Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Iowa rest stop, concert in Washington (IA)

We were stopped at a gas station along the road in Iowa. Donna returned from a trip to the restroom and informed us "The ladies' room is out of order. I used the mens'. Men are nasty." A few minutes later Ryan returned to the car from a similar mission, laughing out loud but horrified. Apparently not all men are that nasty.

This evening we played in Washington, IA. In every concert I play there are some passages that I am happy with and others that I wish I had played better. I guess as artists we are always reaching for ideals, often ideals we can't quite describe in words, ideals that change from night to night. It would be boring to play many concerts if we felt that any one of them was completely perfect with nothing left to work on or to try a different way.

All the same, it was really special for me when one of our audience members this evening told me that ours was the best concert she had ever been to.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ryan is...

...more than just our driver. So far, road manager, sound technician, lighting technician, stage manager, cd salesman, luggage handler, tour guide, expert on the Spam Museum, GPS, weatherman, morale booster, culinary advisor, movie critic, "gofer", and damage control all apply, and we met him yesterday!

On the road...

Check out our driver for the next few weeks (on left) -- Ryan Julien. He's pretty easy going...he'd better be to put up with us! He even lets us photograph him at 9am. Hehe. The Claremont Mobile (shall we call it that?) is a mini-van, with its back row taken out to fit all our stuff (and there's a LOT of it), plus Cello Bruskin, of course! (By the way, we're welcoming any suggestions for a name for this van.)

Picture on the right: headed for Albert Lea, MN

Albert Lea, MN

Today we played the first concert of our Allied Concert Services tour, which will last until March 3. When I first told a friend about our "Allied tour", he said it sounded like some kind of wartime alliance, and asked if we were going up against the Axis powers!

But no...actually Allied Concert Services is a really neat organization that schedules road-trip style tours across the US focusing on communities that are underserved in the arts. It is a family business run by John Folin and his sons, Paul and David. We're really excited to be a part of this mission.

I must admit that when we first received our Allied tour schedule, we were a bit intimidated by the sheer length and number of concerts (normally we take much shorter trips of 3-5 days where we play a couple of concerts and then go home). It is going to be really hard to be away from my boyfriend for that long (Hi Aaron!) But I'm also excited about the opportunity to perform so many times, to see so much of the country, and to do the closest thing to a musical marathon.


I do think I win the prize for the biggest suitcase out of the three of us! But Em and Donna both did bring two suitcases instead of my one, so the comparison is not really fair ;-) However, sadly, I also win the prize for most forgotten items....

Aaaannnd...we're off!

Well, here we are, the first day of our tour with Allied Concert Services. Flew into Minneapolis from New York earlier today and what did we do? Checked out the Mall of America, of course! :) Our hotel is conveniently located across the street from the mall (I swear, we did not plan this). Anyhow, quite a sight to see an indoor amusement park, complete with carousel and underwater aquarium.

One of the great things about travelling is we get to see old friends who are no longer living close by. I reconnected with an old friend from my Juilliard days, Sarah, who moved to Minneapolis after she graduated from Juilliard. It was great to share stories with her over sushi (Claremont Trio loves sushi, by the way), as well as meet her husband!

By the way, I am convinced I am incapable of packing lightly for trips over 2 weeks long! :) Have you ever tried wheeling two suitcases at once? Incredibly awkward and very, very clumsy! I must have been quite a sight today. :P

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What's it like when you do get to Carnegie Hall?

Last night we played Carnegie... always a sure bet for a major adrenaline high. Performing there does make me nervous (people passed up the Berlin Phil next door to come hear us!), but it's also a treat because our hometown audiences are full of friends and family. My friends get pretty tired of hearing me say "I'm out of town again", so it's nice to get to show them what it is I'm constantly running off to do. It's also really special for me to play for some of my former teachers. I'm proud of the progress our group has made.

Playing at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall brings back memories for me of the time we spent here in 2001 at Isaac Stern's final Chamber Music Workshops. Mr. Stern wasn't satisfied with the traditional educational model of a single master teacher passing wisdom down to students. In his workshops, ensembles worked with 3 teachers at once and learned first hand that even the experts disagree: there are many different convincing ways of approaching the same piece of music. I'll never forget walking off stage after our opening day performance and looking up to see Mr. Stern grinning at me.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

They do sell toothpaste in South Dakota, don't they?

People always used to tell me that the more I travelled, the lighter I would pack. Well, it hasn't happened. In fact, for me, the opposite is true. The more I travel, the more I realize I'm just happier on the road if I have all of my stuff. And some more stuff... just in case. And plenty of food... just in case. (The Claremont Trio gets grouchy when it is hungry.)

So we're all trying to get ready to leave on our longest trio trip ever (leave Saturday, 1/28, return in March), and I'm finding myself tempted to buy out the entire stock of Rite Aid, just in case. Drug stores are like bags of chips: betcha can't buy just one thing.

Interview on WKCR

Today, we'll be on air for an interview from 3pm-6pm on Columbia University's WKCR with Eugene Sit as host. Check it out on 89.9FM NY! You'll hear us talk (yes -- we can talk as well as play!) about the trio, life on the road, the concert at Carnegie tomorrow, and more!

Claremont Trio at Weill Hall

Hey, friends! You are all invited to come hear us play at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 27, 2006) at 7:30pm. The program will include works by Beethoven, Paul Schoenfield and Mendelssohn -- all great stuff!

More info at http://carnegiehall.org/article/box_office/events/evt_6383.html?selecteddate=01272006

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

San Antonio,TX and Little Rock, AR

So, today we came home from a short trip during which we played for the Chamber Music Societies of San Antonio, TX and Little Rock, AR.

San Antonio is a really nice city - we remembered it fondly from a trip a couple of years ago and we were sad not to have time to go back to our favorite Riverwalk sushi joint - Sushi Zushi. The trip was not without culinary adventures though (Claremont trips never are) and we encountered waffles in the shape of Texas at our hotel breakfast buffet.....

The concert, held at Temple Beth-El, was a bit of a nail biter as the piano did not arrive until 3 hours before the performance was scheduled to begin! But it did eventually show up, as did a very helpful crew and a tuner, and all went off without a hitch from then on.

In Little Rock, Don Barnes took us for a delicious meal at Brave New Restaurant (very yummy fish and duck) with views of the river, and then for a late night driving tour including the beautiful new Clinton Library and Parks which are pretty spectacular. The next day we did a school presentation for a group of high school music students at the Park View Magnet high school - they renewed our faith that not all high schoolers are too cool to get excited about music! And the concert that evening at St. Marks Episcopal church was fun and was apparently their biggest crowd in years - always good to hear.

As for the trip home today, no complaints as we got home earlier than expected by going standby. While Donna was sweet-talking the agent into putting us on the earlier flight, she took our i.d.'s to reissue the tickets, and seeing 4 reservations and only 3 drivers licenses, asked, "How old is Cello?" Well, m'am, Cello Bruskin is 157 years old and still in good health ;-) Going through security a man looked strangely at my cello case and asked, "Are you a gangster or a musician?"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Welcome to our Blog

A lot of people ask us what it's like to be on tour. Often it's a lot of fun, but sometimes its not quite as glamorous as it sounds... We thought it would be fun to keep a diary of some of the ups and downs of life on the road and share it with all of you. We welcome any questions and comments. :) Enjoy!