Nixon in China in Toronto

Lisa and I just saw a performance of Nixon in China by the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto: Amazing!  The performance as a whole was very strong, with the stand out moments being:

  • Madame Mao’s Aria at the end of the 2nd act – Marisol Montalvo’s performance was stunning, and I think for me the most enraptured moment of the night
  • The ensemble singing of the 3rd act – stunning precision and clarity by Madame Mao’s and Pat Nixon’s characters
  • Pat Nixon’s scenes in the 2nd act – Maria Kanyova performed it beautifully in singing and acting, a wonderful scene
  • Chou En-Lai’s aria in the 3rd act – Chen Ye-Yuan‘s singing was impressive throughout, with this precious meditation being extremely memorable

I really loved the staging of this opera with its period footage from Nixon’s visit via the use of televisions, the lighting, costumes, etc.  It really reminded me of the many wonderful productions of operas I saw in San Francisco during Pamela Rosenberg’s tenure there. Just perfect.

This was our first time attending a performance at the Four Seasons Centre and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I loved the hall’s design throughout, and really enjoyed the intimacy of the smaller stage and hall.  I will be looking forward to the next time I have a chance to attend a performance here!

Farewell Henryk Gorecki

I woke up this morning to read the sad news that Gorecki has passed away (NYTimes Article). I remember when Symphony No.3 became extremely popular in the 90’s and having quite a fantastic experience listening to it while driving down Riverside Drive on my way back to school.  A beautiful day, listening to the 1st movement at full volume, driving through fall colors…

I had read a book on Gorecki around that time, and it was his description of going to his composition lessons on a train and seeing the Polish countryside that originally seeded the desire to visit Poland. A few years later I managed to make my first trip to Poland, staying on my own for seven weeks in Krakow, one of the most fruitful experiences in my life.

I also remember an amazing concert of Miserere at the Warsaw Autumn in 2006.  In a church in Nowy Miasto, I remember an issue that they wouldn’t be singing it but then they ended up doing so and it was just wonderful.  The acoustics of the room with the delay of the sounds that came strongly from up above was excellent.

I am sad to hear Gorecki has passed away.  I have and continue to enjoy his music from his avant-garde days to today, and will I know I will continue to listen and think about his music and his life well into the future.

Birds in the Sky

I watched a group of birds flying high up in the sky and for a brief moment I felt free from all my burdens. The sky is a rich hue of blue and without a cloud in sight. The light is full though the day is cold and winter will soon be here.

The moment was certainly a gift, as was the morning’s brief meditation. I felt–if even for just a few moments–again connected with both a part of my self and with the world. I will be thinking about these moments throughout the day.

The Audio Programming Book – Ed. Boulanger, Lazzarini

I was very excited to hear today that “The Audio Programming Book” edited by Richard Boulanger and Victor Lazzarini is now available for pre-order!

This book has certainly been a long time in the making, and I’m very proud to have been a contributor of two chapters (one in print, “Modeling Orchestral Composition”, and one on the DVD, “Developing Music Software Interfaces”).  I also would like to thank Dr. B and Victor for their amazing work as editors, as well as the other authors for contributing such wonderful material.  I am excited that the book will be available soon and hope that the contributions I made as well as those of my fellow contributors help out those working to understand and get into audio programming!

Tai Chi Camp 2010

Today we completed yet another amazing Tai Chi camp with our teacher Lenzie Williams at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, CA.  Now that we live across the country, I think I noticed the golden hills of California even more this year.  The ranch was extremely beautiful.

I found myself a bit drained going into this year’s camp.  The work we did at camp and the fellowship amongst such wonderful Tai Chi practitioners was absolutely rejuvenating.  I certainly feel much more receptive and curious as well as inspired, and look forward to taking this wonderful energy forward into my daily life back in Rochester.

The Tai Chi work was also excellent.  It is always amazing to get to study with Lenzie and this camp was as fruitful as ever.  I enjoyed being able to focus on Tai Chi this week and hope to take the many experiences and things and keep going with them.

I’m extremely happy to have gotten to see my old Tai Chi family and meet new members of the family too.  I will value the memories from the past week and and look forward to seeing how life unfolds ahead!

A Peaceful Morning Walk

This morning I awoke with the brilliant light of the sun coming through the window.  It was strange to see such bright light as it it has been quite some time since I last remember experiencing it like this.  I think I will always associate this kind of intense sun and deeply rich blue skies with California…

Out of coffee at home, I walked across the street and picked up a coffee and sat outside briefly just to sit and take in the sun. The temperature was cool but refreshing and paired nicely with the warm light.  Wanting to move a little bit before having to start work, I decided to take a small, slow walk around the block before returning home to start my work day.

Walking slowly, the gentle breeze was a stark contrast to the gusting winds of the weekend.  The leaves and the grass were a a vivid green.  It was very a very peaceful morning walk.

Life as of Late

I have been thinking that lately I have not been satisfied with my job. The work is fine but there are a few people who have become very difficult to work with and I find myself becoming too often frustrated and upset over it all. I simply do not like to be this way. The cycles of frustration and acceptance have certainly gotten old, and most evenings as of late I’ve found myself with little energy or desire to work on more meaningful things (music and other personal projects).

Yesterday I heard sad news that my good friend’s father passed away in his sleep. It was a bit of a shock as I had known his father and remember him quite fondly as good humored and loving person…

I know my situation with work could be better, that I could not get so upset and just let things go, but when it goes in circles it is exhausting. I had already thought that my energies would be better spent focused again on music and other meaningful endeavors. Thinking of my friend’s father’s passing has only highlighted how quick life seems to go by, as well as how uninterested I have become in my daily job life as of late.

For now I have some pressing editing work to do with the Csound Journal. I hope in some ways that working on that and moving on back to other work on my software “blue” will help me to refocus and regain some perspective. I will certainly need to work on not allowing my job to get the better of me.

Time goes by slowly here in Rochester, and I am starting to feel time slowly wearing on me. I feel a sense that I need to make changes in my daily life. Reading poetry and taking walks while listening to Feldman has been exceptional as of late, and I am sure it will become clear soon what I should do next and how I can make the changes to become satisfied once again with my working day.

Reminiscences

Completed: 2010.03.04
Duration: 5:20
Ensemble: Electronic (blue, Csound)

MP3: Click Here
OGG: Click Here
Project Files – Click here (.blue, .csd)

This piece was premiered on March 8, 2010, at the Bohlen-Pierce Symposium in Boston, MA.

Program Notes

I often find myself lost in reminiscences of the past, observing not only the the memories themselves but also the experience of remembering those times. I am fascinated by how the happenings of today become the memories of tomorrow, how the passage of time transforms these memories, and how our relationships to these life events change as time passes.  This piece is but a small meditation on the journeys within the times of our lives.

This piece was composed using the equal-tempered version of the Bohlen-Pierce Scale.

For more information about the Bohlen-Pierce Symposium and scale:

thoughts and experiences