We have had construction in our house since October. Supposed to be done by this weekend. These guys have been amazing and I’m completely in awe of our head carpenter, Steve. Anyway, I’ve come to except that we have almost two new bathrooms just shy of Christmas.
This was the scene this morning. Finding a little warmth…
I really don’t know how to begin. I want to laugh, cry, retail therapy all in one fell-swoop. As of tonight, Les Amis is completely funded. With all of the knowledge, insight and perseverance I should consider becoming a Kickstarter consultant. The reality is that this recording is happening and will become a reality thanks to 100 Backers. Thank you to everyone who supported me. And its not too late. You can still pledge and make this project even more secure. We have 50 more hours so please consider becoming a Backer to a SUCCESS STORY!!!
I am pleased to announce that a close friend and patron has made a generous offer of a $5000 Matching Challenge to be met by December 8 (deadline being December 9). That would bring me just over my goal! This is an amazing opportunity so I hope each of you can share my project Les Amis with as many people as possible and share my KickstarterFlyer. I have pledge levels beginning at $10 which includes a pre-released download of one of the selections from Les Amis. Here is a production still from my Kickstarter video of Yumi Kendall and Anna Marie Petersen. We had such a great time!
As of tonight, I had a phone call from a patron in Memphis wishing to become a generous Backer! And more visibly, I am fortunate to have the support of Maestro Stéphane Denève. He shared some very interesting information with me regarding Debussy. Apparently, after reading about 2000 letters of Debussy’s, Stéphane concluded that he had an unusual fondness for André Caplet. It is no secret that Debussy was a cynical, difficult individual. Being a brilliant genius he often had little patience for most people. One such example, is Ernest Chausson. Chausson met an untimely death due to barreling down a hill on his bicycle and running into a brick wall and dying instantly. Apparently, he had been suffering from depression, a condition brought on, perhaps, by ostracism from Debussy (equally speculated by Boris Balter, Backer Extraordinaire). Stéphane was touched by Debussy’s fondness for Caplet: “Debussy’s correspondence was quite tender and there was a professional admiration.” Basically, Caplet must have been something very special and Debussy held him in the highest regard.
So, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about Les Amis and give them a copy of the pdf (below). Only 13 days left!
With sincere thanks,
Today I launched my new Kickstarter project Les Amis! I have only 30 days to raise $18,000 or I don’t receive a dime. The time and research I have given to this recording has definitely made it a much stronger venture. I have never felt so strongly about a project and I feel there is a greater integrity to what the end-result will produce. One of the cool things about Kickstarter is that anyone can do this. Each project is independently crafted and created by the individual behind it.
You might ask yourself “why does a high-profile orchestral musician need to raise money for a recording?” Well if anyone noticed the bankruptcy case The Philadelphia Orchestra played out in the press last year you might have an inkling of knowledge. The 15% pay decrease we took could have almost covered the amount of this recording. Besides this unfortunate calamity, the recording costs of hiring a professional orchestra is a deterrent for most musicians, successful or not. All of the money I raise will go towards the musicians of the IRIS Orchestra (an unbelievably gifted group of musicians!) and the recording, post-production costs. I will still incur a considerable debt from the additional recording of the chamber music and solo portion. This will involve Roberto Diaz, concert violist and President of the Curtis Institute of Music, and Jeffrey Khaner, Principal Flutist of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
So, on a lighter note, do you like Debussy?! Not sure about Caplet? Check out my campaign and join me as a Backer at Kickstarter. Any level will help make Les Amis a reality. In closing, one of my dear friends and successful Kickstarter mentors, Frederic Chiu: “Music is not an escape from life; it is a doorway into life.”
As I sit quietly on All Hallow’s Eve I realize that I might have lost my ability to kick my heels up. A year off from our annual party (that consumes my life for a month) might just be a logical decision. But have I neglected my friends? my students? my dog? If this be the case here is a conciliatory reminder that I can have a good time while exploiting Cosmo:
Tonight I had an amazing experience. A very sweet young man named Taylor, who works for Tan Dun, escorted me in a chauffeur-driven odyssey to Zhujiajiao. Situated on the outskirts of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao is an old village lined with canals. A flat bottom boat was waiting for us at the entrance to the town and off we sputtered away. It was such a magical setting of waterways lined with lantern-lit cafes full of happy people. After passing through several ancient bridges the water widened and there a Buddhist Temple loomed. We docked at a beautiful old structure but once inside I realized this space had been turned into something very special. This “water temple” was designed by visionary Tan Dun and Japanese architects to be the stage to his new work “Water Heavens.” The auditorium is two stories high with a water stage, outside and inside. There is a unique domed roof with an opening to the heavens, with pillars and floor that can be played like musical instruments. Before the show, Taylor insisted that I have some sustenance. We were led to Tan’s private quarters where a lovely lady arrived with steaming bowls of dumplings. Yum! After that comforting food I was led to a first row seat. The show was comprised of a string quartet and pipa, along with percussionists and a vocalist. But the most amazing thing is that when the music became more animated the lights in the dark temple came on in a brilliant burst, and there were the monks chanting along with the music! Truly an unforgettable experience.
Started rehearsing around 9:30 AM this morning, coffee and noodle break, then a 2:30 PM dress rehearsal for the Executive director and Artistic director of the Festival. Somehow I kept my wits.
Here is Tan working with me. As you can see he is quite intense but an amazing artist. I LOVE working with him and I hope our presentation is a big hit tomorrow.
After finding out that I am going to the Shanghai International Arts Festival just two weeks from now I realize it is about time to learn some native music. So, with You Tube in hand I began perusing the hundreds (thousands) of Chinese melodies. Of course I found the ever-emoting Lang Lang front and center and what a great way to discover which tune might pull a “heart-string.” It is remarkable how much the “guzheng” most replicates the sound of the pedal harp. The pentatonic tuning mimics our most idiomatic effect, the glissando. China has become my most frequent stop in Asia. Its important for me to become acquainted with their culture as I embark on the biggest moment of my career: a harp concerto written for me by Tan Dun. Seeing through the eyes of music I am astounded how small our world becomes. We truly are ambassadors and I’m honored to embrace this calling. But, please think of me…I’ll be flying coach.