Blogging Elsewhere!

Greetings!  Just wanted to share my latest blog post, which appears on the Chicago Q Ensemble page.  It discusses our latest experience in the recording studio creating our upcoming CD of Kyle Vegter’s music, the music of FJORDS.  Enjoy!


Upcoming Shenanigans!

Just wanted to write about a couple of upcoming concerts and projects that I’m pretty excited about!  First of all, my quartet, Chicago Q Ensemble, is gearing up for a cool collaboration between a poet, a composer, and a shadow puppet troupe, called FJORDS.  The performances of FJORDS will take place the weekend of February 23rd at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, with a run-out show at the Empty Bottle on March 2nd.  And in the meantime, besides rehearsing, we’re fundraising!!  Check out our Kickstarter and watch the awesome video that the folks at Manual Cinema (the shadow puppet company) made!  If you feel like chipping in a few bucks, we would be most obliged!

Also on the horizon, I will be getting together soon with Tarn Travers and Louise Chan to put on some trio concerts!  We’ll be performing at the Music Institute of Chicago on December 18th and 19th, and then taking it on the road to perform in St. Louis on December 21st.  If you’re interested in getting tickets for the St. Louis concert, click here.  Hope to see you there!

Chicago Q Ensemble

Well, my life has certainly been taking some interesting twists and turns lately!  For the last 3 years, I have been completely immersed in the orchestral world.  Playing in orchestra every week, practicing for orchestral auditions diligently, taking lessons with orchestral musicians…In other words, living, breathing, and dreaming of ORCHESTRA.  I knew it was time for a change, and that’s probably why I ended up starting the Gesher Music Festival–sometimes, you just need a little chamber music in your life!  Well, I suppose you could say I asked for it, because now I’m the latest member of the Chicago Q Ensemble, a string quartet dedicated to making chamber music accessible and engaging through collaboration, performance and education.  It’s an all-female ensemble, and the other members are a true delight, both personally and musically.  In lieu of a professional photo, here’s a casual shot we took yesterday just to have at least ONE picture of us together. (since I’ve only been with them for 2 weeks now, we’ve had more important things to do like REHEARSE than schedule photoshoots!)

Aimee (viola), Kate (violin), Ellen (violin), and yours truly

I’m so excited for this new step in my career–playing chamber music has always been a passion of mine, but I never thought it would realistically turn into a tangible career path.  We have some really exciting things lined up for this year, starting with a concert inspired by ambitious dreamers:

If you’re interested, you can order tickets online.  Also, stay tuned for more info about our upcoming collaboration with a poet, a composer, and a shadow puppet troupe.  Or get more details here if that vague statement left you curious.

I can’t wait to start performing with these fabulous musicians–I hope some of you will be able to make it to our concerts this year!

New Beginnings

Well, I finished my 3rd and final year of New World last May and had a fantastic summer–I traveled to Aldeburgh, England for the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, returned for a 3rd summer at the Wintergreen Music Festival, and I ran (with the help of my wonderful mother) the inaugural Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists, which was a great success!  So….now what, you may ask?  I’m moving to Chicago!  I’m finally moving back in with Richard (wait, 3 years of long distance including 1 year of long-distance marriage isn’t normal??) and, while he continues to teach at The Music Academy in Rockford (which got a fancy new name since they disassociated themselves from Rockford College), I’ll be looking for freelance work in and around the Chicago area.

I’m sure lots of interesting things will be coming up for me throughout the year that I’m not expecting yet, but some of the projects I’m already sure to be participating in are…

-I won a seat in the Elgin Symphony and will be playing with them all year

-I’m starting a trio with violinist Tarn Travers and pianist Louise Chan–we are currently setting up concerts for this December, so stay tuned!

-I’ll still be traveling occasionally to Miami to play with the Firebird Chamber Orchestra, the orchestra of Seraphic Fire

-Richard and I will be starting a little cello-duo business.  So if you know anyone in the Chicago area who’s getting married or throwing a party, send them our way!

-I will be playing with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra

-I will be subbing with the Milwaukee Symphony on occasion, and hopefully others…

I’m very excited for this new stage in my career, and will continue updating the blog with my current adventures, as well as the calender on my website for the latest happenings.

Also, now that I’m on WordPress, please become a subscriber to my blog!  I FINALLY have a fully functional website, might as well make use of it!

Gesher Music Festival Success!


Well, our inaugural season of the Gesher Music Festival is over and it was a smashing success!  We played 4 chamber music concerts, 1 gala and 5 outreach events, and everything went incredibly well.  The musicians (pictured above) were all fantastic and the audiences were impressed and inspired.  We’re already beginning to throw around some dates for next year’s festival.

The concerts were not reviewed by any critics, but we did get quite a bit of press in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jewish Light, the Beacon, and St. Louis Public Radio.  Be sure to check out these articles and interviews!

“Chamber music makes connections”–St. Louis Beacon

“Festival connects audiences, chamber music”–St. Louis Jewish Light

“Chamber music festival aims to build cultural bridges”–St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Gesher Music Festival hopes to connect emerging artists with new audiences”–St. Louis Beacon

Interviews with the Gesher Music Festival participants–St. Louis Beacon

“NJT presents inaugural Gesher Music Festival”–St. Louis Jewish Light

Interview about Gesher Music Festival on St. Louis Public Radio’s Cityscape

Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists

Every summer for the last 16 years, I have been going to music festivals.  Sometimes I just go for a week, sometimes for an entire summer.  This is always the most special part of the year because it is generally the ONLY time of year when we musicians actually have the flexibility in our schedules and the freedom to play lots of chamber music with good friends.  This year, I am excited to announce that I will be starting my own chamber music festival, the Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists.  I have asked many of my friends from all over the country to travel to St. Louis for a week at the end of June to play chamber music with me in the new Marvin and Harlene Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center.  I am also extremely fortunate to be running this enterprise with my mother.  As the festival is a program of her theater, the New Jewish Theater, she is overseeing most of the administrative duties, including securing a generous grant from the Silk Foundation of St. Louis. 


I could write more about what the festival will be about and what the programming will be like, but I think I’ll just send you straight over here, which explains it all…


Oh, but one more thing that I just can’t hold back!  Of course, when starting a new project like this, it’s always difficult to convince people that it’s a good idea and it will be a successful endeavor.  I am incredibly honored to say that, after sharing my plans with Michael Tilson Thomas, my conductor and mentor at the New World Symphony and the Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, he has shown such faith that he wrote this letter of endorsement and also made a generous donation to the festival.


I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in St. Louis for a week of exciting and thought-provoking concerts and events from June 26th through July 3rd!





YouTube Symphony Orchestra


A few days ago I returned home from my trip to sunny, summery Sydney, Australia!  While I was in Sydney, I visited with the kangaroos and koalas, climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and took as many self-guided walking tours of the various neighborhoods of the city as I could fit in.  But what I was really there for, and what was byfar the most fulfilling part of the trip, was rehearsing and performing with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House.


Before going, I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I knew there would be musicians from 33 different countries whose ages ranged from 15 to 49.  I knew there would be huge differences in playing styles and even bigger differences in levels of orchestral experience among the musicians.  I’ll admit, I was a bit worried about what the orchestra would sound like.  And the first rehearsal was, truthfully, really rocky.  But by the final performance, not only did we sound good enough that we could have been mistaken for a professional ensemble, but it actually didn’t even matter how we sounded.  As strange as it seems to say, the way the orchestra sounded really wasn’t the point of the performance.  In fact, the point was to look for the bigger picture beyond the usual snobbery of classical music performances.  The real purpose of the YTSO was to engage the general public all around world in classical music for the first time in a very long time.  For too long, symphony concerts have only attracted wealthy, elderly audiences.  The genius of the YouTube Symphony is that anyone, anywhere, could watch the concert for free as long as they had a computer and an internet connection.  They could watch it at their own pace, catch bits and pieces of it, turn it off and come back to it later, and let it cater to their own lives instead of making them cater to the “tradition” that is a typical symphony orchestra performance.  As of yesterday, 4 days after the concert was first streamed live on YouTube, it had been viewed over 33 million times.  This officially made it the most frequently viewed live concert ever in the history of the video-sharing website.  The band U2 previously held the record until this week.  The concert was innovative in other unique ways too, though.  Throughout the performance, lighting and video artists turned the inside AND the outside of the Sydney Opera House into a palette of colors and designs with their creative projections.  It was a true marriage of music and technology, as each was enhanced by the other.  The photo above was taken of the outside of the opera house during the performance; as the sound and sights were transmitted to a park across the harbor for people to experience the concert outdoors, the sails of the opera house were also painted by projectors throughout the evening.


If 33 million people watched this concert, what does it say about the so-called “death” of classical music?  It seems to me that instead of talking about classical music’s death, we should be propelling it into the future and talking about more ways to link music and technology, live-streaming, video/lighting/projection arts, and any other resources we can think of to keep the symphony orchestra alive and relevant in the 21st century.  There’s no question that the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra was a success, but it didn’t necessarily succeed because the orchestra sounded fantastic.  It succeeded because it paved the way for classical music to move forward in this constantly changing world.



click here to watch the youtube symphony orchestra performance!


go to the youtube symphony orchestra homepage