I like to update my blog from the luxury vinyl seats of an airport while watching people travel to and from just about EVERYWHERE! This last week was a great one that provided some new experiences and new audiences. I’ve managed to fly with my tenor pan on a bunch of occasions into a handful of airports. Every airport (and every staff member) treats the instrument a little differently and sometimes I don’t feel very happy about it. But that’s the name of the game I guess.
This week I premiered Kyle Krause’s new work for double seconds and clarinet… which meant finding a way to travel with my double seconds and all necessary hardware. I borrowed a large bass drum case from my friend and colleague Dan Eastwood to do the job (the exact solution can be seen here: “Traveling with Pans”). I flew into Washington DC’s Reagan International late Wednesday night. My double seconds case weighed in at 80lbs and was NOT EASY to move around the airport. Thanks to some help from a local and new friend I was able to locate the large case and get it to the curb for my ride into Baltimore.
Thursday was a busy day. Morning rehearsal with Kyle for his piece “Sirens” went smoothly and a few runs of “Antiphates” went fairly well. In the early afternoon, Joel Smith arrived for rehearsal. I commissioned Kyle to write the steelpan and clarinet duo for me and Joel to play. We rehearsed for a while, tackling some of the more rubato/expressive sections as well as the faster and more rhythmically challenging ones. “Antiphates” and “Sirens” were not programmed for a public performance, but for Kyle’s lecture in the Peabody Conservatory Composition Department Seminar. In the afternoon event, we heard several composers speak and Kyle shared what he has learned over the past 5 years of composing for the steelpan instrument. Many of the other composers were very interested in steelpan, most had never seen it in a modern art-music context! The even featured a recital organized by Kyle and 2 of his colleagues at Peabody (Aaron Gage and Jason Mulligan). There were premiers of both vocal and instrumental music in a BEAUTIFUL old church. Old NIU friend Zach Weiss also performed a Krause original work that he premiered a few years ago. The recital was fantastic. All of the music was performed on a very high level. I’m honored to have shared the stage with the other percussionists, wind players and singers on the recital.
— now for the “vacationy” part of my trip! I have never been to Baltimore (or DC!). Flying over DC was really cool. I can’t believe how close commercial airlines are allowed to fly to the Pentagon… but maybe that’s a conversation for another day. In Baltimore, we checked out the Walter Art Museum and the inner bay. There is a very cool Barnes & Noble on the harbor that was built out of an old coal-fired power plant! Kyle got tickets for Zach, Joel (and Laurel!), and myself to go see the Baltimore Symphony premier Kevin Puts’ “The City,” a shorter work by Rouse, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. The performance was truly spectacular! Puts’ piece was accompanied by a video that showed much of Baltimore’s famous infrastructure and history. Mahler 5 was… loud. And beautiful. It was Mahler performed as well as I have ever heard it!
I truly enjoyed my week connecting with friends old and new. The musical experiences here were fun and I look forward to playing on the east coast again! Oh yeah, this was my first time playing on the east coast!
Thanks for checking in on my site and seeing what has been going on!Come back soon! — mike