Saturday, June 10, 2006

New and old friends

What an amazing Friday. Unfortunately it started at 5:00am for me...I got ready and made it to WITF by 5:30, gas up the Yukon and got some diet coke. Casey (the Audio manager at WITF who was going to engineer the interviews) popped in, we loaded up and were off by 6:15. Traffic was incredibly easy, with a little stop and go at the Lincoln tunnel (we were there at 9:00am!) it was a quick trip to NYC. After circling the upper west side for parking, we found a garage near Columbia University and made our way to Dodge Hall.

Fred Lerdahl met us at his office and we chatted about his music for Composing Thoughts. He's from Madison, WI originally and we commiserated over the Pro Arte Quartet, Norwegian cookies in Stoughton and new music.
Afterwards, Casey and I made it up to Riverdale in the Bronx. A nice lunch at a little cafe, complete with world cup coverage and jokes about low scoring (ironically there were 3 goals in the first 15 minutes! goooooooooooooooallllllllllllllllllllllllllll!) which led to a leisure walk in the neighborhood and a cigar (technically Casey smokes cigarettes, but hey you probably knew what I meant.) Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's apartment/studio wasn't far away (we had actually scouted for it and a parking place before lunch) and we went over, again with great traffic and an easy, close parking space.

Ellen Zwilich is a composer I had interviewed for 20/20 Hearing(tm) in its second (and final) season. I have known her music for quite awhile and it was wonderful to get to meet her. Ellen has, no surprise, an artist's apartment - it's filled with original, sumptuous paintings, a baby grand piano that looks out the 14th floor view to the Hudson...a Pulitzer prize sits on one table, and cds overflow around a well used stereo. The interview was a great discussion and I'll soon post something incredibly special from it both here and on the Composing Thoughts site. Ellen is as gracious and witty as her music if that is possible.
Casey and I loaded things back up and jetted over the George Washington bridge and made great time on the way back, again, just a slow spot before getting back on 78, and a slow-n-go as heavy rain hit traffic, but for the most part smooth and easy commute flew by. We got back, Casey unloaded as I printed out directions for Millersville University. It was 6:30pm and I needed to head over to the Next Generation Festival.
Unfortunately, I needed to stop for gas with my van, and had never been to M.U. (or to a Next Gen concert for that matter!) so I was a bit stressed knowing I had about 45 minutes to get there. I lit a dominican cigar and again had smooth sailing. Directions were easy and I made it there with 5 minutes to spare (it started promptly at 7:30pm) to chat.
The Next Generation Festival is a series of free concerts across Central PA that WITF presents with pianist Awadagin Pratt and friends. Among these friends are Martin Beaver (first violinist of the Tokyo Quartet), Rachel Barton Pine (gifted solo violinist), the Cypress Quartet, and many others. The all Mozart program, in all e-flat I might add, was beautiful and at a high level of music making - in a word, sublime. It was well attended and I was pleased to see coworkers, friends, and listeners of all ages at the concert. There was a fun "talk-back" session afterwards and a chance for me to meet and say hi to some old friends...I'll see them over the next two weeks and looking forward to some wine and good conversations. No doubt you'll see some entries here on that matter!
I made it home to Harrisburg about 10:00pm and soon fell asleep. What a Friday!

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