I should remind myself not to look at social media right after an appalling tragedy, because reading the same meaningless platitudes (“thoughts and prayers”) again and again makes me feel so hopeless and powerless and enraged. But for me, a day without social media is like a day without oxygen, so of course I looked.Continue reading “We’ve still got music”
Bach’s six suites for solo cello have been a major research area of mine for a long time now. After much reflection, I’ve decided to play my first ever marathon concert of all six suites in the upcoming Idaho Bach Festival.Continue reading “The next chapter: Bach on five strings”
Many years ago, I attended a summer chamber music school whose faculty were top international artists. During one of the daily masterclasses, a young piano trio performed the Brahms C major op. 87. The piece has its difficulties, and every time the players got through one of the tricky spots, they would look up from their scores and grin broadly at each other.
After they’d finished, a couple of the faculty yelled at them. They said it was not appropriate to pull those wild grinning faces, that it was unprofessional, that it detracted from the music.Continue reading “To smile, or not to smile?”
Harvard University’s music department recently caused some controversy in academic music circles with a plan to change their undergraduate curriculum in a way that eliminated certain core theory requirements and included some previously neglected topics such as world musics and pop.Continue reading ““Canon-Splaining”: Harvard’s Curriculum Change and the Formerly Sacred Cows of Academic Music”
I was delighted to read the following review from Stringendo. It’s not often that your book gets a review almost two years after publication, so I was pretty happy.Continue reading “Review of Cello Practice, Cello Performance from Stringendo“
This morning I read a Strad interview with the violist Kim Kashkashian about things she’d like to tell her younger self, and was very taken with her assertion that we should “remove the personal and concentrate on the music.”Continue reading “Masterclasses: personal vs. musical?”
A student and I were discussing stage fright, one of my favourite subjects. “This might sound like a silly question,” she said, “but where are you supposed to look when you perform?”Continue reading “Show up, look at the camera, face the music”
Under normal circumstances, musicians don’t have much political power.
We don’t like to admit this, because we want to be the “critic and conscience of society.” In the face of oppression, we want to speak the truth fearlessly, like Pete Seeger. Or fearfully, like Shostakovich.Continue reading “When money can’t buy music”
I recently came across this ca. 1617 painting of St. Cecilia playing the viol by Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), known as Domenichino for his small stature. The picture struck me for a number of reasons.Continue reading “What we did before AirTurn and PageFlip”
There exist a number of websites for complaining professors. OK, everyone needs to vent sometimes: goodness knows professors have the right to be a bit peeved about low pay, budget cuts, departmental skulduggery and so on. Whether the internet is an appropriate forum for such complaints is another matter; I figure they’re grown-ups and if they want to put themselves out there for public scrutiny and possible damage to their careers, that’s their business.Continue reading “A different three Rs”