Hello! I am writing this from my apartment in New York - fresh off the heels of my first trip to South America and less than a day before heading out to the West Coast. The trip to Lima, Peru (including a short visit to the Amazon Rainforest) was one that was multi-faceted and inspirational in so many ways.
One of the first surprises I had was at rehearsal, when it turned out that almost everyone in our Brahms Sextet spoke not only Spanish and English, but some German as well! I tried to pick up some Spanish while I was there, but in truth my German was much further along so the majority of our conversations were in quite a funny mixture. Poor Alexis (1st violin in this group) was always slightly suspicious that we might be making musical decisions behind her back whilst sitting directly in front of her... This picture was taken during the "numbering of the measures", something that is recognized worldwide as a very useful procrastination technique for rehearsals! It was interesting to note that when counting fast, everyone automatically resorted to their native tongue...
After several days of rehearsing, and a week of concerts in Miraflores it was great to escape the city for a couple of days. The Amazon Rainforest was mind-boggling, even just flying over it my imagination was running wild with all of the possibilities for exploration. Thoughts of the current global situation were present too. Talking with our guide there, seeing a poly-culture farm, observing the interactions of flora and fauna, and even being surveyed by a Stanford student involved with government efforts to replace coca farms with more environment-friendly crops were all reminders of how connected and precious our world is. Somehow seeing new places always makes me see more of the significance our actions or lack thereof have, even half a world away. People living on the Madre de Dios river are not so different from those of us on the Hudson - and the more I learn about others the more I appreciate the opportunities I have to reach out and share the common connections humans have everywhere.
All of these thoughts - and with the current rush to get ready for the next trip it's nice to take a moment to reflect. How will they affect my interactions with others? What can I learn from this? Can I find a way to make more of an impact through music?
We'll see... in the mean time there's another Popper Etude to record, and I'm grateful for the opportunities that come my way, and all of the extremely varied projects I am able to involve myself in. And the people I get to meet!
Be well Joshua
Afterthought: The Costa family, who hosted us in Lima, really humbled me with their balance in life. In different ways each of them is exploring so many aspects of life, and in great depth too. It was nice to see such strong examples of people who could live a life that includes so much music, and yet they're not even "professional" musicians!