2011 has started in a rush, and it’s already a week into February!
Just back from the 2011 Sphinx Competition, which featured final performances from the Junior Division this year. Congratulations to Alexandra Switala, who captured the first place price with a passionate, charismatic performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto #5 in A Major. Her animated performance stole the show from Annelle Gregory, whose more restrained classic performance was gorgeously rendered, but which left her in third place. My row, however, was rooting for Xavier Foley, the young bassist who captured second place while bending in half over his instrument to play notes in positions never intended on the bass in his performance of the Dittersdorf Concerto in E Major. The program will be broadcast on Detroit Public Television on February 27th.
Meanwhile, I’m back in my familiar 1st violin chair in the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society Symphony Orchestra, where we’re working on selections from the Peer Gynt Suite #2, the Firebird Suite, Mendelsohn Piano Concerto #1, and music from the movie Titanic.
We had a great round of Haydn this Saturday at the Friends Quartet, which has been affected by illness since the start of the year, but is always great fun when we can get together.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting to hear if I’ll be accepted into the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Academy in June, for a week of playing alongside the musicians of the BSO. I applied after a contact from the Academy found this blog and some earlier posts about the BSO’s “Rusty Musicians” program. The BSO has received applications from musicians representing at least 16 different states. Decisions are expected to be announced this week.
When I started this blog nearly two years ago, I had no idea so many opportunities to play would present themselves. Yet, nearly every day, I find even more people who would like to play somewhere, with someone, in an atmosphere that is supportive and forgiving. For many people, it’s a question of finding the time in their busy lives (something that is becoming an increasing challenge for me!), or just finding the confidence to take that instrument off the shelf, try it out again, and recognize that it takes consistent work to recover lost skills.