The past Thursday through Sunday I went to Quebec City for the first time to take a little bit of a holiday as well as to go along with Lisa to the American Musicological Society’s National Conference. The last time I was in Canada was maybe six years ago for a weekend trip to Montreal, back when I was living in New York; I remember having had a good time and was quite looking forward to this trip.
Of the city itself, I had two opportunities to walk around the city. The first was on my own on a particularly beautiful morning: the light was clear and vibrant in the cool air, the colors of leaves were rich for the Autumn changes, and the quietness of the city of refreshing. Walking around the old town I remember walking down one street that reminded me very much of when I used to walk down Polk Street to get to work in San Francisco and as you went North and got over the hills and started to walk down towards the water, on a sunny day you would be greeted by just the most wonderful sight of the bay. The image in Quebec looking down this street had a similar feel, and although instead of the bay one saw more city, it was still nice to have been reminded of my San Francisco experiences and to have a familiar experience nonetheless.
The second time I went to explore the city with Lisa it was a very solid gray, windy, and cold out. It certainly showed the city in quite literally a very different light. The old town felt like a nice place to see and visit but not one where one would live in if one were to live in the area. Lisa and I did have a nice meal at a creperie that day, and it was nice just to be walking around with her and to spend time together there away from the conference.
As for the conference, I did attend a few of the sessions and found I had a very different impression from this conference than the one we went to in Seattle a few years back. I found a number of the papers to be quite interesting, especially the ones on Ligeti and Stravinsky. The one Stravinsky paper discussing finding a very strong numerical relationship between the intervallic structure of chords and the rhythmic structure in the Rite of Spring was really quite exciting and probably the paper that most left an impression on me; I will certainly be looking forward to finding time to go through the score to the Rite of Spring when I have a chance!
More than anything it was quite nice to see friends and acquaintances I have met through Lisa over the years. It’s really great to think back and see how everyone’s careers have developed, from their concerns over their dissertations, to publishing, tenure, and building families. I am sure it will be nice to continue to see everyone as time goes by and to see how life unfolds for us all.
Overall it was an excellent trip for both visiting a lovely city and for being around a very good conference. I will be looking forward to both when next I’ll be able to visit Canada and to the next AMS I’ll have a chance to be around (which will most likely be next year’s in Nashville!).
One last note: I did manage to go and try the three things which I had heard quite a bit about: poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curds), sugar pie (tarte au sucre) and Tim Horton’s (coffee, sandwich, and Canadian Maple doughnut). I can say that I enjoyed all three as much as I thought I would! ^_^