2020’s arrival has come and gone, and it feels like the last couple of months have flown by with such speed that they melted together in some sort of Dali-esque landscape. Speaking of melting, it’s 96 degrees here in Bangkok. I’m finishing up a beautiful residency of master classes and recital featuring the world premiere of a new multimedia piece by Cornell DMA composer Piyawat Louilarpprassert at the P. Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music. I’m dipping my toe (probably just one of them for now) into the world of my new looper pedal and will do a little premiere of that dippage tonight as well…and it’s with this at hand that I took a moment to reflect on life since I last posted here.
I can’t resist starting this entry with these two pics – I arrived two days early in Bangkok in order to take a trip to an elephant sanctuary in Western Thailand where people help care for elephants rescued from logging and circus training abuse…elephants have long been my spirit animal, but getting to be with them in this way was entirely life-changing.
Late October was a Ne(x)tworks farewell inside a Knights sandwich. My beloved new music ensemble, Ne(x)tworks (of which I was a member for 10 years, from 2005-2015) hung up its hat for good and bid farewell with a reunion concert at Issue Project Room, complete with an installation of Cage’s Song Books, some Cornelius Cardew, Jon Gibson, and works by the brilliant composer-performers from within the group. It was a blast to be back together, and a beautiful send-off complete with members and guests past-and-present. The Knights were also in full-swing that week, working on a project combining dance + live music with BalletCollective at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center down in DUMBO. My MetroCard got a hard workout during that stretch for sure.
Back up to Cornell I went to see my brilliant students and take in the first ice storm of the season. It was then a game of Ithaca-Minneapolis tag with a CMSM concert plus a recital of the full Brahms violin sonata cycle with pianist Kyung Kim and jumping back east to teach in-between. Oh yea, and we managed to throw my dad a surprise retirement party somewhere in there too! Good thing I’ve sold my soul to Delta…
With Thanksgiving somewhere in the middle, The Knights hit the road with a tour of Hunter, Washington, D.C., Montreal, and NYC in a special program entitled “Homage to Bach” during which each member of the small group stepped forward to play movements of solo Bach and/or duos, trios, and quartets by those he inspired. The concert at the Montreal Bach Festival was particularly memorable, especially considering the ridiculous number of Fairmount bagels I ate after the show (don’t worry, New York, my loyalty still lies with you)…
My students gave a killer recital at Ithaca’s Carriage House (my favorite place to play up there, no doubt) to close out the semester and then it was off to California for my annual volunteer trip to work with Scott Krijnen’s kiddos at Castillero Middle. Lucky for me, there was an explosion of little cherubs born to those near and dear to me just before I departed, so I got lots of baby time after work each day.
Christmas was a lovely family affair complete with tons of cooking and even more eating (though my lame immune system gave out and I fought the flu for most of it). Then it was off to New Year’s Eve in Seoul with my cousins, Bangkok for this residency, and tomorrow I fly south to Sydney to celebrate a dear childhood friend Alice’s nuptials down under…a bluegrass show back in Ithaca in a few days feels half a world away. Literally.
And here we go, photo time!