our world, and a true trailblazer in so many different ways. I hope that more artists will look to her passionate, determined, and at the same time graceful singing and leadership as things to emulate. The NY Times has a tribute here.