It’s a little bittersweet but I have returned from my amazing 2 month European trip which included 2 weeks in London and Paris with the USC Trojan Marching Band and 6 weeks in Berlin with smart/friendly/amazing composers while studying composition with Professor Samuel Adler. My time with Adler provided me an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most intelligent and accomplished living composers, and I have truly grown immensely from the experience. Adler set high expectations from me and, because of this, I was able to complete a piece for solo flute as well as two movements for brass octet (a fast jazz-fugue and an even faster scherzo) in the brief 6 week program.
I have already been home for a few days and I have begun mixing up the events of my last three weeks (since my last blog post) but let’s try to recap: Germany lost in the semi-finals of the Euro 2012 to Italy, Spain beat Italy in the final, I had a very nice/expensive/hipster dinner with the other composers and a vegetarian cuisine restaurant, I had my piece for solo flute premiered, I finished two short movements for brass octet (to be a part of a larger set of 5), I visited the city of Leipzig (where Bach lived and composed as well as Mendelssohn and the Schumann’s), I attended an amazing concert in the Thomaskirche at Leipzig (the church Bach was cantor at), I visited the royal palaces at Potsdam, I went to the Deutsches Historisches Museum and The Story of Berlin (both amazing museums), I failed to get tickets to a sold out West Side Story, got invited to more free concerts by Adler, and I’m sure that there’s even more that I’m missing. To say it shortly, I had an amazing time and I learned a huge amount in a very short time.
The premiere of my flute solo was a great experience: we worked once in a rehearsal with the performers the weekend before the Wednesday (July 4th) performance and again with them a few hours before the concert. Aaron Dan (http://www.berlincounterpoint.com/) was a wonderful musician to work with and produced a very accurate and musical performance of my piece; I could not thank him enough. The pieces by other composers went brilliantly as well and overall the night was a great success. It was the perfect way to finish our time studying and being in Berlin. The concert even took place in a historical synagogue that was trashed on Kristallnacht (a night in November of 1938 where Nazis attacked all Jewish places of worship and business across the country) and later reconstructed.
Now that I am home and finished with my amazing summer in Europe, I get to look forward to moving apartments in a few weeks and applying to graduate programs all fall, a daunting set of tasks. Thanks for taking the time to read about my travels, I plan to continue updating my blog over time with more about my pieces, things happening in my life, and reviews of concerts or albums that I love (or hate!).