Thursday, November 14, 2013

David Carpenter, composer

David Carpenter’s music has been performed throughout the U.S., including venues at the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Brevard Music Center, and the International Double Reed Society Conference. His music has been performed by the Temple University Concert Choir and Chamber Orchestra, Network for New Music, Momenta Quartet, Pascal Gallois, the Argento Ensemble, and the Delaware County Symphony, where he was composer-in-residence for the 2012-13 season.
David held a residency at the MacDowell Colony and a fellowship at the Boyer College of Music at Temple University, where he earned a doctor of musical arts degree studying with Dr. Maurice Wright. David has taught at West Chester and Temple universities.
Eight scenes from David’s opera, The Age of Innocence, based on the novel by Edith Wharton, will be performed on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3 p.m. at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 West 69th Street, New York City. Admission is free.

In addition to his composing career, David does donation processing in the Advancement Department at the Curtis Institute of Music.
What is your typical schedule and the balance between Curtis and composing?

I started at Curtis in April 2012 as a part-time temp. I was made permanent in August, but still part-time; that’s the scope of the job. This job has been a blessing because I get health insurance. It’s incredible. I can’t tell you how many people are floored when I say I’ve got a part-time job with health insurance that I don’t have to pay for. I’m very lucky to have that.

I’m at Curtis for only 4 hours a day, and it goes so fast because I have to get a lot of things done. It’s almost a relief to do my job and to get away from composing for a while, and not have to check my personal email.

After 4 hours, you’re tired, and it’s dangerous to have the afternoon off because you want to take a nap. But what I do actually, is, go to a practice room and do at least a half hour of composing whether I want to or not. I have to be disciplined about it, and keep at it, because otherwise I feel like I’m not really being a composer if I’m not writing music.

I used to work in a library for 8 hours a day, which was very depressing because that’s all you get to do. You go home, and you’re tired, and you’re not feeling creative. Everyone at Curtis knows I’m part-time, and I’m glad people there know that I have this opera and this other life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lawrence "Larry" Gilliard, Jr., actor and clarinetist

“Once the music has got you, it never lets you go," said Larry Gilliard, Jr.—an acclaimed actor who debuts tonight on The Walking Dead.

Mr. Gilliard has appeared on television in The Wire, Army Wives, Friday Night Lights, Law and Order, CSI, Southland, and Homicide: Life on the Street; in films including Straight out of Brooklyn, The Waterboy, Gangs of New York, and Cecil B. Demented; and in Pulitzer Prize-winning play Top Dog/Underdog.

Mr. Gilliard trained in clarinet at The Juilliard School before leaving in his final semester of study to pursue acting, where he found more opportunities for self-expression than in classical music. After a hiatus, he returned to the clarinet, using the skills acquired in acting training to enhance his musical artistry. 

He recently shared his knowledge in the seminar “Acting for a Better Audition” at the University of Maryland Clarinet Day. Following the seminar, he also performed at the closing concert.

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Gig

Dear Readers,

It is my pleasure to announce that I have been hired for a part-time consulting gig at the University of the Arts Corzo Center for the Creative Economy. 

The Corzo Center helps UArts students and alumni launch creative enterprises. 

Additionally, certain services are free and open to the public, including the Open Office Hours, which provides one-on-one consulting sessions with experts in a variety of fields relevant to those working in the arts. 

UArts has hired me to do sessions on grantwriting and fundraising. These will take place the first Monday of every month and you can sign up here

Again, these are free and open to the public, so please spread the word. The October sessions are already booked up, so please consider planning ahead to November and after. Virtual sessions will be available from November on via Skype.

This will not affect my responsibilities at the Curtis Institute. In fact, this year will be as busy as ever - please check out the Curtis Crescendo Club's new Facebook page for information about our upcoming events.

I look forward to seeing some of you soon,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

David DePeters, percussionist and Executive Director of IRIS Orchestra

David DePeters is percussionist and Executive Director of IRIS Orchestra, and frequently appears with leading orchestras throughout the United States, including The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. 

So you’ve been a member of the IRIS Orchestra for 9 years. How did you also become Executive Director? 

IRIS has been around for 13 years, but I was not involved when it first started. I didn’t know anything about it. It was created by Michael Stern, who I went to Curtis with, and the Executive Director of the performing arts center in Germantown, Tennessee, which is the big suburb east of Memphis. So it’s technically not in Memphis, although most of our donors and subscribers are from Memphis.

When I first went down to IRIS, I had been playing full-time in the Baltimore Symphony but was never given the job permanently. I kept doing well at the audition, but it was just never going to happen. My wife’s in the Philly Orchestra, so I left Baltimore and came back to Philly.

I ran into Michael Stern at a festival, and he said, “Oh, you’ve got to come down and hear my orchestra in Memphis. It’s really good.” And I said, “Why would I want to go to Memphis? What are you doing in Memphis? What’s going on in Memphis?” And he said, “No, really. Come once. You’ll really get it.” So I did, and after the first rehearsal, I said, “Call me anytime, and I will come.”

The idea was for the orchestra to be the anchor of this performing arts center, so the patrons would have something to rally around and come to the center multiple times, instead of just a bunch of touring one-off shows that come and go. So they created IRIS, and it’s a fantastic thing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

More Failures

One thing I enjoy about fund-raising is having clear goals. There are many qualitative measurements -- relationship with the funder, strength of the project, quality of the proposal -- but ultimately, the results are quantitative: How much money did we raise at the end of the year? 

Interviewee Dan McDougall talked about a similar satisfaction he gets with his work at Curtis, which involves a lot of data entry. He said, "At the end of the day, I can point to something and say, 'That’s done,' versus a concert that is played and goes out in the air and it’s gone. The music side is satisfying in a different way, but it seems less permanent to me."

For my recent Curtis performance review, one measurement I looked at was how many proposals we submitted that were funded. We had a roughly* 78% success rate. When I shared this information with my supervisor, he said that this year, he would like "more failures." 

I thought that was an interesting way to describe it. Of course, we want more successes, right? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Update

This weekend's events would not fit into a status update:

On Friday, I worked at Curtis from 8 AM to 11 AM, did a few errands, picked up my rental car, and headed up to Bethlehem for the first weekend of the Bach Festival

I had every intention of doing more Curtis work when I got to my hotel, but until I had dinner, worked on reeds, and got ready for the concert there just wasn't enough time.

People in Bethlehem love their music, exemplified by the interesting sonic experience walking from the hotel to the church. In 10 short minutes, I heard a brass band playing patriotic tunes, an alternative rock band (with two female musicians!), and a Suzuki violin class all doing outdoor performances.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Compartmentalization vs. Multi-Tasking/Day Job vs. Moonlighting

Several of you have inquired about how my new position at Curtis has impacted my performing career. 

I’m still preparing, practicing, and performing; the Bethlehem Bach Festival starts next week. 

But the schedule is different than before. Even though each career could demand all of my time and focus right now, it's not possible.

I previously wrote, “My [Curtis] job is about as 9 to 5 as it gets in the arts.” In times of intense concert or audition preparation, I would go home right at 5 and practice from 6 until midnight.   

I used to be entirely compartmentalized: When I left the office, I would put the blinders on, forget about it, become a different person, and focus entirely on my music.

Now I am working a lot of nights for concerts and donor events that sometimes last until midnight. I also have a lot more work and responsibility in general, which means a 9 to 5 day is impossible.

So my schedule and working style have had to change. Here are some examples:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Samantha Wittchen: Harpist, Sustainability Consultant, Writer, Artist

Sam Wittchen is a freelance harpist in Philadelphia and teaches harp at the University of Pennsylvania. She attended the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Kathleen Bride. Sam is a graduate of the University of Virginia and co-founded the sustainability firm iSpring. She is also a freelance writer for GRID magazine, as well as a freelance designer, and serves as board chair for Flashpoint Theatre Company.

Tell us how you ended up going from studying harp at Eastman to founding your sustainability firm.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recap of ArtsReach Conference and Weekend in NYC

On Friday and Saturday I went on my first business trip to the National Arts Marketing Conference at NYU presented by ArtsReach. It was geared more toward ticket office managers and marketing directors but I got plenty of ideas for the Curtis Crescendo Club, corporate and foundation giving, and even Recovering Oboist!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Recovering Oboist is on Pinterest

I went from asking "What's 'Pinterest'?" to totally obsessed within a few hours. 

I'm told that it's used primarily for pictures, but I'm finding it incredibly useful to organize things I read and find on the interwebs. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Big Week

Quick recap of a particularly busy week that's only halfway over!


This week I achieved a goal I've had since age 18: I made a recording to enter in the Gillet International Oboe Competition. Countless thanks to pianist Tim Ribchester; recording engineer Drew Schlegel; and the Curtis Institute, where I recorded.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't Call it a Comeback

Faithful readers, please forgive my disappearance. If you saw my last post, you know that I went to Sunny California for a week. It was part business (audition for Santa Barbara Symphony) and part pleasure (hiking, shopping, wine tasting, concerts, beach, relaxing). 

Countless thanks to my wonderful hostesses, tour guides, and friends Dawn in Los Angeles and Jasmine in Santa Barbara.

When I returned to Philly and Curtis, I got the news that my esteemed supervisor accepted a position at The Wharton School. I am honored that Curtis has promoted me to his position of Director of Institutional Relations. This means that instead of just writing grant proposals and reports I now oversee all corporate, foundation, and government giving to the school and will supervise a new hire who will fill my old position.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recovering Oboist Goes to L.A.

Readers, I'll be in Sunny California from January 17-23!

My trip includes two days in L.A., where I'll catch up with interviewee Dawn Webster and be the ultimate fangirl at LA Chamber and LA Phil concerts. Then I'll drive up to Santa Barbara for four days with my BFF Jasmine Yarish

I will be armed with my smartphone, laptop, and my new digital voice recorder so there's no limit to what I might post from the road! 

First person to name the SATC episode this still is from wins a souvenir from L.A.!  UPDATE:  Jeannine K. is the winner! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Michael Lisicky: Oboist, Author, and Historian

Michael Lisicky is second oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He is also an author and historian and has written five books on the histories of downtown urban department stores. (Visit here or here to purchase.) He has been sought out by CBS Sunday Morning, Bloomberg, Fortune, and other leading news sources as an expert on this field.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jacob Smith: Bassoonist, Arts Administrator, Tech Entrepreneur, and Father

Readers, I am very excited to share with you this interview from 2011 with someone I consider a friend, role model -- and inspired me to start this project. I think Jacob must have a Time-Turner to do everything he does. Enjoy!  --AM

Jacob Smith is principal bassoonist with the Academy of Vocal Arts Orchestra and plays frequently with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and is a substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra. He is a former member of The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. He studied with Nancy Goeres at Carnegie Mellon University and Danny Matsukawa at Temple University. 

Jacob is also Director of Development and Marketing for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (PCMS) and Marlboro Music Festival and School. He also owns a web company, Dinkum Interactive. He resides in Philadelphia with his wife Meghan and two sons, Rory and Duncan.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Go Read Somebody Else Today

The internet is a black hole, and today, in particular, I was derailed from my work -- including some new blog posts! -- by a few articles online that I want to share: 

My interviewees, many of whom do not fit into traditional molds or hold traditionally recognizable titles of success -- CEO, Concertmaster of A Major Orchestra -- instead define what success means to them and set and attain goals based on that. Today, Diane Ragsdale has an article considering how arts organizations might (re)define success in the 21st century, rather than continuing to benchmark against outdated or irrelevant goals. She cites what I found to be an interesting Times op-ed about social media.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 - 2012 Year in Review

Facebook wants me to click on some app to datamine my newsfeed Timeline into a year-end review. Instead, I'll do my own! It was an incredible year in which I fully embodied my motto to "Embrace the craziness." Top 10 after the jump.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Go for it, but don't pay for it."

As we hit up post-holiday sales armed with gift cards, make New Year's resolutions to reign in spending in 2013, and hear more about the looming "fiscal cliff," I thought today would be a good day to talk about money. 

On that note, I wanted to emphasize something Dawn Webster said when I asked what advice she had for young people considering music degrees. She said:

"Go for it, but don’t pay for it. Having that debt is a very serious thing."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jonathan Fink, cellist and Realtor®

Jonathan Fink is a cellist with the Philly Pops, Reading Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, and Rittenhouse String Quartet. He is also a Realtor® with Keller Williams in Philadelphia. 

He is a graduate of Philadelphia College for the Performing Arts (University of the Arts) and resides in Fishtown with his wife Marjorie and children Ben and Hannah. Email or call Jon at (215) 805-5276. He would love to hear from you!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Updates from Interviewees

The Spokane Symphony is back to work -- catch its "Holiday Pops" next weekend. Bassoonist Luke Bakken (interview here) blogged about the labor dispute.

Composer Joseph Hallman (interview here) has launched a new website. His scores are available for purchase there, including Transfigured Carols, proceeds from which go to support the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Earlier this week, Joe was named "Composer of the Day" by Composers Circle; a recording of his beautiful cello sonata is streaming at the link.

Mezzo Shannon Langman is featured in this recent article about the vocal scene in Houston. The author says she has "imagination and gumption in spades;" check out our interview (if you haven't already) and I think you'll agree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank You!

Recovering Oboist has hit more than 2,000 pageviews! In honor of this milestone, I thought it would be fun to do another little progress report on the blog like I did a couple of months ago:
  • Total pageviews: 2,109 and counting!
  • Most popular post: Dan McDougall, 107 views and counting
  • Second most popular post: #MajorAnnouncement, 101 views and counting
  • Most popular page: Performance Schedule, 62 views and counting
  • Readers represent the U.S. and 9 foreign countries.
  • Most popular referring sites are Facebook, IDRS, and Google
  • Popular referring search terms include names of colleagues, e.g., Nobuo Kitagawa, Mary Watt, etc.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dawn Webster, trumpeter and acupuncture student

Dawn Webster is a freelance trumpeter and an acupuncture student at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles. 

Dawn studied music and environmental geology in her undergrad at Rutgers University and earned a Master of Music from Temple University studying with David Bilger.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One Reason Why I've Been M.I.A.

Readers, I miss you! As you know, the past two months have been crazy between my oboe life and my Curtis life

Now, some "extracurricular" projects are a priority for the next few weeks, including: For the second year in a row, I am serving as a volunteer grant panelist for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Greetings from the Inn at Bethlehem

Ok, not quite: Greetings from the Comfort Suites in Bethlehem, PA. I'm up here with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem for two days of our "Bach to School" educational programs for middle schoolers in the Lehigh Valley.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shannon Langman, Mezzo-Soprano and Photographer

Mezzo-soprano Shannon Langman teaches and performs frequently in Houston, where she resides with her husband, tenor Gregory Smith. Shannon was a Young Artist with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York and spent two seasons with The Ohio Light Opera. She has sung solo parts with The Houston Symphony and the Orquesta Sinf├│nica Nacional de Mexico.

Shannon received her Master of Music Degree in Opera Performance at The Moores School of Music at the University of Houston where she was the recipient of the prestigious Cynthia Woods Mitchell Scholarship. She is also the owner of Shannon Langman Photography, specializing in musician headshots.