Courtesy of United, tour got off to a rocky start. I will never understand why a company would outsource your help line to a country that is unable to actually provide your customers with help!!!! They cancelled my flight for no apparent reason at 10pm the night before my 6am departure. Lovely. Then I listened to “Rhapsody in Blue” at least 15 times waiting for my “agent” to be useful. After 1 hour and 45 minutes I gave up and decided to instead go to the airport early to get on a plane. Delta saved the day and I made it to Memphis only 2 hours later than originally planned.
I arrived in time for the first masterclass. What a treat! Lecolion Washington has a built a lovely program. The students are very down to earth, thoughtful and eager to learn. High quality recruiting by Lecolion! Working with them was a blast. The Double Reed Festival is a annual event that really impressed me. The funding and support is outstanding as they had 3 bassoonists and 2 oboists as guests. They had an outstanding turn out and it is no wonder given the excitement generated by Lecolion and Michelle Vigneau. The number of high school players that were involved was outstanding, I’d guess 50 kids! And the interaction between studio members and younger players was beautiful to see. The University of Memphis Double Reed Festival is an event that brings players together and provides a real sense of community with lots of education thrown in!
The other awesome thing about the Double Reed Festival is that Memphis brings in multiple artists. Albie Micklich was a player I always respected but I never really knew him outside of the standard “hi” conversations. For two days I got to work with him, trading off in masterclasses. Wow, what an inspiring teacher. It was so interesting to hear his thoughts on players. He worked with a student on Maslanka that has now finally gotten me to play some of his works! I also had the treat of hearing Albie play, which is always a delight.
Included in the program was the Premiere of Stefan Cwik’s new work for bassoon and piano, “6 Movements”. I had an absolute blast on stage sharing this with the audience. Both Lecolion and Albie found the work interesting and I think many bassoon players in the future will want to play the work. It is very well conceived by Stefan. It has a couple of “hard” bits then some really sight-readable bits. The contrasts between the 6 movements are playful and diverse. I really love the singing 3 movement that showcase the lyrical beauty of the bassoon and then a very sassy 4 movement. There are excellent rhythmical counterpoint that are really exciting. I feel fortunate to have been introduced to Stefan’s work via the 2010 BCMCC and think he is a hot young composer for all bassoonists to watch!
All of the music stuff was great. The three masterclass were really fun. The performances were inspiring. AND I got to spend social time with Lecolion and Ablie!!!!! Not only are they fantastic players, that are also inspiring teachers, they are FUN! Both are extremely intelligent and have many varied interests outside of music. They have fantastic work ethics and we share similar philosophies on the field. I feel privileged to have them as colleagues.
It was a WONDERFUL event. I woke up on Sunday excited to practice! I just feel so lucky that this is my job. I appreciate the invitation by Lecolion and Michelle to be part of their fantastic event.