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's a hot day here in Nebraska city 97°C / 36°C! and it will only get hotter as the week progresses. Sitting on the patio was impossible, even with occasional visiting winds.
Today, so far has been a frustrating composing day. Do you know that feeling of standing in one place when you need to be running? The amount of time and effort one puts into their work does not corresponds with the results. At the end of a full day of composing I might end up having 5 new measures (3-6 seconds of music), after erasing everything I have done the day before. This is what I call "a frustrating composing day". The best solution for this kind of situation is taking a break and coming back to work refreshed.
On my break I went to the post office, which was actually a very nice experience. People in this town do not stop to amaze me with their kindness and patience. Usually, going to the post office is not one of my favorite things to do; there is always a long line and the workers seem quite unhappy. I can't really blame them, it must be no fun having to do the same action for hundreds of times a day and recite: "do you have anything liquid or perishable?" over and over. For the costumer it is no fun, either. When standing in queue I calculate every word I am about to say because when it is my turn no mistakes can be made. Well, I faced a nice surprise at Nebraska City's post office. I got the much needed assistance and great care there. Finally! a pleasant experience using the postal service :) Boy, I am going to miss this place!
THE MUSIC INSPIRATION OF THE DAY: a little "blast from the past"
The English band Tears for Fears, song title: "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (1989).
Empowering and feels like I want to hug the whole world.
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 ;) ***
The people of Nebraska City are one of the friendliest and welcoming! They have no problem picking up a conversation with you- a stranger in their town. A woman walking her dog started talking to me about the lovely morning chil, we admired it together. Yesterday, while finishing up my groceries (I always buy to much) a person standing behind me in line offered me a ride from the groceries store back to the Center, just like that. She even got off her car to help me with my bags. I loved that the cachier person asked her how her mother is doing. It seems that everyone knows each other here, like in a Kibbutz. Most impressivly, the people of this area smile to you- thing I don't take for granted.
They also love antiques ;-)
This blog is about new music, composing, living, experiencing. Thank you for visiting, feel free to leave a comment!