catalysis progress report: june 2009, toward july 2009

ahh. june. a slow month for a change (though some of you may groan in protest since i had a rather enjoyable month of may doing not much of required work but doing so much of throughly exciting activities) and it is starting to move inch by inch. the long awaited banff list have came and the assignments semi-settled, scores located, asked for, rented, printed and slowly but sure being organized movement by movement.

this banff experience is really a surprise dent in my life, in many contexts really. once again, quoting pollan, one cannot just do one thing (now this quote is from his recent book, in defense of food). but for this very specific amusement, i think i will concentrate on the music aspect of it.

LW is the lady who acted as a catalyst for banff bomb. not only she have re-inspired me to look at the classical music with enthusiasm, i am slowly rediscovering the wealth and legacy of this particularly rich tradition of western classical keyboard performance. by the time i was done with my phd, i was tired, or i thought i was tired. tired of music. we dont ever make any money, we are often considered bloody lucky if we break even- unless you get a second job (office gig, house gig, teaching snotty kids, whatever goes). even then, you are really hoping to 'even out.'

well, i say she has been a catalyst. catalyst is a funny thing; it is a substance that initiates or accelerates a reaction, however it remains neutral, away from the reaction itself. it participates in multiple chemical transformation. positive catalysts speed the reaction; with addition of promotors, the catalysis can be even faster!! the opposition, for reference, would be negative catalyst and catalytic poison (additional agent that slows down or cancels the catalysis). so LW definitely is a positve catalyst. and luckily there has been others who were essential promotors- my good old housemate/best buddy PO, mr. salamander, the book bomber, my dear banff saint julie etc., great musician/inspiration PLane, coaching and working with HG, the list may go on for a bit. so i will stop listing for now.

so here is monkey, back on the work bench, plogging away couple notes at a time, reading several staffs at a time, mostly enjoying and having fun. AND even making it even. i will even be completely out of the debt hopefully by the end of the year. that means i cleared all loans (well there really only was that student loan during undergrad years), no credit card bills, owes no-one-not-a-thing-by-numbers! only thing i would owe may be gratitude and thankfulness to all catalysts and promotors of this particular process.

i am getting ready to start to tackle the massive list of repertoire. i will be playing for cello and horn studios for banff summer instrumental program (that means.. i will be working under the great brit cellist r.wallfisch once again! i am so looking forward seeing him again, hooray). and for fun, here are the delicious-mostly-and-some-eclectic-list (well, as it sits for now):

barber cello sonata
bloch schelomo reduction
brahms cello sonata 1 and 2
carter cello sonata
debussy cello sonata
dutilleux cello concerto reduction
dvorak cello concerto reduction
haydn cello concerto 1 and 2
rachmaninoff cello sonata
respighi adagio con varioazioni
rochberg ricordanza
schubert arpeggione sonata
schumann cello concerto reduction
shostakovich cello sonata
shostakovich cello concerto 1
alec wilder suite for horn/piano
eugene bozza sur les cimes for horn
john mccabe the goddess trilogy for horn
oscar morawetz horn sonata
gunther schuller nocturn from horn concerto
mozart horn concerto
schumann adaio and allegro
strauss horn concerto 1 and 2 reduction

haha. now that i have listed them, they look somewhat more menacing. but i know i will not only get through it, but will try and def will enjoy learning - rehearsing - performing process. i like my job. i like being the key monkey. i take pride in fact that i do have very certain set of skills that makes me a good key monkey (ie. sightreading). but do keep in mind that i do lack another set of skills that wouldve made me a good solo pianist (which.. i think.. would be very unlikely at this point), and that i have particular goals that i would like to achieve- such as covering all major works for strings and winds repertoire, and to become one of the 'good' collaborative monkey wherever i would be.

that reaction will take time. heck, it's been taking its time- most notably in my graduate school years. playing non-stop. one of the best education i had was during my doctoral degree where i had the horseshoe to work with dr. bailey's studio, covering almost all of core flute repertoire. and then there's slew of other projects that added so much depth- musically and personally: working - studying- performing at casalmaggiore festival, leipzig-juilliard summer academy, hochschule fur muzik koln summer academy, pablo casals festival, scotiafest, college music society, collegium musicum, mannes school of music contemporary music festival, conducting classes, choir accompanying... and on and on and on.

and luckily there always been promotors and catalysts, pro-monkey, every step of the way. i try to keep in touch with everyone and i do hope that one day they will be happy to think that 'ya, monkey was a quirky, but a good kid.' and also for all the instrumentalists who i had some extraordinary times (ooh there are some that are very dear to my mind- for instance, i better email my brahms quartet cellist jan- as i was thinking of him much today while working on dutilleux and brahms 2; and recently mr. salamander. massive talent kolja lessing with massive challenge of second busoni sonata. also of particular andre-sebastian savoie of montreal, who i dont get to talk too often but is engraved to the back of my skull as an ideal musician model for me)...

i am not totally jaded to think it's all going to be just fun, shits and giggles in july. there'll be some days where i will just yawn and hope i can pop my jaw out only to get out of a rehearsal or something. but i know that i will put in my best efforts and that there'll be more connections and eventful moments to come, some that will last a life time. or even longer. who knows.

there are many small things that gets underfoot in daily stuffs of the day. but after all, me and very selected few in this world gets to have an occupation that one may perform their usually - professional - duty - as - a - serious - enjoyable -personal - activity. there's nothing like having that moment immersed in music, being in sync. communicating, creating, appreciating, inhaling life's best bits all at once. i already packed my bag for tomorrow's practice. i am looking forward to stretch over that exciting magic bit of driving suspence of second mvt of rachmaninoff cello sonata- that is SO gonna be the first thing i work on tomorrow; what a way to start a task!

also the main perk of meeting people and travelling all over, creating connections beyond the average-daily-dealios is one of my favorite point of being a key monkey. afterall, if im lucky to be at this point, being in one of the premiere classical music festival, for 7 out of 12 months of year 2009, why not enjoy and live it up? ya- i will be working, but i love my work. and watch out, monkey's gonna try to make some scary leaps and bounds this year. so that i may greet the next coming year with eagerness and excitement, another memorable cusp point, where sweet anticipations and butterfly flutters fill the quiet air.

remaining days of 2009 calender is humming with fizz. bsquick.
i am so lucky to be me and to have such wonderful people around me- catalysts and promotors. for now... i am to basket, to recharge, to get up tomorrow, to make practice leaps and bounds, to take notes and keep all the surprisingly stunning moments of the day, and ahh to meet up with my good friends for a friday evening pint and catch glimpse of many buzzing warm thoughts across a big puddle, however now so close through an invisible window. may be even a split second of fire from crackling-white-hot-coal-salamander to create a small explosion, with brightness of magnesium oxide!

fizz. bsquick. buzz. out. roger. out.
monkey is out to basket,
will be back tomorrow for another day of...
cracking exciting catalysis.

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