It started yesterday, some kind of sadness has begun to snick in. The idea of a departure is always hard on me. My house-mate, Meryl and I met this morning for another breakfast on the porch, conversing about last night's tapas dinner. It was an enjoyable gathering over delicious food and wine and an opportunity to have relaxed longer chats. What made that evening magical for me was the rain storm that was going on right above our heads as we were seated on the back porch of the house. This was a real blessing for Nebraska, who had a dry summer. Large Kendal's were lite by Grant, our host and in that dim light Grant told us stories about his travels around the world. P.J (another resident artist, who I talked about his exhibition in earlier posts) shared adventures he had in his bike ride across California and I talked about my first experiences here in the States. Meryl expressed how meaningful this stay is to her and I think we all feel the same. What a beautiful evening it was!
I got a lot of composing done while in this residency. I started a new piece for a reed quintet ensemble and I have now a complete draft of the first movement and all the musical materials for the second and third movements. A visit of the arts camp to my studio had sparked some ideas for a piece for children while I was sitting at the piano. I frantically started sketching until I had a draft of three movements. I really surprised myself, as I usually can't, or thought I couldn't, work on two pieces simultaneously. This was a lot of fun to write! I might call this piece "the arts camp" ;)
Today is my last day at the center. I spent 2 1/2 lovely weeks here. Three other artists arrived on the same day with me and three of us, out of four, will be leaving tomorrow, each continues with their lives, richer. Thank you Kimmel, Harding, Nelson Center for the Arts!
Here are some random pictures taken here :)
*MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY : Over The Rainbow, music: Harold Arlen, lyrics: E.Y. Harburg. Just makes me happy.
This week has been eventful around the world, and not in a good way. In my working studio, I sit in a vacuum for most hours of the day. I have to admit, I do check my Facebook once in a while, can not get fully disconnected from the outside world. This makes it impossible to miss the latest disasters that hit the news. I had to read more about them. A suicide bomber exploded himself on an Israeli tourist bus near Burgas airport in Bulgaria, 7 were killed, 38 injured- Thursday. A medical school student shot people at a premier screening of the movie Batman near Denver Colorado, 12 were killed, 52 injured- Friday morning.
As I was again updating my Facebook status about the second event, I thought to myself: there must be many other victims around the world that I don't get to hear about. But they are there, mostly in third world countries, and their story never makes it to be the talk of the day. For example: (CNN) -- "Rescuers were scheduled to resume their search Friday morning for survivors of a ferry that sank off the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, killing 60 people and leaving more than 80 people unaccounted for, the Red Cross said." 60 people! It seems that certain countries get more exposure in the media than others and I wonder, why is that?
Let me share one optimistic story, though, from Somalia. In February 2012, the famine in Somalia was declared over after the assistance they received from around the world. A sign of hope, I am happy about that. BBC News' video clip compares pictures from a year ago with more recent pictures. People seem to be in a better shape. However, the risk of the famine returning is high, they still depend on streaming of food and first aid from outside. At least not as many are dieing from famine there. What can I do to help? A point to think about.
It is so peaceful here, at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I am enjoying every minute of my three-week residency! I am working on a new piece for Akropolis Reed Quintet, which I hope to finish before going back to everyday life routine madness.
In this seclusion that is called "Residency" I am making observations and finding out some interesting things. Because I am sitting in a designated artist space, one that is dedicated for a very specific purpose- me as an artist, I must wear a different mind set. Do "me" and the "artist" personas overlap or do I have to clear some or the whole way for the "artist"?
I have been unconsciously nurturing the "aritst". I have been feeding her with what she likes- good nutrition and coffee twice a day, taking a walk to the river and nourishing her curiosity while observing the local community in the coffee shop. The results are satisfying so far- first 15 measures of music were written today as an exposition for a new piece. Not only that, but suddenly I have a craving to practice slowly and carefully, something I was always reluctant to do. At the same time- me, the "person" is being kind of push aside. Is it by chance, because my suitcase has not arrived with me and I do not have most of my personal things, that I don't "take care" as usual? In any case, I find it completely emancipating not to have to think about clothes or make up.
My time is ready to be filled with content and although it seems like a lot of time to fill, it absolutely flies! The initial preparation for a new piece requires research. This process has become my standard way of working: researching on the ensemble I am writing a piece for. In this case, finding out particular playing techniques of reed instruments, since I do not play any of them myeself. Particularly, I have to learn more about the saxophone, an instrument which I have never yet written for. There is information available online including demontrating sound clips, which is very usefl. In parallel, I am trying to get a hold on existing pieces for this ensemble to show me what is possible and carachteristc of the reeds to play (not nessicerly for me to follow), what has already been written and to just get familiar with the sound world of this ensemble. There is not a whole lot of music I find for it as this ensemble is yet a "work in progress", a kind of newly formed group comparing to a string quartet or a symphony orchestra. The idea of extending the relatively small exisiting repertoire makes me very excited! I hope to do a good job with my work.
While sitting in my studio in a vacuum of sound, I have more control over how I feel up my thoughts and my time. (this came out rhyming.. haha)
*** Here is what we eat here: on Thursdays there is a farmer's market next door to the center (Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts). I got a strange looking yellow summer squash which apparently is great to marinade and funny looking little carrots, both Certified Naturally Grown from a local farmer. On the same day we also received our order from the Nebraska-Food Cooperative. Meryl, my apartment-mate, made a delicious pasta. In the next days my creativity will be put into test with these vegtables, as well ;) ***
I arrived in the heart of the mid-west of the United States of America, in Nebraska City. The dry, warm air welcomes me, it feels good after long hours in air conditioned airports. On the way from Omaha airport to my destination, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, there were wide spread farms- miles and miles of agriculture fields. I have never seen anything like that before! I was amazed first of all, how green this area is, even in the midst of summer, and how large of a part do agriculture takes up here. This area is mostly known for it's maize and soybean crops and even cattle growth. As I admire the fields, Ron, my driver says "that was a beautiful one", referring to one of the fields we just passed by. I guess, it has been a fine year for crops.
One thing that spoiled the fun was the little, yellow spraying plane. It made me concerned thinking that everything I eat probably has chemicals on it...
Right across the Missouri River, I could see the hills of the neighboring state, Iowa- beautiful!
This blog is about new music, composing, living, experiencing. Thank you for visiting, feel free to leave a comment!