Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Anne Epperson in motion

Just wanted to share the news that Collaborative Pianist and force of nature, Anne Epperson, will join the faculty of Indiana University in 2017!!!  


   

Monday, May 23, 2016

Onward!

This summer's starting off with very little relaxation: May musical endeavors include playing in the pit for "A Chorus Line" at the Playhouse, playing with the San Antonio Wind Ensemble (piano) and with the San Antonio Symphony Baroque Series (harpsichord). 

"A Chorus Line" is a fun show to play, and has very little downtime for the Keys I book (which I prefer to long dialogue breaks).  We have a great pit band, 11 strong (!), and we're a little over halfway through.  

The Wind Ensemble gig includes 2 pieces, Grainger's "Children's March: Over the Hills and Far Away" and Marquez's "Danzon No. 2".  I adore playing the Danzon, with its Latin rhythms, the Grainger is less enjoyable to play simply because it isn't written as pianistically (with a couple almost physically implausible moments thrown in, to boot).

As for the Baroque stuff, all I can say is WHEE!!  Love it.

More to come . . .



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Baroque music

Hello, it's been awhile -  Just an update on what I've been up to . . .
I'm finishing up a grad degree at UTSA this semester*.  The degree, although nominally a 'solo performance' degree, has managed to cover several areas of collaborative piano at the same time.  For example: I began studying the harpsichord - which enabled me to learn/perform Brandenburg No. 5 last year with a chamber ensemble - and presently I'm prepping for a Baroque recital at the end of this month.  Rachel Podger is doing a 1-week residency here, so I've been immersing myself in Telemann, Vivaldi, Bach and Purcell. 

We're doing Vivaldi Summer and Winter, Bach Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041, Telemann Concerto for flute and Violin TWV 52:e3, and selections from Purcell's Fairy Queen. 

One of the harder things to adapt to (outside the completely altered touch needed on a different instrument) is the lack of 'written music'.  Yes, there is a part - but it is mostly just a  bass line.  It takes a lot of familiarity with everyone's part to improv stuff with confidence.

Hence the listening - I hope to steal ideas as deftly as possible. 

My solo recital is in February - and then sweet freedom (until the next thing pops up).  Actually, I think I start Handel's Messiah in March, so I guess I don't get much of a break after all . . . sigh.







*and I must say, being a grad student is way better the 2nd time around.  Now we have streaming music, online books, online EVERYTHING . . .


Friday, June 26, 2015

Randomness Archives, #2 - Cartoons















Music-related Randomness Archives, #1

I have a lot of pics that I've collected ... This post is the first in an upcoming series, the results of tons of pointless online hours.  You're welcome.











NPR article about pianists and stage fright

To Master Stage Fright, Practice Makes Imperfect OK

The pianist the article is about, Sara Solovitch, also wrote a book about overcoming stage fright, called Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright!






Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Specialists

It's amazing when pianists have amassed experience in a specific area, such as instrumental collaborative piano - and then specialized even more with a specific instrument*, such as say, the saxophone.  

I found a few pianists who happened to perform saxophone rep as their specialty!  Take a look at the rep lists of these NASA (North American Saxophone Alliance) Collaborative pianists:  Casey Dierlam, Leng-leng Lam and Liz Ames.  

Think about creating your own niche, and check out local and international conferences for opportunities to use your repertoire strengths.



*Often the result of the pianist dating/marrying said instrument player.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Updated Again - Summer Gigs and Opportunities


Collaborative pianists: here are some places to consider spending your upcoming summers - getting experience and/or paid (ideally both).  


Eastern Music Festival sometimes hires collaborative pianists for instrumental accompaniment, must be 21 to apply
Hot Springs Collaborative Piano Apprenticeships
Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival
Music Academy of the West - Instrumental Fellowship
Norfolk Chamber Music Session Fellowships
Emerging Artists Fellowship Program is a four-week chamber music program for string players and pianists aged 18-26

Opera:
Ash-lawn Opera Festival has a music internship and/or accompanist opportunities
Banff Centre - Assistant Coach/Repetiteur
CoOPERAtive program at Rider University has a training program for singers and collaborative pianists
Music Academy of the West - Vocal Fellowship
San Francisco Merola Opera Program

Vocal - Art Song:
Franz-Schubert-Institute - summer course for singers and pianists
Songfest - for singers and pianists


Dance:





Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bach research, ongoing

I started collecting ‘classical literature for church services use’* from the Baroque era – first, Bach. As he is an outrageously prolific composer, I kept it simple for now and went with selections from his better-known composition groups. All of these are pieces I found appealing and can work up in a couple of days/weeks. The added bonus is a lot of this is transferable to the organ, also.  Here's what I've picked so far:

Two part inventions – #s 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14
Three part inventions (aka Sinfonia) – #s 2, 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
English Suites - No. 3 in g minor, BWV 808
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 - (tbd)
Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 - (tbd)

Plus



*What else am I supposed to call it?  ‘Real’ music? 



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Outdoor Pianos!

Are you bored?  Check out these outdoor pianos in Melbourne, Glasgow, Albany NY and others!







New Project


I have a project this semester – an Independent Study on church music.  It will have an emphasis on planning out solo organ/piano music for the entire church year.  Specifically, I’ll be pulling together appropriate music for services (prelude-offertory-communion-postlude), both hymn arrangements and accessible music from the ‘solo classical’ piano repertoire.  At the end of the semester, my goal is to have a selection of piano and organ literature that is appropriate for each major church holiday (Christmas, Easter, etc) and the rest of the year. 

Also, the project is to get a better grasp on the many aspects of being an effective church musician.  I’ve begun to see that the pianist can do more than provide pleasant music or lead congregational singing*.  It is similar to how a sensitive choral pianist knows what to listen for in choir rehearsals – they can diagnose the choir’s issues and respond as needed, while anticipating the director’s needs also.  A good choral pianist helps facilitate a pleasant and effective rehearsal for everyone involved.  

A good church musician can facilitate a meaningful experience for the congregation: and one of the ways is to complement the day’s message and tone with thoughtful musical selections.   

I’ll continue working on hymns, also – learning about registrations, varying the hymns to match the lyrics, etc etc etc.  I hope to blog this all out, both because it keeps me honest and working - but also, I haven't found much out there that quite addressed this they way I'm approaching it.  


*It’s the difference between the two compliments “you are a wonderful player” and “you play a wonderful service”.


2nd Time Around


Year 2, semester 2 of grad school degree #2:

What have I learned so far? 

Playing the Organ is mindbending.
            Organists are another breed.  They think as an orchestrator in order to register (choose voices for) their pieces.  They read 3 staves as a matter of course, and perform using hands and feet.  Their repertoire goes back further than piano repertoire.  They need a thorough grasp of musical history and organ history (development of the instrument) so they can both perform the piece (articulation/gestures) and register the piece correctly. 
And they have different shoes.

Performing from memory takes a unique focus
            Note the word ‘performing’ - it’s a different task than playing something from memory, alone within a practice space.  For a pianist, performance from memory involves a controlled energy fixed on the music that is being made in the present – as well as an ongoing mental anticipation of upcoming music.   This kind of musical focus is really hard to maintain when you are being stared at by a bunch of people. 
            It’s another level of concentration, different from performing with collaborators/with music, that I find fascinating*.
             
I have a lot to learn about practicing
            Or, in other words: it’s really easy to waste time in the practice room.  Mental self-discipline means you pay attention, listen to the sounds you are producing, and use critical awareness to evaluate what is correct and what needs to be adjusted.  This is hard.
            Practice makes permanent. 




*I did solo work as a part of my other degrees, but all my recitals were collaborative.   So now I’m learning the difference between playing 10-20 minutes memorized vs 60.