Summer Update- May and June 2009

 Unfortunately, summer is now officially over. I've finally got a moment of free time to update the blog and give everyone an update. This summer was extremely eventful. Here's a rundown of what happened...

May, 2009- The Met season ended with 3 full performances of the entire Ring Cycle. Playing Gotterdammerung on the final night of the season was truly a career highlight. As some of you may know, during opera, the official bow for the orchestra takes places before the beginning of the final act. On this particular night, the ovation for the orchestra was particularly exuberant. In fact, the applause endured so long that the house lights were raised. The audience, from orchestra level all the way up to those in the nosebleeds, gave the MET Orchestra a standing ovation that seemed to be almost endless. The MET Orchestra is world renowned for it's ability, but in the opera house the glorious sounds of the ensemble are often times overshadowed by great vocal soloists and breathtaking set designs and costumes. It was really a pleasure to see our ensemble getting some well deserved spotlight and recognition. One other note about this... By the end of a grueling season at the MET, musicians often times forget just how fortunate we are to be in the business that we are in. We get into our daily grind of rehearsals, concerts, more rehearsals, more concerts, etc. We work very hard and after 40 consecutive weeks, people are tired! Moments like this one remind you that you are in fact living a dream. What a fantastic place to work!

After the season ended, the MET Orchestra Brass recorded a CD. This recording features almost every member of the MET Brass and includes arrangements of many opera favorites. If you are interested, check out www.5thshow.com. You can buy the CD there. I've had a chance to listen to it, and I must say that it is very good. There is a lot of great playing on the disc and there definitely aren't any other brass CDs out there that are quite like this one.

Following the brass recording, the MET Orchestra concluded it's concert season with a performance of Petrouchka at Carnegie Hall. This was a great concert. Kudos to my colleagues Billy Hunter and Anthony McGill (principal trumpet and clarinet) who did a truly spectacular job.

May ended with a trip to Austin. After all of these years playing the trombone, I finally performed the Henri Tomasi Concerto for the first time. The Cedar Park Winds of Austin, TX were kind of enough to stand behind me as I performed this piece. We had a wonderful turnout. I would guess there were at least a few hundred people in attendance. The thing I enjoyed the most were how many young student musicians and their parents attended the concerts. This is always exciting. I love an enthusiastic audience full of people who are looking to be inspired and are excited about music. Texas is truly a special place when it comes to music education, and I am always thrilled to have an opportunity to play a part in the musical enrichment of the communities there. I think the Tomasi is a great piece, and I'm thankful for having had the opportunity to play it with an ensemble. I've actually recorded it for my upcoming solo CD. Trombonists rarely have solo opportunities with an ensemble. I am truly blessed to have done this a few times already. It's always a great challenge and a great deal of fun.

June, 2009- I had the privilege of playing the Berlioz Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Charles Dutoit. Playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra is always a great honor. Having studied at Curtis for 3 years and attending Philadelphia Orchestra concerts EVERY week during my time there (I think I missed 3 weeks in 3 years!), the Philadelphia Orchestra has secured a special place in my heart. I feel like I truly learned to make music at the highest level in Philadelphia, and to this day, I still feel right at home whenever I'm in Philly! This trip was particularly fun because the Berlioz requires so many extra players, and that week we had a rundown of some great ones! Nitzan Haroz, Eric Carlson, Matt Vaughn, Blair Bollinger, Chris Dudley, Steve Rosse, Carol Janstch, Dave Zerkel.... you get the idea. That's a lot of great brass playing in one room! I'll post a picture of the brass section in the photo gallery. Blair Bollinger was the other trombonist in my antiphonal choir. Every time he took a breath I wanted to hit him and say, "Hey man, leave some air for the rest of us!". Standing next to this guy is a lesson in breathing. Incredible control, incredible sound and a pretty nice guy on top of all that. I'm looking forward to the next chance I get to play with these guys. Good times!

I will continue with the rest of the summer in another update.

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