This blog has been silent for some time but not for lack of things going on!
I rang in the New Year at the house of dear friends Matt and Anabel of Apollo Chamber Players. A few days later, La Speranza performed at Houston Methodist for the first time on the Crain Garden series with a program of clarinet quartets by Crusell and Mozart with Thomas Carroll. I had the privilege of performing with Kathleen Winkler, distinguished violin professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice, my alma mater, in Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 1 in b minor. La Speranza also became fiscally sponsored by Fresh Arts, a local 501c3 arts organization. At the end of the month, Joanna Becker, wonderful violinist and friend, and I put on a winter recital for our studios at the home of our great friend and pianist extraordinaire Andrew Schneider.
I traveled to Los Angeles in February to play with Kaleidoscope which was a fun experience! When we weren’t rehearsing, the other musicians from Houston and I explored the Getty Museum and other attractions. It was great to see friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while.
The main event in March was La Speranza’s concert at Christ the King Presbyterian Church at the end of the month. We added a string trio by Wranitzky and Hummel’s clarinet quartet to our clarinet quartet by Crusell. I’m thrilled to work with such fine musicians and amazing colleagues, and we had a blast putting this program together.
I also traveled to Boston a few weeks prior to play a Romantic-era program with piano and clarinet with Thomas and his friend Jonathan.
Another highlight in March was the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. During a Mercury week, two of my colleagues who’d never been to a rodeo before came along with me!
April is usually a busy month and this year was no different. Rehearsals for Houston Grand Opera’s Gotterdammerung were in full swing along with concerts and school shows with Mercury, outreach performances with Houston Early Music and an active teaching schedule. For those who don’t know, Gotterdammerung, the last opera of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, is nearly 6 hours long. The violas have the longest book at 96 pages!
Our last performance was May 7, and on May 8 (also my birthday), I treated myself to a massage. I would need it preemptively for the week I was about to have! La Speranza’s debut at the Memorial Classical Music Series (featuring Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet) was on May 12 amidst a trial week (audition included) for principal viola of Mercury for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem on May 13.
The following weekend, I played in my first Groupmuse concert with Jessica Chu, flute, and Naomi Hoffmeyer, harp. We had a wonderful time putting together a diverse program of Debussy, Mathias, and Bax for an equally diverse and appreciative audience. My six viola students at Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts played beautifully in their end-of-year recital that day as well, accompanied expertly by Andrew Schneider.
Earlier in May, I worked with Dr. Stephen Incavo, orthopedic surgeon and clarinetist, and Charlie Tauber in a performance of Mozart and Beethoven clarinet trios in the lobby of Houston Methodist in another appearance on the Crain Garden series.
In June, I had the privilege of watching one of my best friends from childhood tie the knot with his high school sweetheart. Our trio from high school, pictured below, was reunited for an evening! Afterwards, I spent some time in Boston visiting Thomas and attending the Boston Early Music Festival! Patrick Merrill, the pianist in my trio from high school, is also a world-class harpsichordist and gave a recital at the festival. It was so great to hear him play again.
Our high school clarinet-viola-piano trio was reunited!
In addition to these highlights, I subbed regularly with the Axiom Quartet at their weekly appearances through Harmony in the Air, a program that brings music every weekday to both Hobby and Bush airports. In the 2016-2017 school year I taught six students at Tallowood Academy of Fine Art and five students through the Houston Youth Symphony’s MELODY program on Thursdays. I also was a core member of Mercury, and I was featured in “Early to Rise”, an article in the May 2017 issue of Early Music America’s EMag.
Part 2 coming soon!