It has been an exciting couple of weeks for this composer, and the end of March is even more filled with fun, with the Pittsburgh Symphony reading my piece, Carnegie-Mellon performing it, and then a student chamber recital the very next day. But for now, I've had the pleasure of seeing and meeting some really great musicians that I've admired, which for some reason I felt I never had the same experience at my undergrad. We certainly had our share of special guests there, but perhaps Pittsburgh's pull for celebrities is stronger, or I've been less shy to go up to someone and shake hands. A while ago I got to meet the composer in residence of the Symphony this year, John Corigliano. He chose my piece for the symphony reading, and he flies in from NYC from time to time for premiers and performances. He turned 70 this year, but doesn't look it. Sally and I got a picture with him, and we're all wearing our thick-rimmed glasses. Bummer that mine aren't red, or we'd be triplets.
Then, I got to see Evelyn Glennie up close and personal, at the autograph signing after her performance at the symphony (John Corigliano wrote a percussion concerto for her which she premiered in Pittsburgh.) I should have known that we weren't going to have a conversation, as she is deaf. And a superstar. The line for autographs was really long. Still, she signed a CD I had of her playing the Macmillan 'Veni, Veni Emmanuel' and she is completely glamorous, and every move she makes is fluid and graceful. Her performance was unbelievable- she improvised cadenzas that I wished would go on and on, using everything from pieces of wood to marimba, timpani, gongs, and drums.
Two nights ago, I got to meet and chat with the composer Ricky Ian Gordon! First I started off as the doorman, but luckily I got to join the party after all the guests arrived. We chatted briefly about a song I used to listen to while I was an undergrad and it really moved me- it was one of those songs you stumble upon at the end of a CD (actually, the AIDS Quilt Songbook), which I was listening to as it also featured a Vassar professor. Ricky's song was last and I copied the music so I could play it myself. I've played that song for years, and he seemed very appreciative to hear that. We also compared striped suit jackets and devoured some delicious petit fours together. The evening was made complete by seeing admired faculty members relax for once and enjoy a glass (or three) of wine, and then everyone gave hugs goodbye. If only we drank wine and then hugged at the end of every harmonic analysis. Hugs would make a Schenkerian "Zug" so much sweeter. Hugs for Zugs!!
There are still more musical guests to come!