Week three of the new school year has passed - time for a short evaluation. Despite being done with my cello degree requirements, I still have tons of classes left for the theory major. I think my credit count is 24 - not as much as my monster 30 credit semester last spring, but still well over the 12 credit full-time minimum. The highlight: my theory major studies, for which the great Carl Schachter (expert on Schenkerian analysis and author of several high-profile textbooks and articles) has agreed to be my tutor! Another highlight are the Dictation IV and V classes with good ol' Mr. N. I've been keeping tabs on his famously sadistic, sarcastic remarks in class, soon to be put online for your enjoyment :). Other than that, tons of pedagogy classes this year: theory pedagogy, ear-trining pedagogy, dictation pedagogy.
Cello-wise, it's a much less active year, of course. No more orchestra playing, since I'm officially no longer a cello major, but at least I'm still getting my chamber music fix, having formed a piano trio with Kiyomi and Miguel; Kiyomi, the pianist, is in the same sitation as me, having finished the instrumental major requirements last year and currently finishing up theory reqs, and Miguel is a conducting major, but previously received a Masters in violin from another school. So, basically, we're a trio of non-majors. The Non-major Trio. Or, since we're in the music world, I suppose that would make us...the "Minor Trio"? Anyways, our first project is the op. posthumous piano trio in A major by Brahms (not proven, but generally accepted as being by Brahms), and possibly a Beethoven trio later on to have a full recital program to perform next semester. On the solo music side, my focus for now is the Fifth Bach Suite - the only one I haven't done yet. Since I don't have much time to practice, progress is going pretty slow, but hopefully I'll have something ready soon to take up my teacher's offer to give me lessons whenever I feel ready.
On the weekend teaching front, I'm also busier than I remember ever being - 9 students at the Bryn Mawr conservatory plus one private student afterwards means that I'm teaching from noon until about 7:30. And arrive at home exhausted. Yesterday, I was so dead by 11pm that I fell asleep on the living room carpet floor while waiting for a Windows installation on my mom's laptop to finish...
Oh right, almost forgot. The last couple weeks of the summer I started working on a redesign of my web site...it'll be on a different domain, and also will have a (optionally) different look. Optionally, because I stumbled upon this awesome site called CSS Zen Garden, where they use only CSS to change the design and layout of a web page while the html file - which contains the actual content of the page - remains unchanged. It's pretty awesome, and inspired me into doing something similar for my webpage. Hopefully I'll have the chance to finish it soon.
h2o1.info, live and a-kicking! Please excuse the many dead links at the moment - my old server is acting up which is why this site has gone live, but as of now, only the journal and photo sections are running. The rest should be updated over the next few weeks (hopefully) - until then, you can still look things up on the old server at http://hsushibox.cjb.cc.
Seeing that the idea of tagging has popped up pretty much everywhere on the internet, I've decided to try to add something similar to my journal, and as you can see in this entry, I just finished implementing it. Now, if you click on a tag, it takes you to a list of all entries associated with it! I still need a page that lists all available tags though, right now the only place they show up is as part of a journal entry. But that should be easy to fix after I come home from classes and practicing today...
Just spent a bit more time improving things and ironing out bugs, mostly in the photos section. Things are more robust there now (and the code is much nicer and compact too!), plus when you access a photo album for the first time, it shows this nice reassuring "Please wait" page along with a neat little gif animation while it's loading photo data. Much better than just sitting there and doing nothing forever, which is what it used to do. Or worse yet, it'd occasionally take too long and cause browsers to think the connection is dead, therefore displaying the "Site cannot be found" message, as a friend recently pointed out to me.
So as I update things here and there, I fully expect there to be bugs and errors that I just simply don't have the time to stress test for. So, my plea to you, dear visitor, is, if you find something that's not behaving as it should, or have suggestions on how to improve things, please let me know! My email address is listed at the bottom of the page. Many thanks in advance :).
Fate has it that today provided an occasion for remembering and honoring two towering musical personalities - in one case, of my personal music world, and in the other, the entire music world.
The first - and more positive - occasion was a reception to celebrate the release of a new book published in honor of none other than Carl Schachter, an incredibly smart music theorist, expert on Schenkerian analysis, and most importantly, a great, great human being. The book is a collection of articles written entirely (or, at least primarily) by former students of his. Most of the articles' authors made it to the reception; some of them gave speeches and it was evident that all had but the greatest of admiration for him as music theorist, teacher, and person. One theory professor at Mannes, also a former student of Schachter's, recounted an anecdote in which during his years as a student at CUNY, he once went to see Joe Straus to discuss his feeling that his studying of music theory was pointless - no one would ever be able to match the knowledge and insight of Dr. Schachter. To which replied Dr. Straus - himself quite a leading figure in the post-tonal theory world - "Don't you know: We all feel like that."
The event concluded with a short speech by Dr. Schachter himself, in which his extraordinary character came through. Bringing his speech to a close, he confided to the congregation that after teaching all these years, he had "found the secret to successful teaching." After a second of dramatic pause, he revealed that secret: "Surround yourself with brilliant students."
The other occasion is the sad departure from this world of Maestro Joseph Primavera, under whose baton I had the privilege of playing during my years in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Maestro Primavera was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago, retired from his position as music director of the orchestra after 51 years (then the longest-serving active music director of any orchestra in the world) and, as I heard today from a fellow PYO alum, passed away this past Saturday. While often rude and sometimes downright nasty in character, his passion for music and passing it on to the next generation of musicians were great inspiration in my growth and education as a classical musician; to this day, I consider that Saturday morning early during my sophomore year (my first year in PYO) that we rehearsed the third Brahms Symphony for the first time to be the "moment of awakening" of the classical musician in me.
Thank you, Dr. Schachter; thank you, Maestro Primavera. I'm honored, and deeply humbled, to have (had) the chance to learn from such great figures of the music world.
After neglecting it for all too long, the rss feed is back up again - and much improved too, as most updates automatically generate a rss feed item. Like this journal entry, for example...