Sunday, March 18, 2012

Addendum: Nixon in China video

For anyone who's interested, the whole of "Nixon in China" is available on YouTube in 17 parts.  It's the Houston Grand Opera production from 1987, with an introduction by Walter Cronkite.  I only found it this evening -- I would like to have seen it during rehearsal!

Symphonic Metamorphosis, movement three

Pre-Opera Projection
Earlier this afternoon was the final performance of the "Nixon in China" run.  To keep all the different concerts and series straight, the symphony identifies everything by a simple code in ascending order.  This was called Opera 3 and the fancy concert this coming weekend with newly-minted Grammy-winner Joyce DiDonato is called Classical Series 9.  In a few weeks, they'll have Opera 4, and so forth.

This is a critical method for keeping people from getting confused, especially in a season where there can be rehearsals and performances for two or three things simultaneously.  It is vital to not be confused.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Symphonic Metamorphosis, Movement two

The first performance of the Kansas City Lyric Opera's production of "Nixon in China" by John Adams was Saturday night.

Here's the two reviews I could find:

Kansas City Star, "Epic meets intimate: Lyric Opera's "Nixon" is a stunner", "Opera in the age of the sound bite"

The KCMetropolis review was written by a friend of mine. He's not the sort of person to take it easy on one of the highest-profile performing ensembles because I'm playing in the back row, but the connection does exist.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Isn't nostalgia strange?

I'm sitting in a restaurant that didn't exist when I first started my tenure at UMKC.  Well, the name and brand existed, but the old building that it inhabited was torn down years ago.  Now it's in a deserted firehouse which DID exist then, but had a fire department in it.  

Are you following me so far?

I'm also bogging, which I didn't do when I first came here.  And even weirder, I'm doing that on my phone.  Mostly as an experiment -- it isn't a satisfactory typing experience and it makes me long for a keyboard.  

I would be at the university, where I have access to chairs and computers, but they're notoriously stingy with the parking.  That is a perennial that has only gotten worse with the destruction of one of the main garages.

It is nice to sit here and enjoy a day: I get so little opportunity to do that nowadays. It's brought to me by the symphony having a strange split rehearsal across the afternoon and into the evening.  

So I'm betting on a 10:00 supper tonight.  10:30 if there is overtime.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Symphonic Metamorphosis, movement one

Pit view for "Nixon in China"
As I posted earlier, I am currently rehearsing with the Kansas City Symphony again.  Over the last few months, I've been called a few times to help them out.  The months-long experience has been nothing but positive.  The fellow instrumentalists think I look familiar and start to remember my name.  People I've only watched from afar now smile and nod, as if to say "hi, we're here to do the same thing". 

And that's so amazing I can barely speak.

Heard the old woman cry out and I did nothing

I heard the woman approaching before I ever saw her.


She was making a whole host of aggrieved noises, so I looked up.  Unlike what I assumed, she was not being mugged or otherwise molested.  She was simply walking -- achingly slow -- down the hallway, using her cane.  Every step brought some sort of vocalization, none of them pleasant or muted.  She was using the sort of voice one uses to make a lover guilty while sitting six seats down the bar from them ("oh, you're a DOCTOR.  WELL, isn't that AWESOME!")

Who Spells the Spellers?

 I posted something on Twitter earlier today that used the word "surreptitiously".  I typed it out the first time with an erroneous third "u" where the "e" is.  The spell check didn't catch it, but it still looked a bit odd.  So I went to one of my most visited sites: (which is actually, and has been for years.  Luckily the simple way works.)  I've used this for years for everything from academic papers and resumes to the aforementioned Twitter and blog posts.

The site helped correct the spelling for surreptitious and it also listed a definition I didn't understand. 
3. obtained by subreption; subreptitious.

The Deaf and Copland

Two weeks ago, I performed with the Kansas City Symphony for their series of Kinder Konzert.  It was about the science of sound, featuring a curator from the Science City center in Union Station.  Over four days, there were 8 brief concerts and an attendance of over 12,000 students.  That's an unbelievable number to be involved with.

I still remember going to Powell Hall in St. Louis when I was young and seeing the symphony.  I don't remember anything about the concert or what we saw, but I remember going at some point.  Hopefully these kids do, too.