Syrinx: XXII

Syrinx : XXII — back at work!

August at the beach? 'Fraid not! August finds me happily rehearsing a fantastic new program with Syrinx : XXII: António Carrilho, recorders and Raj Bhimani, piano. 

We are preparing for our return tour to India in November, taking a program of gorgeous works from four centuries, including Bach, Gluck, Schubert and Mozart, works by living Portuguese composers and the premier of a new trio by Sören Sieg, to boot!

Raj snapped this cool photo of me warming up on the bass flute for the Sieg work—a rollicking fun and beautiful trio that uses the bass flute to perfection—thank you, dear Sören, once again!

 Why is the bass flute just so cool?

Why is the bass flute just so cool?

India Travelogue: the Whirlwind Begins!

Nov. 2016—Our first two, oops, three! concerts have already taken place since I last wrote—such is the touring life: lots of packing and unpacking, setting up, taking down, travel, EATING (great food!), and trying to fit in some sleep! 

The first concert was at the "Piano Man" Jazz Club in Delhi, which was a totally chic venue with a fantastically warm audience, many of whom were hearing their first-ever live Western classical music concert! We were honored! The Club features not only Jazz, but every kind of music, including Indian Classical music and Western pop music of all kinds. A great openness to all music is the result!

The Club has produced over 380 concerts in just 14 months, IMAGINE THAT! 

Our concert was tremendously well-received, with special kudos to the new trio by Carlos Marecos' which had its premiere. Many in the audience came up afterwards to mention how moved they were by the work, which depicts seven rural villas in Portugal with the special harmonic genius of Marecos setting the scene for each. Thank you, Carlos, for such a magnificent piece!!

Photos: Arjun Sagar Gupta, owner of the Piano Man; a fine collection of recorders; Syrinx : XX colleagues rehearsing; a seriously cool chandelier made of, well, trumpets!!

Today! First Concert in India!

Time is flying and today we'll have our first concert here in Delhi, India, at the Piano Man Jazz Club!  Along with that excitement, we've launched a FaceBook Artist page for Syrinx : XXII where you can follow us, and we'll be premiering the fantastic work written for us by Carlos Marecos, "7 Instantes from Rural Portugal" , Op. 92. Also, there is a great article about another of the works on the program written up in Serenade Magazine, which is an online magazine about Western Classical Music in India—and a very fine and interesting magazine it is!

Yesterday we fit in a bit of proper tourism, visiting Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. This preceeds the Taj Mahal by some 80 years, dating to the 16th century, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the first garden-tomb complex, with various buildings and the central tomb; the Mughal style later culminated in the Taj Mahal, which is some five times larger! Yet the scale and proportions and sheer beauty of the layout at Humayun's Tomb were already a delight, and as it was a holiday, there were many locals as well as tourists enjoying the visit in a leisurely manner.  

A few photos here—I especially liked the coexistence of the very modern "selfie" moment, fine dress of a young man, and the beautiful, centuries-old monument in the background of the first photo! 

 

 The international gesture of the moment… 

The international gesture of the moment… 

 The sarcophagus in the very center

The sarcophagus in the very center

 View of the gardens from the tomb

View of the gardens from the tomb

 Happy tourists! 

Happy tourists! 

Back to Work!

After a day of rest, it's back to work, rehearsing for our upcoming concerts! We were grateful to the Delhi Music Society for the use of their largest room to unpack gear and rehearse for many hours. A great pleasure also to again take up preparing for the premiere of Carlos Marecos' fantastic work written for us, "7 Instantes from Rural Portugal" for flutes, recorders and piano. Marecos is famous for sensuous melodies and harmonies—effortless mastery, really—and we are sure the audience will love the work as much as we already do! Lots of other works, covering five centuries of music, on the program too, so we think there will be something, hopefully many things, on the program for everyone! 

More photos of the day! 

 Powell Flutes, unpacked and ready to go, plus a lovely Soubeyran traverso! 

Powell Flutes, unpacked and ready to go, plus a lovely Soubeyran traverso! 

 Just a few of the many recorders to be used for the program… 

Just a few of the many recorders to be used for the program… 

 A lovely Bõsendorfer piano owned by the Delhi Music Society. Ivory tops of keys nailed down due to humidity causing the glue to "melt". 

A lovely Bõsendorfer piano owned by the Delhi Music Society. Ivory tops of keys nailed down due to humidity causing the glue to "melt". 

 Masks to protect against the smoke (receding, fortunately) in Delhi—better safe than sorry.  

Masks to protect against the smoke (receding, fortunately) in Delhi—better safe than sorry.  

 Best news of the day: Hotel Concierge with our delayed luggage! Whew! 

Best news of the day: Hotel Concierge with our delayed luggage! Whew! 

Namaste — Welcome to India!

We've arrived! Smooth flights, friendly passengers next to us, even sleep on the plane! Delhi is recovering from the smoke-out much in the news last week, and we (wind players!) are grateful! 

So far, the most striking thing is the kindness and competence of the people here—having had our luggage miss the connection in Heathrow, our first task was to get that sorted out. Helpful people at every step, most appreciated. We're acclimating in a gorgeous hotel and that helps, too, but it is clear that courtesy is common currency here.  

Along these lines, I've learned that "namaste" is not a greeting for yoga classes only! The word, palms-together and slight bow greeting is the norm here for everyday use—a beautiful gesture which colors one's experience immediately. For the rest, some photos from the first day: colorful contrasts!

 Syrinx : XXII colleague António Carrilho at the beautiful airport in Delhi, India

Syrinx : XXII colleague António Carrilho at the beautiful airport in Delhi, India

 One of many different modes of transport in Delhi — great colors! 

One of many different modes of transport in Delhi — great colors! 

 A healthy "mocktail" with ginger, raspberry and lime—cheers! 

A healthy "mocktail" with ginger, raspberry and lime—cheers! 

 Refreshing cucumber drink, a great cure for traveler's dehydration! 

Refreshing cucumber drink, a great cure for traveler's dehydration! 

 Syrinx : XXII Reunited on a new/old continent! 

Syrinx : XXII Reunited on a new/old continent! 

Amazing INDIA! Syrinx : XXII Tour!

We're almost on our way…to India!! A huge, storied country I've dreamt of visiting for decades! Best of all, I'll be there with my colleagues of Syrinx : XXII, António Carrilho, recorders, and Raj Bhimani, piano, performing in numerous cities and venues in various parts of this enormous country. A life in music occasionally brings these extraordinary rewards, to compensate for the hours of slogging away in a practice room, no?

I've set up a page about the tour on the site, and will be blogging as we go along. So follow us here on this adventure, starting on the 11th of November. For as much as I've heard and read and especially EATEN of Indian culture, I've also heard that it really must be experienced in person, and is one of the most memorable destinations in the world, so bring it on!

Here's the poster for our first performance, in a more casual setting: the Jazz Club (!) of Delhi! Poster and concert presenting by Sardana Creative Consultancy—thank you!!

 Syrinx : XXII—photo by Rita Delille

Syrinx : XXII—photo by Rita Delille

Syrinx : XXII - It's a wrap! (HOT!!)

Global warming has arrived, in case there were any doubt! After ten days of Syrinx : XXII rehearsals in the sweltering heat of Lisbon, we escaped to…more heat in the north! Not all was lost; the rehearsals were fantastic—fun and creative as always, and the north was beautiful beyond our (already very) high expectations!

At the end of the last day of rehearsals, we relaxed for a photo shoot in the elegant Lisbon Opera House. Like the rehearsals, the shoot was entertaining, entirely due to my patient and cheerful colleagues, Raj Bhimani, piano and António Carrilho, recorders. We extend our most grateful appreciation to the Opera House for their support, and to photographer Rita Delille, for her talent and good humor!

 Syrinx : XXII, with Raj Bhimani and António Carrilho

Syrinx : XXII, with Raj Bhimani and António Carrilho

Vital Signs

I've had the good fortune this week of meeting and talking with the American pianist Nelson Ojeda Valdès, a fellow native of Los Angeles, California (which I don't come across too often here in Lisbon!) He's a friend of also-originally-from-LA pianist Raj Bhimani, who is also here in Lisbon rehearsing for upcoming concerts of Syrinx: XXII, so it's been a California-on-the-Tejo week for me!

Nelson, who is very active in New York as a performer, teacher and adjudicator, has a succinct way to refer to the two basic impulses of music, pulse and breath, calling them the "vital signs". He means that pulse and breath are just as necessary to music as they are to bodily survival; we performers should always strive to communicate these elements clearly to the listener, just as our bodies clearly need both pulse and breath to maintain life. 

Of course, pulse is fundamental—we all know the magic when music makes us tap our foot or want to dance along—and I always love to hear a non-wind-player talking about breathing in relation to music and phrasing. Of course, we flutists and wind players MUST breathe, but the bottom line is that the MUSIC must breathe (even Wagner, eventually…). Nelson's concept helps put the issue of breath on the right footing, as something good and desirable, rather than a necessary evil—I love it!

 Post-rehearsal R&R with pianists Raj Bhimani and Nelson Ojeda Valdès

Post-rehearsal R&R with pianists Raj Bhimani and Nelson Ojeda Valdès

Rehearsal Break - Vegan Food Project, Lisbon

What's the reward for rehearsing in August, when global warming is doing its thing in Lisbon? GREAT FOOD, of course! Wind players are famous for their gastronomic interests, and Syrinx: XXII consists of two wind players plus a gourmet cook/pianist, so the question is settled! Today, we went to the "Vegan Food Project"restaurant near Chiado in Lisbon, and the food was vegan but mostly just amazing, and the service was tops, too. 

After the photo: back to work, most enjoyable, on a selection of works for upcoming concerts—more on that soon!

 Dessert and good cheer—Syrinx: XXII at Vegan Food Project in Lisbon

Dessert and good cheer—Syrinx: XXII at Vegan Food Project in Lisbon