Time moves faster and faster every year. It’s hard to believe that 2015 is just around the corner. It’s even harder to believe that I’ve been in LA for over three years now! Here’s what’s been going on in the past few months:
ISQ wrote and performed an original score for silent film Ménilmontant (1926).
ISQ gave the U.S. Premiere of Gloria Coates’ Quartet No. 9
ISQ performed in the premiere of Gloria Coates’ chamber opera, Stolen Identity
ISQ performed our second recital at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA.
There have been lots of other things too (performing at some lovely arts fundraisers, learning and playing Elvis Costello and The Brodsky Quartet’s Juliet Letters…) but the quartet has been doing some exciting things these past few months. We have some big announcements to make in the new year and I am so excited for what the future holds. Feeling grateful to be a working musician (and teacher – have I mentioned how wonderful my students are?) in Los Angeles.
In the spirit of the season, enjoy these two holiday videos. The first is of ISQ performing an arrangement by Mike Rocha of Silver Bells and the other is a cover of Carol of the Bells by Rock Horn Project.
It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through September – it seems like just yesterday that I was in Wisconsin at fresh inc. Of course, while the rest of the country is settling into a nice fall, Los Angeles is experiencing a heat wave. Sigh.
Lots has happened since the end of summer. I recently spent a weekend rehearsing and recording in San Diego for Christopher Adler’s violin concerto, written for Sarah Plum. Great piece, great musicians. A group of us split a hotel room in SD (why drive back and forth from LA when you can have a slumber party?) and made a weekend out of it. Long days, but lots of fun.
In other news, there are a lot of exciting things coming up this fall, including a performance for ISQ in the world premiere of Gloria Coates’ chamber opera, Stolen Identity, at REDCAT in November. I’ll also be playing in two performances of The Juliet Letters, Elvis Costello’s album with the Brodsky Quartet, at RIOTstage in Long Beach. For more info and more performances, check out the performance page.
It was a very long day, but also super rewarding. Plus, we had Tender Greens for lunch and that makes for a life-affirming and super delicious power lunch indeed! My favorite of the arrangements are probably All of Me and Laura, which really came together for me for the first time yesterday while recording. Also, shoutout to my dad who loves Laura (the film) so he’ll probably love our recording from yesterday. Mike wrote some really beautiful and classy arrangements of these famous tunes and we’re so excited to be able to use these at gigs. It’s so hard to find good gig music that isn’t completely corny or lame. These arrangements are a real blessing for us and we’re so lucky to work with Mike on them. Also, having Miguel sit in for Alessandra (who was unable to play with us on this – we missed her!) was great. He’s an incredible player and person and I learned so much from him in our rehearsals and the session. Also, apparently EastWest Studios is a SUPER historic place! I had no idea. We were in Studio C, where The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds (what?!) and The Mamas and The Papas recorded California Dreaming, not to mention the other incredible artists who recorded in the very same room as us (Blondie was mentioned!!). Wow. So much history in those walls…
Also, there was an amazing chair in the studio lounge that was shaped kind of like an egg. It was a really magical chair. Here are a couple pictures from the day. For more, check out the Isaura facebook page.
Since coming back to LA, I’ve been hard at work with Isaura String Quartet ladies. We’ve ordered business cards, updated our website, made a facebook page…it feels great to have everything updated and looking great.
If you want to keep up with ISQ on all of our various social media outlets, here are the important details:
and don’t forget about our website, which is shiny and new, with new posts and sounds. In fact, we now have two live recordings available for your listening curiosity and pleasure, as well as a video from our concert in April 2014. Plus, we’re updating our “news” section (aka BLOG!!) more and more frequently (summer mixtapes, anyone? coming soon…).
I just finished up two weeks of June in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a participant in Fifth House Ensemble’sfresh inc fest. What an amazing festival experience…the focus was not only on rehearsing and giving great chamber music performances, but on all of the business and entrepreneurial aspects of running your own ensemble. We had workshops with members of Fifth House, as well as presentations by Sugar Vendil (of the Nouveau Classical Project) and Kevin Clark (of New Music USA). At the end of the festival, I felt completely re-energized, even though we had almost every hour of every day booked with rehearsals and presentations. The collaborative atmosphere was inspiring and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the members of fresh inc 2014 can work together in the future to create amazing projects. I’m missing my fresh inc family already! I’m also getting so excited to return to LA (spending a quick week back east to see my family) and start planning a new season with Isaura String Quartet. We have lots of ideas brewing. Keep an eye here for some more pictures and recordings from fresh inc.
And one last thing – the final Elemental Strings concert of the year (back in May) was so thrilling. I am exceedingly proud of the Prelude students, who played a very advanced piece, and of my chamber music students, who really began to understand some of the foundations of playing in a small ensemble. Also, our third unit of ES allows each coach to give a special presentation. For my presentation, students listened to and looked at non-traditional notation. After having their minds blown (“this is music?!), the students broke into groups to create their own graphic scores. Then each group played another group’s score. It was thrilling to see them explain why they made certain sounds for the symbols drawn on the poster board. I am quite looking forward to the start of next year’s season. Teaching is exhausting, but so rewarding. xx