Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Perlman Music Paradise

So after one amazing and exhausting summer, we are back in Austin, TX! Well except for Greg, he's in Finland, but that's another story... the three of us here in the Lone Star State are enjoying our first real quartet break of the summer by seeing old friends, going to the beach (Alan), wakeboarding (me??), frantically completing quartet applications (Nick), and reminiscing about the incredible experiences we've had in the past couple months.

Our two weeks on Shelter Island, NY at the Perlman Music Program were the perfect way to wrap up the summer. Imagine your favorite childhood summer camp, including cookouts, bonfires on the beach, and pickup soccer games, and add to it an artist faculty of some of the most beloved musicians performing today. And the "campers" are all dedicated chamber musicians in their twenties/thirties. This uniquely supportive and inspiring atmosphere led to plenty of recreational late night chamber music reading with new friends and the faculty even after countless hours of rehearsal with our main groups. It also led to several more surprising collaborative endeavors - like the time Don Weilerstein schooled EVERYONE in basketball at the Perlmans' house. Which just goes to show that if you've mastered your coordination and timing enough to be the first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet, everything after that is cake :) Another fond memory from the Perlmans' house would be Mr. P himself manning the computer, taking us on a guided Youtube tour of Horowitz, Kreisler, Ella Fitzgerald... and this kid -

We were lucky enough to work specifically with Itzhak Perlman and Don Weilerstein during our stay at PMP. Mr. P was exacting in what he wanted, and hilarious in the way he explained it to us. Early on he recounted the story of a cruel teacher who once belittled his student by saying, "Every day you sound worse. So why today do you sound like the day after tomorrow?" From this point forth, Mr. P endeavored to assess our progress (or lack thereof) by gleefully announcing "this sounds like next Friday" or, if we were fortunate, "that could have been yesterday."

Mr. Weilerstein's description of sound production and sympathetic vibration, and the necessity of awareness of sound through our bodies (including the all-important sitbones), completely revolutionized the way we played the second movement of Beethoven 18/1.

And in perhaps the best news of the summer, PMP had its own private beach. And dock.

This is the other best news of the summer. The incredible Toby Perlman, who created PMP through her vision of bringing together like-minded young musicians in a safe and supportive environment. What they are keeping us safe from, I have no idea, but we love it and we're not complaining...

Ok and this is beyond the best. Merry Peckham, founder of the Chamber Music Workshop at PMP, and our mentor and inspiration from our days back in Cleveland!

Another highlight of the program was a series of concerts called Tutti Suonare. For a couple hours every day in the first week, we got a break from our regular quartet members and rehearsed with groups comprised of a random mix of players, each including one faculty artist. I performed the first movement of the Dvorak piano quintet with the wonderful Roger Tapping (and Christel, Yundu, and Karen!!!)

A view of PMP from the beach. I told you it looks like summer camp...

Among the many friends we made at PMP were the fabulous Ariel Quartet. We have 3/4 of them here, I don't know where Serge is, but check them out if you ever have the chance! Also check out the Linden, Vinca, and Bryant Park Quartets. They all rock.

Everything we've been hauling around since June. Packing credit to Alan.

Wow this is a long post. Thanks for reading and checking in with us :)

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