After a lighter day yesterday and a much-needed break, it was back to intense music today at the BSO Academy. Our group’s rehearsal with the full orchestra and Marin Alsop wasn’t scheduled until 11:30am, so I had some time this morning for intense practice of some of my “trouble spots” in the orchestra program, and in the movement from the Dvorak String Quintet my chamber group is performing Friday night.
At the orchestra rehearsal, we received our final seating assignments, and I was surprised and pleased to see that I had been assigned to the 3rd desk in both the Second and the First Violins. I’m sitting next to Assistant Concertmaster Igor Yusefovich in the First Violins. He’s the engaging Russian who led our violin sectional on Monday. The assignment was even more surprising when the afternoon and evening showcased the amazing talent that is here among the 88 amateur (and mostly midlife!) musicians attending the academy.
During the afternoon, Concertmaster Jonathan Carney led a master class for violin and viola players. Eight musicians played. Carney proved himself to be a master teacher, gently coaching each musician into a better sound or more musical approach to their playing. I learned a lot from watching and listening, and am sure my own abilities to play will be greatly enhanced. (I am planning to post many of the tips and concepts I’ve learned this week elsewhere on this blog in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!)
After dinner, 24 musicians from the BSO Academy class played in recital at Meyerhoff hall. Most were solo performances, with a few small groups thrown in. There were performances by every kind of woodwind, brass instrument, and stringed instrument from the orchestra, but the real star of the night was BSO Violist Mary Woehr, who in less than two months prepared the piano accompaniment for all the musicians: 24 different pieces of music! She endured hours at the keyboard helping the musicians prepare this week for what turned out to be a delightful evening.
Tomorrow, a long rehearsal is on tap, then a break for some yoga. In the evening, 16 different chamber groups will perform. I’m in group #2, along with Viola Judy, an ER doctor from Hershey, PA on cello, a doctor from DC on string base, and Rebecca Nichols, a BSO violinist and Interlochen Arts Academy graduate.
Wish me luck!