I must say it was rather anti-climactic: the tenure submission portfolio was completed. After years of mental and professional preparation and months of writing, editing, vetting and re-writing, my 517-page portfolio was complete! The four 3-inch binders of programs, press articles and reviews could have served as bench pressing weights, and the written documents on my vision as an artist, philosophies on teaching, advising and volunteerism felt like I was writing a thesis, only the subject was myself (face palm). When I finally hit the “submit” button for the very last document for the last time, I thought it would have felt more glorious and that perhaps a ticker-tape parade might have spontaneously erupted in the Delta Sky Club where I sat to submit the final docs…but alas, no such luck. However, I am fortunate to have something even better: a few rare pockets of vacation time to spend with dear friends and family in-between summer touring. What better way to celebrate?
I last left this blog post shortly after Cornell’s 2017 graduation ceremonies and since then, life has been rich with experiences and full of travels and touring. From hot and sweaty summer days in New York to epic thunderstorms in New Hampshire, warm morning jogs in D.C., sunshine and ice cream in Virginia, cool daytime hikes and stunning waterfalls in Ithaca to the breezy Berkeley Bay, my suitcase has gotten a fantastic workout this last two months.
As soon as I got back to the City I jumped into one of the coolest touring endeavors ever – Yellow Barn’s Music Haul. The brainchild of director Seth Knopp, Music Haul is a concert-series-meets-food-truck idea where a converted commercial truck converts into a stage to present mobile concerts to street and park crowds throughout the country. It was a thrill to be a part of the truck’s maiden voyage to NYC with performances of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, Jay Treuting’s Oblique Music and Robert Mann’s Invocation with other YB alums on the streets of Brooklyn and at Union Square. The JACK Quartet, Gil Kalish and SO Percussion were just a few of the amazing artists with whom we shared the stage.
Early June brought the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota’s season finale with the great jazz pianist Kenny Werner; I put my rather rusty jazz chops to the test with some of his beautiful original compositions and a couple of old standards. What a joy it was to explore taking solos and comping with such a legend. After a crazy cool project with Lembit Beecher in Washington, D.C. preparing his chamber opera Sophia’s Forest which will receive its complete premiere in Philly this coming September, the quartet headed to Avaloch Farm for a 10-day residency of preparations for our exciting season ahead. On the docket was putting on the burner Beethoven Harp, Steve Reich Different Trains, Gubaidulina’s fourth quartet, Haydn Op. 20/2 alongside admin meetings, calendar discussions, and workshops on keeping our sisterhood healthy and strong.
From there it was back to Ithaca to climb into the rabbit hole of tenure preparation. My oh-too-giddy reunion with my architect’s rotary paper cutter brought me back to my arts and crafts days, taking out staples of programs and playbills and trimming newspaper clippings for the performance dossier. After six readers and countless drafts, the personal statement, extended CV and dossier overview documents were ready for submission, and from here on out, it’s just a waiting game while my file climbs the 7 rungs of Ivy evaluation…fingers crossed, I’ll share the news when June 2018 arrives!
A quick celebratory weekend followed with a visit to see my dearest Ieva and her incredible daughter (and my BFF, of course) Alma. Together with Chris (husband and papa) we packed boxes for their upcoming move, visited their gorgeous community pool, and had a Maryland crab feast! As I returned to NYC for a night, I repacked my bags for a 2-week tour out to Berkeley where I was teaching and performing at a fantastic festival/workshop at the Crowden Music Center. Working with the students there is one of the highlights of my year, and director Eugene Sor brings together a collection of esteemed faculty who also happen to be fabulous human beings that it makes for two of the most joyful and rewarding weeks of the season.
With a quick 2-day jaunt to LA in-between our weeks at Crowden to see my aunt, uncle and help with my beautiful cousin Yoonie’s wedding, was made complete with a trip to pay respects to my grandparents. After the invitations, thank-you cards and address labels were designed and ordered, we feasted together and I jetted back up to Berkeley for Crowden week 2. After a 3:45am alarm, I hopped on a flight back to JFK, landed to retrieve my car who had been happily long-term parked and worked on a 2-day spackling-and-painting job on all 5 floors of our condo building up here on 149th Street! It was a sweaty job, but so rewarding! And, I am now about to embark on a 3-day staycation with my amazing parents…off the grid I go!
I leave you with this photo diary: