News, events, thoughts
Wayyyyyy overdue updates!
For those of you who are loyal daily visitors to my website (there's gotta be at least 1, right?), I apologize for keeping you waiting TWO YEARS for any sort of update on here. For the average one-time visitor, I suppose it's only my personal embarrasment that I have to deal with. When I started this website, it came out of a desire to get myself out there in any way, and hopefully lead to some work. I'm very happy to say that it's been a very productive two years of getting myself out into the real world and having a great time working a fair amount.
In the two years since finishing my Master's degree at Juilliard, I have spent a summer as a busking musician in Central Park, three months as a touring musician with the musical Man of La Mancha, a winter season as the bassist for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, in addition to being a sub on Broadway, a handful of recording session work, and a whole bunch of one-off freelance gigs and weekly private students - all of which I'm very grateful for! This is by no means an excuse for not updating my website. But it did feel like it all happened very fast and I didn't really know how to present it to the internet world.
This is also not a time to say that the work is done and I'm set. Because that reality does not exist as a musician (or really any career these days, for that matter.) We must always be networking, hustling, and putting our best stuff out there. For me, that means diversifying my playing to extend beyond classical music. As you can see from my calendar, bio, and the paragraph above, I have become very involved in the musical theater scene, which I am loving. It was a goal of mine to get into this kind of work, because I feel like it combines many of my musical interests and skills, along with a satisfying feeling that I am part of something larger than just myself and my playing.
In addition to theater work, I've been involved in a jazz trio project that has been picking up a lot of momentum recently. Joe Mohan, Brian Shank, and I started playing together while we were still students at Juilliard. We came together for a one-off background music gig at a private party, and ended up picking up a few more like that. Eventually we realized that we had the potential to go beyond background music, and started arranging and writing some of our own music. We recently recorded a 5-track demo, 2 of which can be heard on my media page. Our website is still in progress, but it will certainly be linked from here once it is ready. Also - we need a name!
There is plenty more to say at the moment, but for not having updated in 2 years, I think I'll leave it at that. For anyone who has been checking regularly, thank you, and my apologies for having basically no new content in a while! For anyone new to the site, thank you for waiting until this very moment to check it out, so that it kind of looks like I update this thing!
First round of updates
As I look back on the summer that is winding down, I am most proud of the single accomplishment of publishing this site. The positive feedback has been overwhelming, and I'm starting to see some results. But like any artistic project I've taken on, I can't seem to keep my hands off of this website, tweaking littles things here and there. Some of these things are slight layout changes that will likely go un-noticed. Others, like the music player, hopefully caught your attention right from the start.
On the media you will find a live performance recording that I was a part of in January of 2011. As part of Juilliard's annual ChamberFest, a group consisting of Charles Yang, Lisa Kim, Katy Ho, Grant Kot and myself put together Dvorak's String Quintet No. 2 (commonly referred to as the "Bass Quintet") in one week (coached by Curt Macomber), and performed it in Paul Hall at Juilliard. We are very proud of this recording, and I have shared some short excerpts of each movement with you. Please enjoy!
In the coming weeks, look out for a new set of updates, which will include a calendar of events and new recordings. As always, your continued support and input is much appreciated, so keep the messages coming! In the meantime, check out this video from my former teacher Dennis Masuzzo - cool stuff!
I am pleased to announce the addition of a calendar page, which will have a full schedule of upcoming and past performances! Here is what I'll be up to in October:
October 6, 2012, 7pm - Program entitled 'Romantic Serenade' with colleagues from Juilliard at Union City Performing Arts Center, Union City, NJ (details here)
October 12, 2012, 8pm - Oliver Knussen's Coursing with the AXIOM Ensemble, conducted by Jeffrey Milarsky in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater (details here)
October 27, 2012, 8pm - Benefit Concert with the Ars Viva Chamber Orchestra and Mark O'Connor, conducted by Dr. Jesse Henkensiefken in Merkin Hall (details here)
The big announcement is the date of my graduation recital from the Master's program at Juilliard, which is set for Friday, March 29, 2013 at 6pm in Paul Hall! The program is still being worked out, but I assure you that it will be a very exciting event, and I would LOVE to see you there!
Thoughts during a storm
While I am trapped in my apartment during Hurricane Sandy (with my bass stranded at Juilliard), I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to update my website, and share some thoughts that I've had recently. These thoughts are inspired by a performance with the Ars Viva Chamber Orchestra featuring fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor, as well as in preparation for some big opportunities that are coming up. In addition, discussions with performance psychologist Dr. Noa Kageyama and former classical artist manager (and current career consultant) Edna Landau have conjured up new ideas, and brought new light to old ones.
This all has to do with something that seems quite obvious for a performer, yet has somehow gotten pushed a bit too far out of my own consciousness: putting yourself out there. In the most basic sense, every time we perform, we are putting ourselves out there. When it comes to auditions and competition, we are REALLY putting ourselves out there, opening ourselves up to judgement and criticism. Fear of this judgement triggers the "fight-or-flight" instinct, which can be debilitating to a performer (as there really is nowhere to run away to). In my past audition experiences, my instincts have been to seek comfort within myself, which results in a "selfish" performance that really doesn't reach the listener. As you can imagine, most audition panels are not interested in that kind of performer.
With the help of Dr. Noa Kageyama, my private teachers, and some positive inner dialogue, I have been working on engaging more of the "fight" instinct, and really putting myself out there as a player. For audition purposes (as well as masterclasses - I have participated in some big ones recently), I have been setting my mind to the mentality of being proud of what I have prepared, even if it isn't quite "there" yet. With this mentality, it becomes a matter of simply presenting what I have, and being open-minded to the results. So far, this has created much more positive audition experiences for me, and eliminated a lot of the stress and tension associated with past ones. Of course, it is a process that I will continue to work on, and with more positive experience, it will continue to improve.
This attitude also applies beyond auditions. As a working bass-player, very little of what we do is as exposed as it is when we audition. In ensemble playing, it is very easy to slip into the background and hide. In the past, I would be content getting a nod or smile from a conductor or soloist, and essentially being forgotten after that. After receiving some honest career advice from Edna Landau, I realized that if I intend to make a career as a bass-player (especially in NYC), I cannot be content with being forgotten! I was encouraged by her (and Dr. Kageyama) to be more aggressive, assertive, and basically more confident with what I've got, and make sure it gets noticed!
Putting this idea into action proved to be a difficult task for me, but I have taken some steps in the right direction. Right away, I applied this concept to my ensemble playing during a recent rehearsal cycle for a concert. My approach was simple - introduce myself to people, be social during breaks and after rehearsals, and play in a way that is not shy. I have to mention that I did NOT go overboard with this idea - I was not pushing myself in people's faces, or playing in an obnoxious way. However, even with a subtle change in my attitude, I saw results, and I have a feeling I will be remembered by at least one person in the group!
Beyond my playing, this website is a direct result of me putting myself out there. Taking another step forward, I am putting up an excerpted recording of the Koussevitzky Concerto that I made for a competition. While I do not think this is the best recording ever, and I have a long way to go until I am totally satisfied with it, I feel that it is still worthy of public consumption. I have to thank Peter Dugan for expertly performing the piano part (on short notice)! Of course, this "blogpost" is a major way of putting myself out there, and I hope it does not come across selfishly. My intention is to shed some light on an issue that I and many performers struggle with, and to offer my own approach to dealing with. I would be more than happy to share specific methods that I have used to overcome my fears, so please feel free to contact me with questions!
On a final note: this approach will be needed in upcoming performances of Mahler's 1st Symphony with the Juilliard Orchestra (I will be playing the solo in the 3rd movement) and Beethoven Septet (as part of ChamberFest 2013), both in Alice Tully Hall. Check the calendar page for details!
I have quite a busy performing schedule this first month of 2013 (my final semester of school)! To start, I am performing in both of the January "Festivals" at Juilliard - Chamberfest, and the Focus! Festival.
As part of Chamberfest 2013, I am performing the Beethoven Septet, Op. 20, in Alice Tully Hall on Wednesday, January 16 at 1pm. The group consists of Fabiola Kim (violin), Jocelin Pan (viola), Tavi Ungerleider (cello), Anton Rist (clarinet), Ryan Wilkins (bassoon), Jenny Ney (horn), and of course myself on bass. We've had a very intense week of rehearsals and coachings with two incredible teachers, Sylvia Rosenberg and Charles Neidich.
Some fun facts about the piece:
-The Septet is among the first few works that Beethoven sketched using a bound notebook, versus loose leaf pages. This was a change in the organization of his compositional process that coincided with the onset of his deafness.
-The work was most likely composed in 1798-1799, but had it's first performance on April 2, 1800 at the Burgtheater in Vienna. The performance itself was extremely significant for Beethoven: it was the first of a few concerts that he set up for his OWN benefit. As in, he collected all the money from the ticket sales. Also on the program was his First Symphony, a Mozart Symphony, and some works by Haydn.
-It was one of Beethoven's most successful works during his lifetime. He knew at the time that he had written a real crowd-pleaser that would bring him large commercial success. Of course, later in life he claimed that it was a silly piece that didn't mean much. After his death, the manuscript for the Septet sold for almost twice that of the Missa Solemnis.
Following my performance in Chamberfest, I move ahead to the Focus! Festival at Juilliard, which this year is focusing on 20th century British music. I am actually performing in two different programs in the Festival. The first is on Tuesday, January 29, where I will be collaborating with percussionist Sae Hashimoto to perform Cornelius Cardew's Volo Solo. This piece is rather insane. It is written for any solo instrument, with segmented phrases containing short bursts of MANY notes. The performer is supposed to play as many of the notes (within the range of their instrument) as fast as possible. Because of the limited range of the marimba that Sae will be playing, the idea to add a double bass to play the low notes was suggested. This is justified by a note in the score that multiple performers may play the piece, and they are to simply begin the passages at the same time, with no regard for playing together. The performance should be pretty exciting!
On Friday, February 1, I will be leading the bass section of the Juilliard Orchestra in the orchestral program of the Focus! Festival. The concert is conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, and will include:
TIPPETT Ritual Dances from Midsummer Marriage
KNUSSEN Horn Concerto
BRITTEN Sinfonia da Requiem, Opus 20
Details of all of these performances can be found on the calendar page. I hope to see you at one or more of these performances!
In the coming weeks, I will be phasing out this news page, and transitioning into my new WordPress blog, which you can visit here. Please visit the blog now to read some of my most recent thoughts. Additionally, you may now subscribe to my mailing list (either through this link, or the form at the bottom of the page) to begin receiving my monthly newsletter. The newsletter will include my most recent blog posts, as well as my upcoming performances for the month. Sign up now to receive some inspirational freebies!
This is a bit of old news at this point, but I am honored to have been featured on Edna Landau's Musical America blog, Ask Edna. Ms. Landau wrote about this very website, commending the many personal touches I managed to work in. I put a great deal of time, thought, and energy into this website, and it is so heartwarming to receive such complimentary (and public!) feedback. Thank you Edna!
ATTENTION ALL INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS!
I am currently developing a service for helping independent musicians compile and market press materials. These will include (but not be limited to):
-Digital press kit (Bios in all sizes/formats, resumé/cv, headshots, repertoire lists, etc.)
If you are interested in getting help with any of these materials and would like to be a part of my pilot program, please contact me now! Rates available upon request.
As always, please check the calendar page for my upcoming performances!
Welcome to my new website!
I'm very excited to announce the launch of my newly designed homepage, but even more excited that you are visiting it! Developing this site has been a fun new challenge for me, and I have to say I'm quite proud of the way it's turned out. Please explore the site to find out all the information you could possibly want to know about me!
Besides the relatively-constant pages such as about and teaching, I will be updating this page as often as I can to inform you of upcoming events in which I will be participating, and to occasionally share my thoughts on the current state of the arts (or whatever might be on my mind). In addition, see the links page for a list of internet resources of interest, be it the website of an individual whom I have worked with, or digital resources that I have deemed useful for 21st century musicians.
Please check back to this site often, and contact me with any questions or comments. I'd love your feedback!