Monday, January 25, 2016

Milwaukee week

I am currently on a 6-month sabbatical from The Cleveland Orchestra. While still teaching my wonderful students at CIM, I will use some of my free time to play with the Milwaukee Symphony.

Milwaukee's Principal Bassoonist, Ted Soluri, recently won the Principal Bassoon position in the Dallas Symphony and has a leave of absence from the MSO. Thus, the need for a substitute.

Last week was my first week with the group and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Milwaukee has a great orchestra with so many fine players. I was given a very friendly welcome and was impressed by their ensemble, great balance and intonation among other things. It was easy for me to fit in.

Rudi Heinrich and Beth Giacobassi, the two members of the bassoon section were very accommodating to me. Both are great players.

The program consisted of Elgar's "In the South", Dukas' "La Peri" (fanfare and symphonic poem), Sibelius Violin Concert (with Karen Gomyo) and the Firebird Suite.

Rudi played principal on the Elgar and Dukas. I played principal on the Sibelius and Firebird and second on the Elgar and Dukas. Beth played contra on the Elgar, second on the Sibelius and Firebird and third on the Dukas.

Milwaukee has three-person woodwind sections. Unlike our four-person sections in Cleveland, there is much more rotating from one part to another in the sections in a week's repertoire. I gather that the assistant principals play a good amount of second, along with some principal duties, while the players of auxiliary instruments (piccolo, English Horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon) play more on the main instrument (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon) than ours do.

Thus, with this week's program order, Beth needed to switch immediately from the Elgar's substantial contra part to the second bassoon part for the Sibelius (with its treacherous second movement) with very little time to even try a bassoon note in between. She managed this beautifully every time!

 Rudi took me out for coffee on Saturday morning. We found a good place at the Colectivo coffee bar in the Third Ward neighborhood. I enjoyed a really nice cortado and bought some of their roast -- the Java Blue Batavia, a really great light roast.

Running in Milwaukee is terrific!  They have done a wonderful job in preserving the lakefront -- shame on you, Cleveland!! The Oak Leaf Trail skirts Lake Michigan and also veers into town, following the river.

The area near the Marcus Center (home of Uihlein Hall) has some interesting sights. Among them is an ice skating rink across the street.

And this church:

Wonder what they serve for Communion?

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