A few days after the new year has entered I am back in the land I grew up in. I cherish every moment with my loved ones and feel fortunate to be able to spend this time with them.
The new year that enters will be built on an existing old one. We already have perspectives, history and a resolution to make things even better. I wish everyone the same or even better love, health, happiness, creativity, empathy and compassion. Here is for a great future!
I have been writing songs for the same amount of time I have been writing classical music. Usually, with alternating periods where I write one or the other. Something happened and there is an urge in me to move forward with my songs (the immediate reason for that is described in my previous post). In the past four months, since June, I have been laboring on getting the right materials together, practicing, learning how to do things. Like a child, every new piece of information is a notable progress- booking my own shows, telling about my project, recording and writing new songs. I am ecstatic and feel like this is a materialization of my dream! Many years of songwriting have helped me to work out my craft to the point where I feel I have something valuable artistically to share. I will continue with this dream because this is one of my biggest joy in the world and I can not do otherwise!
New and rediscovered musical inspirations:
Moving out is such an emotionally exhausting process. This is the third time in three years I am moving to a new place. I am not impressed by packing anymore, some boxes are even left untouched in the basement during the year so they are all ready to go, when come times. As for the rest of my things- I always wish I did not have much. Just the essentials- my keyboard and two suitcases with winter and summer clothes, a desk and bed, not more. But of course, when you live in a place for a while you accumulate things- school material, teaching material, lots of sketches of music, song lyrics etc.. Some of them you used once and forget you even have them. Some of them you have double, because you forgot you have them...
Packing makes you go over your possessions, reassess your life and what you really need. While you go over your objects, you go traveling back in time. Different objects bring back different memories. Some of the things are neutral to encounter, like pencils, some are very emotional and throw you back to places you might not want to revisit.
Some of the objects just warm your heart and you want to share it. So, I will share one things that made me smile when
finding it: a recipe for a brilliant fruit cake my mother copied for me. It is written in Hebrew in her pretty hand writing and says on top of the page "To Florie with love, mom" :)
Different jobs have different ways you can get feedback on your work. It's your boss's pat on the back, a "thank you" letter or a client's call to say how satisfied they are from what you gave them. In music it is the applause you get from the audience after your piece is performed, your audience's words after the concert. It is the person that knows one part of you and wants to know more, it is someone who wants share with you their aural experience. Sometimes a feedback comes unexpectedly in a form of a comment from a complete stranger somewhere in the world, who you have never met and is completely unbiased.
Not always will this feedback be positive, but hopefully it is emerges from a sincere place without any interest to heart you personally or professionally. Also, I hope to understand exactly what it is that the person is trying to transmit to me. I try to take feedback as a gift.
Whenever a listened turns to me, I know that in one way or another they were moved by my creation. The fact that they dedicated their time to listen to my music is already very exciting! And it is also nice if they share their thoughts. Not always people get what I was trying to say or get something completely different. The listener has freedom to interpret what they heard in their own way, and by that, they own their experience.
Bad critique is something that one needs and although it is not easy to accept it, there should be a way to accept it and grow from it. Surely, it is no fun to get critique, but if we take it the right way, it can make you ask questions and improve and therefore, be constructive. If only positive feedback is thrown, perhaps there is something wrong. But, usually people are helpful. Don't run away from critique. Both affirmation for doing something right and the awareness that there is room for improvement, create a better artist. Like everything in life, you need that balance.
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY: American-Mexican composer Conlon Nancarrow, Piece No.2 for Small Orchestra (1985)
I like it for the interesting complex rhythms, among other things.
It has been a fruitful week for me with lots of lessons learnt. The notes I am sharing here are notes for myself I'm hoping to be wise enough to follow:
1. Don't get too excited there is a cheaper solution. Think things through cause you might end up paying much more, not even talking about saving. For example, travelers checks... bad idea, wire transfer is the way to go.
2. Teaching myself new things from time to time. After changing some HTML codes for my website I am now happy with the results of it's presentation (for now) and I did it by myself! It feels great to be able to tackle tasks on my own. I can't say I know programing now or even understand how HTML works, it is still a magic to me, but the fact that I was able to do it proves me that I can do it if I put time and effort. It feels very rewarding!
3. Catching up with the popular music scene. I have missed one full decade of rock music I'm too embaraced to say. I was on my way to miss another one, unless I woke myself up. I don't know how I let so much time pass without knowing about great artists like Bon Iver, for example. I also need to catch up with Colplay. I know a few songs but not full albums. It can be handy next time I go to karaoke to sings with my friends.
4. Watering a dry plant, even if it looks like it's already lost. Sometimes it can recover and a beautiful flower surprisingly grows.
5. Accepting changes with understanding and trying to adjust accordingly. Who knows, this might be the chance I was looking for. Anyone knows of a studio apartment, btw?
6. Taking a detour. A few days ago, while walking back from the farmers market I decided to deviate from my regular route home. This turned out to be a great idea as I discovered one of the most beautiful streets around I didn't know existed. Impressive houses, lots of greenery, dream-like. Really, a countryside in the middle of the city!
7. Groceries! Every visit in the grocery store costs me more than I have planed to spend. Even if I enter "only for milk", I leave with a few fruits, vegetables and Lotus biscuits. Ok, some of them are essentials, but I also eat out these days... I'm still looking for solutions for this problem but one of solutions I would like to try is checking what I have in the pantry before going, Usually I have pasta, almonds, beans and tomato sauce. This can be a base for a great meal, all I need to buy is lettuce, tomato and baby carrots and I'm good.
8. Be interested and patient with people. I have met a wonderful 80 years old architect, who was showing me an apartment he had for rent. I ended up staying for over an hour as he was going through fascinating stories about his life- how he used to have meals at Giulia Child's house, not far away from where he lives in Cambridge. Stories from his army service during Korean war in the 50's. He showed me his greens and tomatoes garden as he recalled his childhood in Alabama, back in the day when the family was poor and his mother used to can everything they grew in their yard. What a special man and what an interesting life he had. I only had to ask and listen.
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY: Chinese composer Gu Gan Ru, the piece: Four Studies of Peking Opera (2003) for string quartet & piano.
Amusing, eastern references are everywhere with much originality! Thanks to Asaf Peres for mentioning him.
* MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY : I found this on Facebook and thought it was fantastic! The Italian conductor, Riccardo Muti, director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra speaks beautifully and with humor about conducting.
I just arrived home- the one that is in this country. This has been one long journey- from Israel to Boston to Nebraska, Chicago and back in Boston now. I'm remembering my goings in the past week.
At the end of my three-week long residency there was this accumulation of events and emotions that grew out of the preceding weeks. The thirst to know more just grew and everything discovered was even more significant as time got shorter. Dinners, breakfasts and chats with other artists were always interesting, but towards the end it intensifies. I am happy for that opportunity to interact with other artists, it was very enriching. I find about their work process and emotional turbulence while working on their creations. We discovered some similiarities between different diciplins. Hearing what kind of blocks they encounter and how they work them out, watching the excitement in their eyes while they are telling about it was catching. My excitement about my own projects started growing more and more as I finally felt I am "living" my piece- it constantly plays in my head. Walking on the streets of this town, where my feet know exactly where to take me, I imagine some parts of the piece and match the rhythm of my walking to the rhythm of the music.
I take these valuable encounters, and hopefully new friendships, with me and will be missing all of this! I will also miss my studio and the black upright Yamaha piano with its warm sound. Ah, I got so used now to be loud as much as I need to and practice whenever I like, without thinking if I disturb anyone. After a night of songs and beer, it was time to say goodbye, pack my things quickly sleep 3 hours and move on to my next destination on the map: Chicago!
This was my first time in Chicago. It was quit a change after the small, cosy environment I have been in the past weeks. A few people recommended me about things I should do while I am there. Firstly and most importantly, the purpose of this visit is to meet with an old friend from home (the home that is across the ocean) and what a pleasure it was! Two foreigners meeting in this giant city of skyscrapers, observing everything it has to offer and this already was quit an adventure! I must say, there is no better tour guide than Iddo! His knowledge of different parts of the city is incredible! We took the architecture cruise tour (which was fantastic!) and a tour inside the Intercontinental hotel on the Magnificent Mile (which is gorgeous and free), ate burgers at Billy the Goat (a true landmark but it's so hard to miss under the bridge), we even watched an outdoor free orchestra concert at the Millennium Park (this park is one of the best parks I've seen, so far! it offers many attractions, it's beautifully organized and so many people are enjoying it). We also spent time socializing with Iddo's friend. And in between all this, there was also time for a good catching up over a tasty fruit tart and some singing & playing time :) Singing with Iddo is one of the most fun things I can think of doing. our voices mix so well together and he can play almost everything on both the guitar and the keyboard.
This is of course, a brief summery of events. I was also featured on Composers Circle this week and received lots of "likes" on Facebook. It warmed my heart to know that people listen to my music. Yesterday I got an email from an Italian cellist who is interested in my music :) Cheers to great things that append and that will come!
*MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY : The Beatles, rooftop concert on the top of Apple Studios in London, January 30, 1969. The songs they performed: Get back, I want you, Don't let me down, I've got a feeling, Dig a pony.
I Rediscoverd with Iddo how amazing the Beatles were!
*See if you can understand what that man is saying at 08:01 ;)
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.
Just 3 more days left for this residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I am craving for some activities other than working on my music. This was one reason for my visit at the Nelson House Museum, last Saturday. I literally crossed the street to the museum, together with my house-mate, Meryl. It was a nice change of scene for both of us.
Nelson house was built in 1853. The floral and strips wallpaper patterns and the furniture and decor in the living room threw me off to the Victorian time period. I am always fascinated to meet live history and this house was definitely that; it allowed me to have a snick pick into history. The people of that time had their little tricks to make their lives a bit more comfortable and enjoyable, as it shows from their chair design- the ladies chairs were designed without arms to make the ladies more comfortable to sit in their long skirts. Men had, what it's called, a mustache-mag, a mag designed to help gentleman to keep their mustaches dry while zipping their tea/coffee... For entertainment, people had their own version of "3D" pictures, which they would look at through a special device. A book laying on the far away table catches Meryl's eye. It is a bible for home usage. Meryl got permission to take a closer look. As book-arts-ardent, Meryl was ecstatic from this finding! I was interested and approached. The old book was fragile and charming with beautiful illustrations and fonts. Even I started to become excited about this finding.
Downstairs, was a kitchen, where it was cooler in the summers and warmer in the winters than the upper level of the house. So, this room used to serve as the main room where the family would gather. One of its walls showed all three layers from different additions of the house, including the original lime stone the house was built from. It must not have been easy to warm the house up back in those times with that little wood/coal oven. Another interesting accessory was the whole clothes-washing set of instruments, made of wood and iron. Our lady guid explains to us the process: water had to be draw from the whale, then boiled (for that you had to operate the heating oven). With the boiled water they would grade the cloths on a wash board. Then, they would iron the cloths with a super heavy iron (I held it). Here are some links where you can read more about it: http://www.ebparks.org/Assets/files/Laundry_19th_Century_06-01-09.pdf
It seems such a draining job! I will defiantly remember this next time I complain that I have to go down to the basement to wash my garderobe in the washing machine ;)
The lady guide was impressively knowledgeable with the history of Nebraska City, remembering so many details. Not only did she tell us many anecdotes of the city from it's early establishment but she also knew additional facts to the information that was hanged up on wall about the cornet band and the Opera house. Apperantly they were blooming in the 19th century in Nebraska City. Opera house in Nebraska City! Well, this discovery was clearly the highlight of my visit! :)
It is when your loved ones celebrate their birthday without you, year after year, living so far away from home converts to a gordian experience. The clock shows me it is 6PM over here = 1AM over there, in Israel... my middle sister is now officialy one year older! congratulations! :)
It is a custom in my family to stay awake until the clock hits midnight, the night before the actual "big day", to say "Mazal tov", make bless the "owner of the celebration" (ba'al hasimcha, in Hebrew) with many wishes for the coming year and in general, and hand she/he kisses. My sister will celebrate her birthday with our nuclear family in a restaurant gathering, as every year. They will enjoy a good meal and stories while sournding the table and will mention me. I will also think about them at some point during my daily activities. Living abroad is a sacrifice and I know it. I don't regret about the life I chose but rather so grateful to be able to follow my dream. However, birthdays are always hard! And mine is coming up soon..., again, far away from home, far away from my family.
This blog is about new music, composing, living, experiencing. Thank you for visiting, feel free to leave a comment!