Is playing and teaching at the same festival just a bow too far?main
From our weekly diarist, violinist Anthea Kreston:
We are in the car on the way to Venice for the weekend – we are in the middle of our two weeks in the northern part of Italy, playing trio concerts and teaching at a festival in a small town in the Dolomites. In the car are my husband and our two daughters (age 5 and 7), and squeezed in-between, our pianist, Amy Yang.
Rehearsals are short and frequent – a movement of Brahms crammed between teaching students (a nice international crowd from age 10-young professionals). We are performing every night, either trio or mixed faculty concerts. The contrast of rehearsal style is stark – compared to the detailed, intense quartet rehearsals I have become accustomed to this past year. This translates into concerts which are quite carefree – the joints in the music are acknowledged, structure is secure, voicing is decided, and each member of the ensemble is in charge of guiding the flow and emotional content of their designated phrases – we all go with the flow.
Every time I agree to come to a festival where I do double duty – teaching and performing – I have a heavy wave of regret on the second day. “Why on earth did I agree to do this? This is insane – both my teaching and performing are compromised, I am exhausted, the outings I planned with my family are put off and off – let me please remember to say “no” next time anyone asks me to do this!!”
But then, around day 4, I start to get used to it. My daughters have made friends, have found all the nooks and crannies of the festival building, enjoy their daily gelato outings, staying up really late, going to the grocery store, playing in the river. I realize that this is the way memories are made. I often think of my early memories of camps – the ice cream, riding my first skateboard, my teacher’s big hair, the swimming pool.
This week, my daughters were in their first quartet – with 2 of my old students from Oregon. We met every day – we played rhythm games with fly swatters, took turns being the orchestra for each other’s solo pieces, and learned two quartets. They all brought fancy dresses, named their group (The Rainbow Spy Dodgers), made a big stack of handmade programs for the concert, and performed in the town hall to an appreciative audience – their feet dangling from their chairs, too little to touch the floor.
And now – off to Venice – I play the four seasons again with the same orchestra as a couple of weeks ago (Interpreti Veneziani), and 25 of the students will come to the concert. The entire Rainbow Spy Dodgers will be together in Venice for 2 days – and our daughters are looking forward to showing them the places they discovered last year. The building of life-time memories.