It is my third evening in Austin. I have had several rehearsals with Kiyoshi Tamagawa, a superb pianist who is the other soloist in the Mendelssohn/Moscheles work that we will premiere this Saturday night. Several runs-through at the dress rehearsal tonight; the orchestra very excited and motivated. The event has been extremely well publicized; it was featured in two area newspapers, we were interviewed by Julie Moody of KUT (the NPR affiliate at the University of Texas at Austin; a feature on the project was on this morning (Friday) at 7:33 AM central time, and there are rumors of a sellout crowd. The rehearsals have been really enjoyable.
Here is a weblink to the KUT feature. I’d forgotten that the mike was on when I was talking about sacralization, so I sound a bit like a psychopath, but I suppose that’s what I’m like in class. In the photo, that’s yours-decrepitly-truly on the right—click on it for a better view.
For the rest, it’s hours of catching up with my friend Michael Cooper, someone who generates brilliant research projects (including this Mendelssohn/Moscheles) the way the rest of us generate carbon dioxide, talking to his sharp-as-a-tack students here at Southwestern University, and striving to maintain sanity. There is something about an impending performance that makes every act, every intake of breath, feel like nothing more than an upbeat preparation. Shall I get a drink? How will that affect the performance? Which tie should I choose today? Will it affect the performance? And so on. Which came first: the performance or the performance neurosis? A timeless question.
In addition to today’s two rehearsals I had a lecture and short master class, a long lunch interview with a large group of students, and plenty of chat all around. The students here are very bright and motivated—very much the traditional small liberal arts school, with lots of faculty attention and independent, motivated students. It’s a lot of fun: invigorating music-making, great conversations and conviviality (and a shout-out to the San Gabriel Bed and Breakfast, my hospitable home-away-from-home, here). I know I’m not going to feel much like teaching, or even getting out of bed, this coming week, but why worry about that now?