I was going to start this post differently, but then I had a hankering for some pizza (travel food) and had an experience I wanted to share. I have stopped in Ogallala, NE (somewhere way out 80) on my way west to San Diego and found a Valentino's Pizza for dinner. Normally this kind of joint would not be on my short list for places to have dinner but I am in the middle of NE and I wanted pizza. I walked into the Take Out door and voila I was in the kitchen! I mean, there was a "half-door" between me and the dishwashing station, but I didn't notice it at first, just saw piles of dirty dishes and sweaty workers. "Hi, I would like some pizza to go." "Oh, ok, here's a box and just come through here to the buffet." The dining room had the appropriate dim lighting and putrid stench, and people intently tasting every pizza. So, for $11+ I got my 6 small slices, and then said, "Oh, I guess I should have gotten the buffet for $10 then...?" She said, "Yep."
I'm west bound for the eventual destination of San Diego. Today I stopped in Ogallala, NE and tomorrow I will visit Arches National Park and stay in Moab, UT. Finally reaching Cedar City, UT to visit percussionist Lynn Vartan. Lynn and I are getting started on our new Solstice repertoire for our first Chicago season in December. For a couple days we will dig into new duo percussion music that will be performed at Links Hall in Chicago and then in LA in April 2014. Lynn and I believe that as a duo we have what every musician searches for in a collaborating chamber setting, the complete connection. We played together on a few concerts in Iowa last February, you can read about that tour in my last blog post, and we were hooked! It was kismet immediately. If you are a chamber musician and have performed with many other musicians you know what I mean. It is not everyday that a musician can find these collaborators and Lynn and I both have worked with several collaborators.
Many, many of the artists we have both collaborated with have been cherished and worthwhile experiences, and we will likely collaborate with them again, we love collaborating and projects! But when you find that certain artist that "clicks" in many ways other than just their playing, it's rare. Being in a new chamber group also requires commitment to booking, promotion, advertising, commissioning, funding, scheduling, etc. And most of the time those are the areas that one person ends up doing all themselves and most of the time that is a recipe for the groups eventual disbandment.
From Cedar City I will travel to San Diego to see my boyfriend, Korey, and play timpani in the orchestra for his opera summer program, Opera Neo; and see my percussion friend, Cory; my sister, Sarah will also visit; and I will likely meet with some other composers and artists during the month long stay.
Coming up in September is a chance to hear my newest composition for percussion duo, Maneuveresque. Written for Matthew Andreini and Gabor Palotas for their Iowa/Hungary Percussion Project. They commissioned 6 composers; 3 Iowan and 3 Hungarian, to write new duos. They premiered the duos in Hungary (dates and places on my website) in June and July with success and on September 4 they will perform their program at Iowa State University! This project is a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit in the percussion world and I was super happy to be asked to write a new piece for it. They have raised money through crowd-funding, as well as from concert fees. And after just meeting with Matt coming off of his 2 month stint in Hungary he said the reaction to the music was extremely pleasing and the most remarkable thing was that the 6 pieces have 6 distinct, individual characters. Keep and eye out for recordings and published scores.
In later September I will be performing 2 concerts, one at ISU and another at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The ISU concert will feature some music on cimbalom with Boro Martinec and Mei-Hsuan Huang, violin and piano colleagues respectively at ISU. Also, I will premiere a new marimba work by Jeffrey Holmes, Nereus Sonata. Likely one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, marimba solos I've seen. It's a jam packed solo of cascading figures, active, big and wide harmonies, and my favorite part, a slithering and off-kilter but sexy fugue. If all goes as planned (with practicing in the sunny town of San Diego) I will also meet with the composer while in CA, as he lives in LA. The ISU concert on September 18 will be live webcast so you can see the world premiere live in real-time here: http://www.music.iastate.edu/feeds/recital/.