The year in review, as they say..


The way the university works, June is the month to write end-of-year stuff. Financial stuff for the department, summaries of the student and faculty concerts, teaching evaluations, all that. This activity, plus next week’s end-of-year Board meetings for ACA in New York, plus the unofficial start of my sabbatical, makes it easy to look back a bit right now.

Lots of things can happen over a year. A former student could receive a new pair of lungs and spend the year in a completely new situation. Longtime colleagues can retire.You can start working with new musicians – often (given the smallness of the musical world)  people who are already friends-of-friends (both on and off of facebook). Weather can get to be an over-riding concern. Northern New England governors can be, oh, idiosyncratic. New TV shows could make a mark and then disappear who knows where. Austrian brass players can be worshipped as Gods in central Maine. Most of these things could have been anticipated, but some not.

My own last concert of the season was wonderful in many ways. I got to have a new piece played between pieces by Zorn and Reich (!!) and have it played with a lot of thought and care in front of a packed house in a cool Portland gallery. The friends I stayed with kept talking about how this was the real hipster Portland, so I feel that I have now been within the nerd paradise of my region. It bookends nicely with playing in Brooklyn way last fall, before all of the cold and damp, among hipsters not concerned with weather-appropriate clothing. Completely different scene, but then that was before Sandy.

Now, moving on (as Davy’s yoga tapes instruct us). Later this week, both Davy and I will be at the VCCA in Sweet Briar, VA, to write music for a few weeks. Then, it’s time to get the Bangor house ready for the renters, and practice bass clarinet parts for the Clarinetfest conference (note – probably not nerd paradise, unless you love discussing woodwind gear). And before Davy starts back in the fall, we’ll spend some time in Burlington, where he will take at least 28 pictures of sunsets.