Archive for February, 2010

There’s no business like snow business

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

[IMAGE] snow on tree

…click to listen:

…about the music

Delicate. Balance.

What is it about me and snowstorms this month? I’d take my ice-magnet abilities personally if only I didn’t know that most others in the U.S. feel about the same. My first full day in Columbus: a snowstorm that closed schools for a day. My first full day in New York City: a snowstorm that closed schools for a day. If I’d just stay home in that fabulous 50-plus degree island weather, maybe the rest of the country would get a chance to thaw out.

NYC has been really enjoyable this week, either despite or because of trudging through deep gutter puddles of questionable contents in my sturdy $25 knee-high snow-boots to good meetings, fun with friends, and some great live performances. Friday night I was at Carnegie for the Tibet House benefit, which ranged from peaceable singing monks to petulant spitting, mic-stand throwing rock stars: OMG! Patti Smith and Iggy Pop! I was in heaven and instantly reliving my high school years. They, however, are very much in the present with incredibly powerful voices and of course, presences. What a blast. There were quite a lot of other terrific artists in between those extremes, including artistic artistic artistic artistic artistic artistic artistic artistic director director director Philip Glass and my pal, uber-violist/composer Martha Mooke, and the three intermission-less hours flew by (almost as fast as Iggy’s hurled mic stand, which missed the 9′ Steinway by inches).

Last night I went for gorgeous young people in tutus and tights, and snagged a $20 seat at New York City Ballet for the classic Balanchine triptych: Jewels. I had seen this production growing up in the 70’s and it was quite nostalgic to sit up VERY high in the sold-out house (Row N, which stands for Nosebleed section) just as I used to as a teenager who scraped together her babysitting money to spend hours in this theater for countless ballets and opera. Not much has changed since I was 16: I still wear long straight brown hair and the same size clothes, and the State Theater still wears its same 60’s decor. On all counts, I’m so glad.

More professional meetings and more hangs with good friends this coming week, and then back to rural life on the 7th. I’m lucky to have such a demographically bifurcated life.

But if we get a snowstorm in the San Juans, someone’s gonna pay.

Away, and varieties of home

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

[IMAGE]  setting sun

…click to listen:

…about the music


I returned from The Land of Cold People (see prior post) with a big smile. I could not have been treated more wonderfully by such a talented group of faculty and students. I gave a ton of lectures and private lessons and was rewarded with, among other things, a very, very beautifully performed evening of my music– concert, and jazz. It’s inspiring to be immersed for a few days into a new tribe of music makers, and I came home happy and appreciative.

And, happy and appreciative to defrost: like much of the country that week (except for the San Juan Islands where it remained a glorious, sunny 50-ish degrees), I was caught in one of the blizzards that swept through. The first full day I was at Capital University, they had to close the campus by 1pm. Although one of the three business/entrepreneurship classes I was to speak to was canceled, I told the 30 or so music students at my morning lecture that I’d be happy to pinch hit with my new-found free time, and hang with them to talk further at a local coffee shop. I thought maybe 3 people might show, just for the warm java. But fully half or more of the class was there, waiting for me as I walked in. Great students, eager to talk and question.

So I’ve caught up a bit on things here in the studio this week, only to turn on my heels again on Tuesday for an extended trip to my home town of Manhattan. Three board and committee meetings, plus my mother’s publicly unmentionable Importantly Numbered Birthday (the kind that ends with a zero or a 5). Stunningly beautiful, elegant, and wrinkle-free, without a grey hair on her perfectly coiffed head, she still lives in the same great apartment in which I grew up. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in the city: once you find good real estate, you hang onto it with your soot-lined claws. So coming over to visit her, decades later, is still truly going HOME. The only thing missing is my father, who I adored, and who left the planet way too early eleven years ago. As I was growing up, when he came home from work he used to ring to doorbell in a particularly quick, quirky way as he unlocked the door with his house key(s) [plural; hey, it’s New York]. He was the only person to ever ring our doorbell that way. Now when I show up, I ring it that way, too. Freaks my mother out just a tad. Hi, Daddy.

So I think a lot these days about what home is, because it turns out that by the time you’re my age, it’s a lot of things. It’s the place(s) you grew up. It’s the memory of the many places you lived before you moved all your stuff into the place you currently live. It’s the place you imagine you might live some day. And it’s also a 22-inch roll-on suitcase, paired with a laptop, an iPhone and an invincible wireless connection to the globe 24/7. I have learned that as long as I am doing work I love, and hanging with people that I really enjoy, I am home. I need very little to live well other than that, plus a sturdy TravelPro that will fit in the overhead compartment of life.


Thursday, February 4th, 2010

[IMAGE] inlet

…click to listen:

…about the music

Strong winter fire star.

This morning was pretty great for February: almost 50 degrees. Yes, Fahrenheit. I had to spell check that last word because I can never remember the first “h.”
So as the sun blazed into my windows and the birds chirped with glee as they pecked at bowls of seed I’d put out, I prepared the materials for my upcoming residency at Capital University in frigid Columbus, Ohio, where it is in the mid-20’s.

Mid-20’s. Just like most of the other cities I’ve been trotting around to for my work this winter: Chicago, New York, Minneapolis. What is wrong with me?? Why am I not smart enough to figure out a schedule that would have me in the south of the U.S. between November and March? If I were really clever, I could refuse commissions and conferences in any clime above Latitude 32 during winter. But I won’t, because I love this music life way too much. It’s worth freezing my backside off for, any day.

They are very, very lovely people in Columbus, truly. But they are a cold people. And I am about to be a cold person. If you, too, would like to join me and The Lovely and Talented Cold People, click here and read about the NOW New Music Festival and how you can shiver right along side of some really great musicians and one very appreciative, if frosty, composer.