It has been a busy few months of piano! The New York Opera Conservatory started its summer program in June, with five weeks of rehearsals and shows of Lucia di Lamermoor and then five weeks of rehearsals and shows of Les pêcheurs de perles. Performances of pêcheurs are coming up in a week and a half, check the calendar for more info!
In addition to the NYOC, I was also recruited by soprano Crystal Glenn to perform with her for an outdoor concert in Wappingers Falls, Opera in the Park on July 22nd. The concert was a thrilling success with a surprisingly large audience. We did an array of arias, art songs, and spirituals, and I got to play a few of my solo pieces as a preview for my upcoming solo Ravel concert later this year!
The other major project I have going on right now is the CD project with Kristina Cook! We officially had our first recording session on July 25th, where we had a three hour marathon session at Oktaven Audio to see if we could record everything we did at the concert in May as well as the complete Shéhérazade, which we had performed back in December 2019. It was the first time for both of us recording for a CD in a studio, which is a very different experience both from live performance and recording for an audition.
Recording for auditions and pre-screening is what convinced me I hated recording and I never wanted to do it again. You get all the drawbacks of live performance (only one shot from beginning to end of a piece) with the added stress of "was that good enough? Should I try to record this entire 10 minute piece again?" without any of the energy and appreciation from a live audience.
However, recording for a CD is completely different and almost fun. It is allowed, expected, and encouraged to mix and match and splice together pieces from different takes in order to create a product we feel is the most musically authentic to both the composer's and our own intentions. There is no pressure to make it through 10+ minutes of music without making any mistakes, we can just try again from partway through!
The next step for the project is to review all the materials from our session last Sunday to figure out what we like and which sections from which takes we want to keep to put together for the final project. We have to create an edit map to send back to the recording engineer of all of our desired splices, so we have a busy time ahead to review three hours of audio! Then we get to prepare another 10 or so songs to bring to another session later on this year.
I will probably be going back to Oktaven alone to record some solo pieces later on this year as well. I want to be doing a better job of putting together high quality recordings of all the things for the Whimsical Birdsong project, so when all is said and done I have more than just concert programs saying I did it, I will have a set of CDs documenting my journey as well!
Now that things are starting to calm down again I'm looking forward to focusing on my solo repertoire again and really prepare for this concert in the fall. Until next time!