In a clever tie-in to Pittsburgh's recent Festival of Firsts, this weekend was full of first-time things for me, and I can almost hardly stand all of the excitement from it!
Cutting to the chase: In rehearsal on Thursday night, I got to meet John Adams. This is HUGE! John Adams is my favorite living composer. I'd say my favorite composer of all time, but that place is hard to say, what with Steve Reich and John Luther Adams and so many other composers working today. But John Adams, I've already written a piece in tribute to him! And he was just sitting in the audience, listening to the rehearsal, and Sally, Kate, and I were able to go up to him and chat. I just said hello and small-talked for a moment, but it was a moment of being in the presence of one's idol and knowing that he's just a cool-seeming guy. A guy who is also living history in the story of great American classical music. His music continues to get better and inspire me more and more, and I hope to talk with him for realz when he returns to Pittsburgh to conduct the choir in January.
Friday day was crazy. A tour group came into work and ate at the cafe without giving us advanced notice, causing me and my administrative colleagues to take up restaurant duty, and as I'm trying to take orders and calm people down, I don't know how to work the cash register, so I'm running to work the admissions desk (meanwhile screwing up my sales reports for Monday), and also worked the shop that morning. Lindsay in Membership is an excellent dishwasher, however.
Then, Friday night, I sang with Mendelssohn Choir to premier a work written for Pittsburgh's 250th Birthday (aka Sesquibicentennial Hooplah and Fireworks Extravaganza). The piece is by composer Derek Bermel and lyricist Wendy S. Walters. There are some really cool textures in the piece, and it is my first time on Heinz Hall stage, first time premiering a large work, first performance with Mendelssohn Choir, and first performance sharing stage space with the Pittsburgh Symphony!
I also premiered a pre-concert song by a friend, Scott Wasserman, with fabulous texts by Julie Brown. So I also played piano on Heinz Hall stage, and my, is that a beautiful-sounding instrument. I savored the moment.
More firsts! Saturday night I played and sang at the Warhol Museum. I accompanied Scott's piece again, and played and sang (simultaneously) a second Wasserman song called "Dirty Spoon". Dare I say I rocked the house with it. It was by far the best song of the evening, being a raunchy blues from the perspective of a kitchen utensil. But it was the best only in part due to my delivery of the lines "I make you come...undone" and "I'm a spoon, mama, caress my curve..." and mostly due to the fact that Scott is an insanely talented composer. Also, Scott is only 20. And also knowing how cool Julie is makes me want to find a librettist with whom I can write a gazillion songs.