Monday, December 16, 2013

Meaningful Music

In November, I completed my final graduate recital. The program included:

Bach: Flute Partita in A minor
Richardson: French Suite
Bakaleinikoff: Elegy
Ewazen: Oboe Concerto No. 2, “Hold Fast Your Dreams”

It was a challenging program, especially because it was difficult (or flat out impossible) to find good recordings of these pieces. This meant that I had to work a lot harder to learn the repertoire, but I really enjoyed all of these pieces and I was really looking forward to sharing them with my audience.

The piece that I was most excited for was the Ewazen. I think that all musicians have a composition that is very dear to their heart, and the second Ewazen concerto is mine.

Two summers ago, in 2011, I first heard Linda Strommen play this piece during a recital at Interlochen as part of the Advanced Oboe Institute. I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to perform it myself, but it had not yet been published.

The following summer, in 2012, I again heard Linda Strommen play this concerto, this time during the faculty recital at the John Mack Oboe Camp. Hearing the piece again only confirmed my desire to play it, even though it still had not been published.

When the piece was finally available for purchase in 2013, I jumped on the opportunity. That summer, I was also fortunate enough to meet Eric Ewazen when he came to Interlochen to work with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra as they prepared to perform his Triple Trombone Concerto.

Although I had instantly fallen in love with the piece, it had become even more special to me over the years. It reminded me of Linda Strommen, who has always been an incredible inspiration to me, and of the John Mack Oboe Camp, where I have learned a lot over the years. It reminded me of my first summer at Interlochen, when I was new to the music library field, and of my last summer at Interlochen, when I worked with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra -- a group that will always be very, very special to me.

This piece reminded me of the things I love most, and represented the things that have helped me most to grow. I first heard this piece when I was just starting to think about what I wanted to do with my life. Two years and many memories later, I performed it, having chosen a direction and knowing that I was truly capable of accomplishing it. It's been an incredible journey, and I couldn't think of a better end to my final graduate recital.

What piece is very special to you? Share in the comments!