Not much to say: I am grateful to Romeo Castelucci and Franz Welser-Möst and the entire team at Salzburg for making our premiere a resounding success! Salomé is a winner!
Writing with a few greetings and pictures from the season so far!
An excerpt from the gorgeous piece written by Howard Goodall on the beautiful text by Mary Elizabeth Frye "Do not stand at my grave and weep" https://twitter.com/BachSociety/status/972609640675540993
After a wonderful and brief weekend in St. Louis, I'm ready to head back to the East Coast to join Roomful of Teeth on a tour of Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and other locations. Check us out: roomfulofteeth.org
Boston Friends: a beautiful collaboration with Claire Chase, teacher of flute at Harvard and alien from the future, who has come to shed light on all our hearts. A stunning piece written by Richard Beaudoin, no stranger to the galactic future, himself. March 29, details shortly!
One of my oldest friends of mine sent me a wonderful little bit of writing her recent experiences this weekend with our healing country. I was too moved by our connection over something so simple not to share it with you:
A long, long time ago, in high school, you gave me a set of beautiful tapered candles. I've had them ever since, packing them up and taking them place to place, but never burning them because they were so special to me: they were from Dashon!
Tonight I organized a large group of friends to attend a vigil at the White House, responding to the horrible hate and tragedy in Charlottesville yesterday. I had a few candles packed and ready to go, but as more and more people arrived (or said they would meet me there), ALL without candles of their own it became clear: I would have to use Dashon's beautiful candles.
I didn't just burn them, I broke them in half to make four medium candles, which meant four more people could partake. I was sad to see them go. It was hard to break them so roughly, but this was right.
I couldn't keep them forever: that's silly and wasteful. Still, I thought you'd like to know that they shed a far more beautiful light tonight, as we stood outside the White House, singing and praying and being silent together in our sadness than they ever could have in a mere silver holder on my table.
I'm so glad those candles were there.
I'm hoping you are finding your connections in this troubled world.
Another year, another beautiful time at Carmel Bach Festival! Great friends, great colleagues, and of course, amazing beaches with a bazillion dogs on them. Here are just a few pictures to get you started!
A bit of writing about an upcoming concert with Craig Hella Johnson of Conspirare (Feb 2018, Austin):
I love the idea of The Poet Sings because of the myriad opportunity in that. The body of work is so massive in poetry and song, and the combination of them is as old as humanity. I want to dig my hands in the deep earth that brought us these shared feelings, these experiences, all conveyed to us from those who wrote before we were here. In that, I hope we can find repertoire that bursts off the page and out of our hearts with enough passion to invigorate us. Schumann's Dichterliebe does this for me every time, and especially Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's pristine versions. The urgency, the raw anticipation of a response, when he confesses his longing in the first song... It hits me every time, and I am powerfully convicted that these words would even be handled by Craig so deftly in his playing. We all know how special his playing is, and I hope I'm not raising the bar too high in saying that Craig will play this unbelievably sensitively, and the experience of hearing it live, catching the nearly imperceptible difference in tone for each phrase, must be felt as the music deserves a chance.
We will invite the audience into our world in the same way that Schumann and many other great souls since have done. In their chamber rooms, they filled the air and the hearts of so many with an affect, ripped from a page. In our great technological age we have so many opportunities to be amazed, and I love to imagine what the impact would be, if we went back before times when these sounds were easily reproduced, when you didn't know that you could easily hear that exact moment again. In that space is what we and our audience will, simply, play.
And even in that play, we will choose works of other devoted masters who gave us lots of fun along with amazement. It helps me stay grounded when writing about the effervescent beauty of art. :)
To work with Craig and his amazing family of friends always gives me a truly open view into what art, and the arts can be. If I had to describe Conspirare in one word, it would be unmissable.
From our Nobel Laureate Poet/Singer himself:
“It frightens me, the awful truth, of how sweet life can be...” -Bob Dylan
One of my favorite parts of this job is seeing old friends on the road. And meeting new(born) friends!
A lovely Yale reunion in Vancouver
My Uncle Jeff came out to see me in The Netherlands
Some friends came to Paris and we got on a Hop on/off bus and immediately made shenanigans.
Many thanks to the efforvescently talented organist Renee Louprette for making the trip to Bethlehem! Hope I did my friend proud!
Wild white outs on the drive were the name of the game... hard to tell where the road was ahead. An apt metaphor for life, photographed in the clearer moments.
RoT is spending some time in the Western states, and it's beautiful!
Lots of fun in Portland, OR with the Oregon Symphony! Sadly they were not filled with champagne.
“What we have to do in every form of art is really break down the barriers in classical or operatic. In the end, it’s just music and we want everyone to be just as excited about it. I really do believe that by my going to a school and showing children or even college students what it means to be a musician — how this art form is still thriving — I believe by leading through example is the best way to get people excited about classical music,” says classical singer Dashon Burton by phone to the Banner.
Very grateful to be joining Franz Welser-Möst for what will be a wonderful performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.