You want me to play with HOW many people?? WHEN is our next rehearsal???
A pianist’s perspective on chamber music.
You’re probably wondering what a pianist is doing blogging on Aspen Winds! Much less a pianist you’ve never heard of and don’t know, but I hope that all changes on May 8th though!
I met Amy Gabbitas this past summer when she graciously invited two clarinet students from Las Vegas Academy whom I was playing with to perform the famous Brahms Clarinet Trio, Op. 114 at their Summer Chamber Music Festival. Several months pass and Amy calls me out of the blue in December to see if I was interested in playing with Aspen Winds at Gallivan Center. Hmmm, let me think-YES!
My name is Ruby and this is the first year I have not been a full time student in 7 years! I had a rather late start in chamber music, but better late than never, right? I was fully immersed in chamber music during my Master’s program at the Manhattan School of Music. The chamber program consisted of weekly coachings with a member of the famed American String Quartet, which required your group to rehearse at 2-3 times a week. It was a hectic schedule, but our group had the opportunity to bond (I admit rehearsals did not always involve playing!) and our pieces were polished to a “T” because we spent an entire semester or more on it. I learned a lot and received a lot of tips about playing chamber music during this time, but what they do not tell you in school is that it is not possible to rehearse multiple times a week! Here enters my current dilemma:
1) The largest group I have been a part of is a quartet. The piece being featured on May 8th is the Poulenc sextet. (If you are not familiar with this piece, sign up to receive a newsletter on http://www.aspenwinds.org for performance updates!) I was nothing short of a puppy trying to play with all of his toys at once during last week’s first run-through of the Poulenc.
2) Every member of Aspen Winds leads incredibly busy lives with teaching and free-lancing while raising kids and making time for their family. I am truly amazed by each person and their ability to juggle it all successfully! But this all makes rehearsals rare and treasured.
Our next rehearsal is not for another 2 weeks, by which time we would only be a mere 2 weeks away from our performance…I think it’s time to put the rehearsal tips I learned to good use!
So here is what I’m doing on this rainy Sunday afternoon:
1) Listen to a recording of the Poulenc Sextet and just enjoy it.
2) Listen and follow the flute score.
3) Repeat step 2 with oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn.
4) Listen and follow my score.
6) Repeat steps 1 through 5.
I can’t think of a better way to spend my Sunday. See you all on May 8th!