Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Unique Rehearsal

Often, we rehearse onstage at the concert venues, but occasionally, a busy venue is not available to us so our very accommodating presenters find us alternate rehearsal spaces. Most do not have views like this, however:

This was a photo taken from the window of a private home in La Jolla, CA. We were wondering why we felt so, well, HAPPY, to be there. Here's another look out the window:

Check out the room:

Too cool. Sadly, my apartment (Claremont Trio rehearsal space) is not quite as exciting and exotic as this. Perhaps it's time for me to consider some redecorating. Or relocating.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beethoven Triple Concerto

It is always exciting to play Beethoven's Triple Concerto, particularly for the cellist! The work is beautiful, but infamously difficult for the cellist. I am always jealous because Julie gets the spotlight so often, but, hey, Beethoven wrote 5 concertos for the piano and none for the cello. I can live with that! Here is Julie warming up for our recent appearance with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra:

Ugh. Why is it so hard?
There. There! I hit it. -- Julie nails it every time!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Faces and Names

One of the great perks of our travels is that we meet lots of people. However, I am awful at remembering names with their faces. As a result, it came as no surprise to me when a lovely Asian couple approached me after our recent performance in Augusta, GA and I thought to myself, "They sure look familiar!"

My next thought was, "“Uh-oh, what are their names and how do I know them?"”

At this point in such situations, I usually have to make a decision: do I smile and pretend to know these people, or should I come right out and ask them who they are (in a charming manner)? In this scenario, I chose the latter.

"“I'm sorry, you look very familiar, but how do I know you?"

The woman smiled at me gratefully. "“I'’m so glad you said that! I wasn'’t sure if you'd remember me!"

Whew. Saved from looking like a complete idiot, I eagerly awaited her response. Was it a concert elsewhere? I racked my brain furiously. She teased me a bit as she paused and peered at me expectantly. I was not about to start guessing because I hate guessing games (and am terrible at them).

"“Your father and I are first cousins. You stayed with my brother and me in Toronto when you were very young. I'’m Sandy!"”

Whoa. This was not what I had expected. She is my second-cousin? Wow. Aside from my aunt and uncle in Atlanta, I was not aware I had more relatives living in Georgia! This was totally unexpected and caught me off guard, as I had expected her to say that we had met at a concert in a different city. I was pretty excited to see her and her husband, Joe, at my concert, as I do not have a lot of relatives in North America. As it turned out, Sandy remembered my name (I certainly look different from when she last saw me, when I was about eight years old) and saw it in some publicity materials for the concert. I guess she decided to surprise me and show up at the concert!

When I later spoke to my father (actually, instant messaging him on Skype -- a wonderful program, by the way), he hadn'’t even known that his cousin Sandy had moved to Georgia! He was quite delighted to hear about my encounter with her.

I guess an additional bonus to all our traveling can lead to surprise meetings with long-lost relatives!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In the Car

It can be a challenge fitting Donna, Julie, Emily, Cello Bruskin, Violin Bruskin, (but not Piano Kwong), and all of our suitcases into cars. When we rent, "full size" generally does the trick and, thanks to Donna's husband Kai Yu's awesome IBM corporate rates (extended, oh-so-generously to spouses), we get them relatively cheaply.

Here are the senior citizens (211 and 158 years old) riding in style...

Wednesday, October 4, 2006


Last weekend we played at Clemson University in South Carolina where we really enjoyed the southern hospitality and the warm weather! After a morning presentation for hundreds of school kids, we had a wonderful lunch outside on the terrace with Lillian Harder who runs the series and her assistant, Theresa Peppel. We were glad to find that they share our love of sweets!

That night at our main concert we had the third largest audience that the series has ever had! This sign may have helped :-) We were thrilled about that and came out to the lobby after the concert to greet folks and sign some of our cds. We also did a short radio interview as you can see here - check out that furry microphone!

Lillian started this totally free chamber music series with her husband and we were honored to be able to open the 20th anniversary season.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A Concertino for Cellphones and Orchestra

"Ladies & gentlemen, please turn on your cellphones."

What?! Is this reverse psychology? No, apparently not, according to a recent article in the New York Times. This new work by David N. Baker, a composer and professor of music at Indiana University was premiered last weekend by the Chicago Sinfonietta. A Concertino for Cellular Phones and Symphony Orchestra! This caught my attention and I was increasingly intrigued as I read on.

Apparently, this work not only involves cellular phone -- you guessed it -- ring tones, but audience participation! A light device instructs the specific sections of audience members when to activate their ringtones at different points in the piece.

You can read on about this interesting work here.

An interesting concept. I am very curious to hear this work, preferably live, so I can participate! Too gimmicky? You decide, but it is certainly making a statement about modern society and its sounds. It also makes the concert-going experience more exciting for people. A new meaning to "audience participation" indeed!