Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Friday November 16th, 2010

I can hardly believe that it has been 2 months since I posted last. Time gets away from me so easily.

I have been practising a lot more lately. I feel like I have really gotten into a groove with organising my practise schedule, and I am getting so much more done every day. However, in getting so much more organised, and therefore busier with my real life, my internet presence has suffered my limited on-line activities. And while I believe that a strong internet presence is important, I believe that actually living more life and reporting less is better than living less life and reporting more.

I have been investigating the Early Music scene in Europe more and continue to prepare for my extended trip there next Summer.

On Sunday November 7th, Coro had a lovely concert of the music I discussed in my last post. In addition, I performed a duet, "Qui N'a le Cuer" and a trio, "Aspre Fortune", both from the Cyprus Codex (compiled ca.1413 - 1422). I was not only extremely excited to be able to perform these 2 pieces, they, having been 2 of my favorite pieces since I first heard Ensemble P.A.N. perform them, but my own performance was extremely well received.

We will be repeating this concert on November 28th in West Marin.

Today, I have the first rehearsal for a "Messiah" performance. I will be the alto soloist.

7:30 pm
Friday, December 10th
Our Lady of Peace
Santa Clara, CA

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Have Returned!

Friday September 17th, 2010

After a couple of months away from the blog, I have returned!

The rest of my Summer was a busy one indeed. After my vacation in Santa Fe, I returned home to continue with appointments with my dentist and ENT. I had several visits with each. My teeth have been cleaned, dental work done, and I now have braces. I have had a tonsillectomy and have pretty much recovered.

Both the dental and ENT work were done to improve my appearance and general health. Both of which are important to my career.

Last week, I returned to rehearsals with Coro. I had received lovely e-mails from members of the choir while I was in the midst of all the medical and they were glad to see me upon my return. We had an excellent rehearsal.

This concert set includes:

Guillaume Dufay (August 5, 1397? – November 27, 1474)
"Missa Sine Nomine"
"Ma Belle Dame Souverainne"
"Alma Redemptoris Mater"

Johannes Ockeghem (1425-1497)
"Alma Redemptoris Mater"
"Salve Regina"

Antoine Busnois (c. 1430 – November 6, 1492)
"Votre Beaute/Vous Marchez"
3 different Kyrie's

Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377)
"La Messe de Nostre Dame"

I think that I am doing a couple of pieces, as well. :-)

Keep you posted on that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Santa Fe

Just sitting here in the library in Santa Fe, New Mexico using the internet.

It has been rather hot until today, which was beautiful, breezy, and mild. The altitude is a bit of an issue for me this time and I am taking it easy. So far I have been resting quite a bit, which of course, was the whole point.

I have been investigating art and having cocktails and will be increasing this activity over the days to come. Nothing like sitting on the porch at el Ferol and doing a little tourist watching! ;-)

They have been playing Early Music on period instruments on the sound system everyday that I have been here to the library. Very nice. Makes me wonder why they don't do that at the libraries at home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Taverner Concert

Later today I will be performing in the Taverner "Western Wind Mass" concert set at the Berkeley Early Music Festival.

I've not been to this venue before, so I need to leave a little extra early to make sure I find parking. I've heard from fellow singers that the room in which we'll be performing is quite lovely and that the acoustics are nice. We'll have a bit of a pre-performance rehearsal and then the excitement begins.

After the concert, I'll be changing out of performance garb and traveling to another destination for a rehearsal for Friday nights' "Trecento" concert. It will be a very full day of singing.

Thursday through Saturday, the venders will be set up at First Congregational Church to offer their services and wares. I need to get a bow rehaired and I am curious to see what exciting music A-R Editions will be bringing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Berkeley Early Music Festival

It's that time, once again, for the bi-annual
Berkeley Early Music Festival. "BFX Ten", as it is being called this year, has a large selection of concerts, lectures, and vendors to explore. Musicians from various parts of the globe congregate in Berkeley every other year to perform, share information, and spread the beauty of Early Music.

I am performing in 2 different fringe concerts during the heart of the festival with Coro Ciconia. We are reprising the "Trecento" concert from April, in addition to a second concert centered around Taverner's, "Western Wind Mass".

Rehearsals for each of the 2 concerts have alternated from rehearsal to rehearsal and we have increased rehearsals the past week in preparation for the festival.

I have yet another rehearsal tomorrow before the "Western Wind" performance on Wednesday, which will be followed by a rehearsal for the "Trecento" concert. So I'll be singing a lot on Wednesday! The "Trecento" concert will be on Friday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trecento Concert and Day Off

Well, the concert went well.

Pedro Memelsdorff was in attendance, so there was a bit of nervousness within the group. But the group managed to pull it off. :-)

You can imagine, after a week of rehearsals, plus a pre-concert rehearsal before the actual concert, that my voice needed a little rest. So I didn't sing on Monday at all.

Monday was rainy and dreary and since my voice was exhausted, I stayed inside and loaded Logic Studio onto my computer. I recently purchased a 2T hardrive (in addition to the 3 1T's) to partition so I could have several startup drives running specific large programs. All of this, to eliminate (hopefully) any conflicts which would otherwise occur.

It took several hours to upload Logic Studio, even with 12 G of memory. But let me tell you... it totally rocks! I am SO PLEASED! I struggled with ProTools for months with its' depressing interface and magically, I was recording with Logic and its' happy interface within minutes of finishing the installation! It was amasing!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trecento: Early Flowers of Polyphony

This afternoon is our final rehearsal for our first performance of the "Trecento" music set. This concert will be repeated at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in June 2010. We might get a few minutes of a break before the concert begins at 7pm.

Pedro Memelsdorff will be attending. The group is a little nervous since he is considered by many to be the world's foremost expert on the very music we will be performing. Many of the tunes will will perform tonight, his ensemble, Mala Punica, has recorded.

We are doing some very interesting pieces by Landini, Jacopo, Firenze, and Ciconia. There are now only 22 pieces on the concert.

My clothes are ready to be donned and I begin warming up once I finish up here. I leave in about 2 hours to head out into the unusually heavy rain to drive the 42 miles to the venue. Sometimes the rain makes for a small crowd at events and sometimes, it bring people out in droves. It will be interesting to see which it is this time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A New Experience

I got a facial yesterday. I've never had one before and it was a very different experience. I really like the woman who gave it to me. Actually, it was because I liked her at a chance meeting that I originally scheduled it. Overall, it was rather enjoyable. She is very kind and interesting.

The only downside was the music.

Although her cd was of the "classical" variety, it was essentially "classical musics' greatest hits". You know the one. It has been produced over and over again with only minor variations regarding the pieces included. A prepackaged bundle of over played pieces for the non-musicians of the world who choose to not risk listening to anything else. After all, it might not be safe.

To make matters worse, it was played in the muzak style. Do "Air on a "G" String" or "Gymnopedie" really need the muzak treatment for non-classical music listeners to be able to safely remain in the room?

I assured her that there is plenty of beautiful Early Music that is extremely well suited for a relaxing atmosphere without offending the sensibilities of the musicians that utilise her services.

By the way, it's Wednesday and the concert is a mere 4 days away.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Concert Week

It's Sunday. Only a week until Coro's preview concert.

The week ahead will be extremely busy with the concert coming up next weekend. I have several rehearsals in preparation for it between now and next Sunday, April 11th. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is an immense amount of music and only one short piece is somewhat easy. Not only are the individual parts challenging, but the ensemble aspect is quite a challenge all in itself.

I have also been offered, and I have accepted, an opportunity to sing with an ensemble in south bay in September. I am slated to sing Vivaldi's, "Cum Dederit" from "Nisi Dominus, RV 608" and a cantata or other large work of my choice in an all Italian concert set. Pretty awesome. I am considering Pergolesi or Scarlatti for the larger work. There are to be multiple performances of this set of Italian works around the bay area.

That invitation was very exciting.

Here is Andreas Scholl singing Vivaldi's, "Cum Dederit":

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Cool Peformance

I have had several totally awesome long term voice teachers over the years. I have had lessons with even more. There's one in particular that I want to plug in this moment:

In January, Anna Carol performed the last of her bi-annual birthday recitals. She is still performing, but she decided that the birthday recital idea had run its' course.

I just received word that Anna Carol will be performing next week. Even though this performance is in direct conflict with my own, I have to tell you about it. She will be performing as the "guest artist" in San Francisco City Chorus' performance of G.F. Handel's, "Semele". There will be another soprano performing the title role of Semele, but Anna Carol will be singing "Oh Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me?".


Anna Carol sang it in the American premiere performance of "Semele" as a staged opera, in UC Berkeley's Hertz Hall in 1962.

This is what Anna Carol has to say about this exciting appearance:

- In 1962, Handel's opera, Semele, was given its premiere American performance here in Hertz Hall. After the original London performances more than 200 years earlier, Handel wrote a revised version, to be performed as an oratorio. That version had been performed in the U.S., but not the original opera version, until our performance.

I sang the role of Semele. If you want to see what I looked like, you can go to the upper foyer of Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, and face the wall which shows many pictures of faculty members (I was a graduate student's wife, not a faculty member). The first photo in the top line just to the right side of the organ shows a scene from the performance. Having been taken up to Heaven by Jove, I am high on a platform, singing "Endless, pleasure, endless love Semele enjoys above."

The San Francisco City Chorus is performing an oratorio version of Semele, next Friday, April 9, at 8 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Dana and Durant. In recognition of my having sung the American opera premiere in Berkeley, I have been invited to perform a cameo role, singing "Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me." There will be a repeat performance Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, 3 p.m., Lakeside Presbyterian Church. -

This will surely prove to be a fabulous moment not to be missed!

For performance dates, times, locations, etc:

New Stuff

It's been an interesting week for the studio thus far.

I bought a 2TB drive for the computer. I partitioned it to have several different versions and copies of my running system so I can easily run programs on separate partitions that create conflicts for one another. This will open up the other drives for storage purposes. Audio files really need their own drives. I ordered 8GB more memory, as well, and I'll be picking that up.

Ooooo! Shiny!

I purchased this very cool toy. I'm waiting for it to arrive. It's a new mic. It simulates AM sound. Yes, I know, you can get this by manipulating the EQ, compress like mad, and adding some effects. But this thing is cool. It'll be a while before it gets here, but once it does, I'll let you know how it sounds.

I also got the program, "Things". So far, I haven't done anything with "Things" that I don't already do with "iCal". I absolutely love "iCal". But my relationship with "Things" is new and we are just starting to get to know one another. I am reserving judgement.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Upcoming Coro Concerts

Wow! I hadn't realised that it had been so very long since I had posted to the blog.

We are working on 26 songs for Coro Ciconia's next concert. It concerns me since it makes the performance much longer than audiences typically prefer. I have a firm belief in, "leave them wanting more". I'm sure that we will trim the program and focus on the best sounding pieces.

This concert set will be performed on April 10th, 2010 at St. Alban's Epicopal Church in Albany, CA. It will be repeated for the Berkeley Early Music Festival on June 8th at the Berkeley City Club.

The following evening, we will present a completely different set of music, the "Western Wind Mass" by Taverner, at the same location.

As seems to be rather typical of altos, I am currently experiencing some sort of sinus/ENT malady. For the longest time, I thought it was just me, but apparently, this is common among altos. We are prone to issues in this area. It would be great if someone in medical research did a study on it. Perhaps it's somehow connected to why it takes altos longer to warm up before singing.

Coro Ciconia Dates

"Trecento: The Earliest Flowers of Polyphony"

April 10th, 2010
7 pm
St Alban's Episcopal Church
Albany, CA

June 8th, 2010
5:30 pm
Berkeley City Club
Berkeley, CA

"Western Wind Mass"

June 9th, 2010
5:30 pm
Berkeley City Club
Berkeley, CA

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Invited Back To Coro Ciconia

Well, it was a very busy concert season. My last post in November was the last time I really had an opportunity to devote any time to the blog endeavor. I couldn't believe that the performance season began so early for me this year. And that I was so terribly busy.

I have been invited back to sing with Coro Ciconia. It seems to be a good fit, thus far. My greatest appreciation for this group is their overt appreciation for having a real alto. Throughout my career, I have witnessed an enormous amount of dismissive attitude regarding altos and alto lines, in general. It has only been in rare circumstances that groups acknowledge the importance of this line and the importance of having a real alto singing it. The real kicker is that most of the time when acknowledgment is given, the alto line and singing voice is only given any real recognition when a man is is singing it.

Coro Ciconia's next concert is on Sunday April 11th; a mere 12 weeks away. I have already received 10 of the pieces. I think there will be about 16 of them. We will be singing Ciconia, of course, along with Jocopo, Landini, Firenze, and other 14th century Tuscan composers.

We will reprise the concert set a couple of times, in addition to a completely different concert program, for the Berkeley Early Music Festival in June. I am really looking forward to this experience.