Saturday, February 27, 2010

Low A - It's Finally Out There!


Just a quick shout out to the fantastic audience at LA City College! We performed a concert as part of a music exposure course that students are required to take there. I think it is a fantastic idea to provide students with concerts twice a week as part of their regular course work and their enthusiasm was the perfect send off for next week. David's transcriptions can be a workout in the extreme ranges, but I feel like this oboe really helped the lines to be heard over two other very loud instruments like horn and piano. 

Here are some other images from the concert:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chopin Example - "Wrong Note Etude"

Frédéric Chopin / Plylar        
 Etude in E minor, Op. 25, No. 5 
"Wrong Note Etude"

This is a small excerpt from the "Wrong Note Etude", (not its official name, but very appropriate). What I like about this particular use of the "low-A" is that it is very subtle and approachable due to the descending line. There are other uses of this pitch in the etude; you can see more of the work by visiting David's website. It's been really enjoyable putting this piece together in rehearsals though due to time constraints, we won't be doing it at tomorrow's concert. Will have to wait until we get to Colorado for its debut!

More examples to come...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Waiting. Patiently.

Exactly one week from tomorrow, my chamber group Out of Context will travel to Colorado and Montana to start our 11-day tour. This Thursday marks the oboe's official public debut (the first low-A will be performed as part of the Los Angeles City College chamber series!). 

I remember so vividly sending in my grant application last summer, with only the slightest hope that a positive response would be heading back to me in October. For as much as I want to be able to put things out of mind, I am forced to "wait patiently" like everyone else for those dreaded deadlines to arrive. Even when the good news arrived, it seemed there were so many more days to wait for; waiting for the instrument to arrive from Paris, waiting for music to be transcribed, waiting for rehearsals to begin, waiting for the oboe to be broken in, and countless more. But things are now in motion at last!

Here is a quick preview of the Out of Context public concert tour schedule. If you happen to be in the area, please come out and say hello!

Featuring New Transcriptions!

Ludwig van Beethoven/Liszt      Adelaide
Johannes Brahms                      Symphony No. 3, 3rd Mvt
Frédéric Chopin                        Etude in E minor, Op. 25, No. 5
Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns      Dance Macabre

March 3rd, 2010 ~ 7:30pm
University of Denver
Artist Series - Hamilton Hall
Denver, CO

March 5th, 2010 ~ 8:00pm
First Baptist Church of Boulder
Boulder, CO

March 8th, 2010 ~ 8:00pm
Bozeman Public Library
Bozeman, MT

March 10th, 2010 ~ 7:00pm

Littleton Historical Museum
Littleton, CO 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quick Update - 2 Months

A Quick News-Flash

Tonight marks just over two months since the low-A oboe arrived. I now feel that the oboe is broken in and have begun playing it in rehearsals and while teaching lessons. My two students this evening seemed very intrigued by the extension as we compared instrument lengths. At first, I heard the standard argument "but oboe music doesn't go down to 'A'"; I gave an abridged response to that statement. Interestingly, one student told me about a "really cool note on the oboe" that she had discovered (a standard multi-phonic) and inquired if people ever wrote music using that sound. When I replied that there certainly was literature that utilized multi-phonics and much more in terms of extended techniques, she was thrilled and wanted to hear what that music sounded like. 
I can't think of a better way to start off a lesson..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sound...Through Another Blog


This weekend I was able to assist film composer Austin Wintory with his pet-project; a joint blog with photographer Andrew Berglund, resulting in a new sound clip and photograph every day for a year. While Austin already had this excerpt prepared when he contacted me about recording it (thus it does not contain any "low-A" pitches), I was very excited to have this unique opportunity (through another blogger of all things!) to debut my oboe outside of the the apartment. Its official debut performance will happen during a performance later this month and rest assured, it will contain plenty of "low-A" action. 
It was quite rewarding to record the results of this oboe's tedious break in process and share it here. Soon I will be able to post an example of the oboe playing its full range. But for now, I wish Austin and Andrew best of luck with their project, as it is an ambitious one!

The above photograph, sound clip link and following excerpts 
are from the Blog "Allogamy" by Austin Wintory and Andrew Burgland

Some stock photo styling. Mmm mmm.

Two things behind this one. We got a 486 when I was maybe 8. Like the rest of my generation, I've been more or less dependent on the computer since then. The keyboard is, as such, a dear old friend of mine. The gel color on the flash is cerulean blue. I spent innumerable Friday nights as a child at Austin's house. We also watched The X-Files routinely. I remember that color from one episode. The specifics of the episode are lost on me, just that the color was central to the plot. So in the spirit of memory, I went with it.