I can’t believe that it has been so long since my last substantial post. But out of the dead stillness of the winter solstice and the holiday festivities, I have emerged with excitement and optimism for the new year ahead.
I don’t have anything profound or crafty to put together for this blog post but I wanted to let you know how the past year’s journey has shaped my current musical goals for 2012.
Last year was my first year back after Montana, and as such was a year of meeting new musicians. It seemed that each month brought new venues, new programs and new colleagues to work with, and I was busy with over 20 concerts, in some cases preparing a different recital from one week to the next. I am someone who enjoys a plan and structure. But this was not possible last year. I literally booked barely a month in advance and had to learn to live with the complete unpredictability of my life. At one point I believe I counted that I had worked with six different pianists in a four-month span. It is dizzinging to imagine how I adapted to such different musicians and repertoire so quickly. And the stress of financial uncertainty was a struggle at times. But I made it through the first year of my new direction as “mainly a performer”, and I am beginning to see signs that, as they say, “the first year is the worst”!
From this wild year I am proud to say that I learned a great deal about efficiency in practicing and learned to perform with few rehearsals and still do my best. I learned a huge amount about business and have a shiny and organized business plan to show for my self-education in this area. I learned about persistence and flexibility, about booking and publicity. I discovered where my limits were in terms of how quickly to turn over repertoire. But I also learned that I really crave more stability and consistency. So I have determined that 2012 will be a year of greater order and clarity.
I am pleased to say that I am beginning to move in the direction of booking further in advance, with eight dates already set for 2012. This is excellent since my goal is to play 30 concerts this year, between solo and chamber music. But, more important than the number of gigs or how far out I book is that many of musical “dates” with colleagues have led to deeper musical partnerships of various kinds. Performing with people with whom I have good chemistry in concert and in rehearsal gives me the possibility to grow musically and to feel connected to others. So I have settled into a duo with only a few pianists. Also, after four years of almost exclusively doing solo work, culminating in my CD folkfire, I began to feel a deep longing to have a committed Piano Trio again.
In the spring of 2011 I met an amazing pianist, Pei-yeh Tsai just finishing her Doctorate at BU, and she introduced me in October to the beautiful playing of Klaudia Szlachta, also finishing up her DMA at BU. When we three finally found a time to read trios together it was love at first sound. I am extremely excited about this new venture, which we are calling Trio Lumiere (which means light in French), and look forward to our debut concert together in February.
Of course I am sure this year will be filled with surprises, but it is nice to know that not EVERYTHING will be new for me.