What's new at yeodoug.com in 2013?
This page contains a listing of most significant updates to yeodoug.com in 2013. I also use this page to comment on a recent activity or observation I think might of interest to readers.
Click on a year below to read about what was new at yeodoug.com at that time...
May 13, 2013 - COMMENTARY
28 years ago today, I played my first concert as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While I had played concerts at Tanglewood, on a European tour and at Symphony Hall in Boston in 1984, that was before I had won the audition for the bass trombone position - I was playing in the orchestra as a substitute player. But in May 1985, I officially began my tenure in Boston, and it is that milestone that I celebrated today, looking back 28 years.
But there was more to my starting in the BSO that simply showing up on the first day of work. At the time I won the bass trombone position in the Boston Symphony, I was bass trombonist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (1981-1985). When I won the Boston audition in December 1984, I had to be released from my contract in Baltmore, something they did not want to do until I took part in an important concert - a trip to Carnegie Hall.
The Baltimore Symphony did not travel regularly to give concerts in New York so the concert of May 12, 1985 was an important moment for the orchestra. When I look back on the program - see this photo of a poster from the concert that I have saved over all these years - it had a lot of connections to my future life in Boston. First was the centerpiece of the concert - Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, a piece written for and premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1944. Then there was a premiere of a new work by Charles Wuorinen, a composer whose works I would play much more - and very regularly - in Boston. And finally there was the soloist, Joseph Silverstein. Silverstein was concertmaster and associate conductor of the Boston Symphony for many years and when I was in Baltimore, he was principal guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony. It was from Joe Silverstein that I learned of the bass trombone opening in Boston an dhe offered me a great deal of encouragement in my preparation for the audition.
As soon as the Carnegie Hall concert was over, I got into my Dodge Omni and drove to Boston, to start with the Boston Symphony the next day. The Orchestra had just started their 100th Anniversary Season of the Boston Pops, so my first service with the BSO was a Pops rehearsal on the morning of May 13, 1985, conducted by John Williams. That night, the concert was recorded for broadcast on the PBS "Evening at Pops" series. Thus began a long chapter of my life in Boston, that I celebrate today as I look back.
I have often spoken to my students about how when you join an orchestra or a performing group, it is not a training ground - it is a proving ground. There is no time to "get your feet wet" in a new job. You are expected to arrive, sit down and deliver like any other member of the ensemble. Pops concerts have a tremendous amount of music that flies across your music stand. Television tapings are fast paced and the microphone is always on. I found this exhilirating, and I am always working with my students to help them bring their "A game" to everything they do, even when they are sightreading (as I did at my first Boston Pops concert - there wasn't time to rehearse everything on the program). I will always be grateful for my time as a free lance player in New York City (1976-1981) where I would often head to a gig not having any idea of what I would be playing. I found that to be exhilirating, and the flexibility I developed then as a young player served me well as my career continued. When I look at the young David Zinman - who at the time of the Baltimore Symphony Carnegie Hall concert in 1985 was Music Director Designate of the orchestra - I'm reminded of the conversations we had in subsequent years when he was a guest conductor with the Boston Symphony. We had both shared time in Baltimore and while he was the conductor and I the third trombone player, that shared experience created a bond that was more than respect. We "knew" things that had shaped both of us. And so it is with all who we meet in life, sharing experiences and going forward with those experiences being a part of our life and decision making as we go forward.
May 8, 2013 - COMMENTARY
It has been awhile since my last update, but that is a reflection of a happy, new life in Arizona where I spend much of my time working with the talented students in my Trombone Studio at Arizona State University. Tomorrow is Commencement at ASU and the end of my first year there. It has been satisfying beyond measure, and life keeps moving ahead with great new things.
In March I was at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas, taking part in their Fourth Annual Ft. Worth Trombone Summit. I have always enjoyed traveling around to give masterclasses and have solo performances at Universities around the world, but nowhere is that more special than to be invited to a school where a former student of mine is the school's trombone professor. Such was the case at TCU, where David Begnoche - a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music in the early 1990s where he studied with Norman Bolter and me - is Assistant Professor of Trombone. Dave has done a great job at TCU and he established the annual Trombone Summit in his first year on the job. One of the great pleasures was working with several other guest artists including Harry Watters of the US Army Band in Washington DC - the photo to the left shows Harry, Dave and me after the evening gala concert where Harry and I played a duet version of Leonard Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" from "Candide" accompanied by the TCU Trombone Choir. Also participating in the event was Tim Anderson - another graduate of New England Conservatory - who is Assistant Professor of Trombone at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and my good friend Dennis Bubert who teaches at University of Texas, Arlington and plays bass trombone in the Fort Worth Symphony. Seeing all of these friends and working with the talented students at TCU was great fun, and an added dimension for me was to premiere a new piece that was written for me for the occasion by Robert Garwell, "Purple Mosaic" (of course it has "Purple" in the name - EVERYTHING at TCU is purple!). This turned out to be a significant new piece for bass trombone solo with trombone choir and before I headed back home to Arizona, we recorded the piece for future release.
Meanwhile, back home at ASU, our semester has finished with a bang. I instituted trombone choir as part of the curriculum at ASU for the first time when I joined the faculty last August. Our Desert Bones Trombone Choir has proven to be a great part of our working together and earlier in the semester, I thought that the group was so good and the students were working so hard that I wanted to document our time together with a CD recording. So, last Saturday evening from 7:30 to 11:30 PM (it was the only time we could get Katzin Concert Hall at ASU), we had a recording session to put down about 30 minutes of music for a CD we hope to release in spring 2014 after a second recording session in December; the photo at right shows us during our recording session sound check. It was great to bring the recording process to our students - 17 strong in the Trombone Choir this semester - and see and hear them step up to the plate in the crucible of a very demanding recording session. We all feel confident that we have some great material "in the can" and I look forward to the day when we will have our CD in hand to give away - we won't be selling copies; we plan to give it away to anyone who wants one - next year. As hard as it is to believe, my first year at ASU is nearly over and we ar already looking forward to and doing planning for the fall semester. We will be welcoming eight new trombone students (five brand new students and three students who are graduating from ASU tomorrow but will be staying on for another degree) and will have the largest trombone studio ASU has had in several years. All of this is an indication of the quality of our program and the results our students are showing. It's an exciting time to be at ASU. If you're looking for a place to study trombone on the University level - BM, BME, MM, DMA - please consider joining us at "The Desert Proving Ground." Until the fall semester starts up in mid-August, I look forward to many hiking trips with my wife, our daughters and their husbands, and time to rest, read, research and write - and practice! The coming months represent my first summer vacation in over 30 years - during my years in the Baltimore and Boston Symphonies I was always playing concerts in the summer - and as you can imagine, I am very much looking forward to this time.
And for some fun, my wife and I today became season ticket holders for the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team. Last year, we became season ticket holders to ASU football; it was our first foray into college sports and we had a great time and have already renewed for next season. But we have loved the NFL for many years and of course remain fans of our New England Patriots, a team that has given us so much to cheer for over so many years. Still, we love going to football games in a stadium and we decided it was time to become season ticket holders for our local team. There's no problem with divided loyalty with the Patriots and Cardinals - they are in opposite conferences and therefore don't play each other very often (although last season, the Cardinals beat the Patriots in a shocking win at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts). So we look forward to watching Cardinals football from our seats (this is the view we'll have) and continuing waking up on Monday mornings in the fall, hoarse,from cheering for our team.
In all, this has been a very satisfying spring, and I remind readers that the infrequent posts on this page are more than made up with comments I make on the ASU Trombone Studio Facebook Page where you can read up-to-date information about our activities at ASU. For now, it is into summer. Last day of school tomorrow - wow!
March 18, 2013 - COMMENTARY
In my FAQ about parenting musical children, I coined an axiom about practicing, as a way to help both students and their parents get on the practice train. Earlier this year, John Bogenschutz, the creater of Tone Deaf Comics, asked if he could use my quotation in a poster. He thought the axiom would be a great motivating tool for students and teachers and he asked my permission to turn it into a poster for sale on his website. I was happy to agree (disclaimer: I told John that I did not want any payment for use of my words) and after he made the poster, he decided to turn the axiom into a cartoon that puts a finer point on some of what parents and teachers face when talking about music - or anything - today. The cartoon and poster are below and if this resonates with you, please visit the Tone Deaf Comics website to purchase a poster and help the next generation learn to love playing a musical instrument.
February 28, 2013 - COMMENTARY
You never know what you will see in the Sonoran Desert. I have seen cell phone towers disguised as palm trees, and as evergreen trees, even as part of decoration on a church steeple. But this sequence of photos, taken just a few miles from our home, is something new. I have to admire the creative spirit!
February 26, 2013 - NEW
Readers will notice that yeodoug.com has been undergoing an extreme makeover over the last few weeks. In 2012, knowing that my retirement from the Boston Symphony was on the horizon, I asked graphic designer Wayne Wilcox - who had done such great work for me as a designer on a number of my CD projects and my DVD, Le Monde du Serpent, to create a new look and feel for my website. The primary reason for this change was the need to develop new header graphics for all of the pages on my website since they all indicated that I was bass trombonist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra - something that would no longer be the case. I asked Wayne to create a header graphic that would reflect some of the many facets of my life and work in this new season of life, and you will notice that each section of my website - biography, articles, resources, calendar, etc - has a different photo in the header. I also wanted a new, cleaner design for my home page which had gotten increasingly filled up with many links and images. Internet users are savvy - these days, they know how to navigate websites and find what they want. I thought Wayne came up with a great, clean design, so all that was left for me to do was to implement it. Easier said than done! The makeover requred me to open the code for each page on my website and substitute the new header images as well as other things that would enhance the look of each page. While I am not yet done with this massive project - my website, as you know, has MANY pages - the work is nearly done. I want to thank Wayne for his tremendous work on this and I hope you find this new look to be easier on your eyes and easier to navigate.
This is the third makeover of my website. Here is the initial header graphic from when my website launched in 1996.
Then in 2004, I updated the graphic with something a little more modern:
Which has now led us to the 2012 graphic you see today:
Three header graphics over 17 years of yeodoug.com online. Thanks for visiting - there is more ahead in 2013!