Good Ol' Lexington
Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky. A VERY different work from the previous week's Shostakovich Concerto. Not too much is shared mood-wise between these two Russian giants. This week was a lot of fun, I met many new people and also got to see an old friend as well as my Aunt Judy and Cousin Sarah, who came to see the Friday night concert. It was another orchestral debut - my first time with the Lexington Philharmonic. It is also the first season for their conductor, Scott Terrell. The Maestro seemed to be working with the orchestra very well, and I was happy to have the opportunity to face the group during our first rehearsal in order to get a sense of the players' engagement. Throughout the week the details came together more and more, and by the time we got to the performance I felt that we were really able to let go and just have fun.
During the week there were also several interviews, and I was able to give a lecture/presentation for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kentucky which was well attended by a very inquisitive group. On Thursday I met the professor of cello at Eastern Kentucky University, Nathan Jasinski - a bright young cellist who has many friends in common with myself. We headed to Richmond, KY where I gave a masterclass for his students and many of the other string students at the school.
In between all of this I hit up many of the downtown restaurants at the recommendation of Maestro Terrell. On in particular stood out: Stella's. At this good Kentucky one-room homestyle deli in the perfect yellow house a few blocks from my hotel, the food was all super-tasty but the big sell is something called "Mary Porter Pie". Apparently, Mary Porter was making a pie out of the church cookbook, and didn't realized that two of the pages were stuck together. The two different recipes mixed in a way that was too good not to repeat, and a legend as well as an amazing pie were born. I also got to try a good Indian restaurant and an Italian place (Bella Notte) that had calamari I won't soon forget. And of course, being in Kentucky, I had to have some Maker's Mark and plenty of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale during the course of the week while the Maestro, new staff at the Phil and I went exchanged greetings from mutual friends and played connect-the-dots with our musician backgrounds.
My poor driver, an intern at UK, had to pick me up at 4:30 AM for the flight back to NY. I had the best delay ever - being a frequent flier on United paid off when our plane was held up for repairs and the most loyal customers were placed on another flight where Midge and I were upgraded to First Class! Of course, I slept the whole flight and missed enjoying all of the fancy privileges I was so happy about but I DID get to lean extra far back...
Now, a few days in NY with catching up, meetings and sheet music/clothes changing out before it's out to San Francisco to spend some time with my girlfriend and work on some interesting projects with composer friends out there. Exciting stuff that I will divulge when the time is right!
Oh, by the way, a traveling thought: Why does E.T. have such big eyes?
Because he saw his phone bill.