Though I’ve been observing radio silence the past week, I’ve been doing just fine. Well, not true, but in the grand scheme of things, close enough. The laptop that is responsible for the core of my daily life went down for the long-count last Monday, so I have been splitting my core among three other computers that are accustomed to propping up my peripherals. All of which is to say that I’ve been functioning a little more in the real world and a little less online, which is mostly a good thing. Except for one problem: my little hack of a cough turned into a full-blown sinus infection, which meant I was getting even less sleep than usual, and fattening up on even more meds than usual.
Excuses, excuses. But here I am now, with a new computer, and more to say than reporting on the health of my hardware.
As I wrote last time, we had Missy Mazzoli visiting our seminar online this week. The discussion worked out beautifully, a tribute to Missy’s intelligence and professionalism, and to our students’ preparation. Here is a snap of the faceless composer on wheels:
In person, her features are far more distinguished, and distinguishable. The seminar was wide-ranging, flowing evenly between artistic and practical matters. Missy was candid, supportive and enlightening, as I had hoped she would be. Asked about whether she ever crosses the fine line between her Classical and Pop leanings, she responded by pointing out the limitations of pop music, citing her preference for the Classical context, within which, as she says, “anything can happen.”
As an example of “anything can happen,” I’ll evidence the UNCSA Percussion Ensemble concert I attended last Tuesday night, which included premieres of two works by students of mine: Bruce Tippette’s Escaping Rapture and Alicia Willard’s Spool. Both pieces were wonderful – taking full advantage of the instrumental resources and carving out an attractive way of listening within our particular coordinates in space-time. The program also included a sizzling rendition of the first movement of Zivkovic’s Trio per uno and concluded with a visit from veteran bones player Mitch Boss from Rhythm Bones Central who, before launching into some rags with the students on a couple of cow tibias, informed us that “Music soothes us physically and relieves our minds of pesky internal dialogue,” something I’ve noticed a time or two.
Which brings me back to my checkup yesterday, and the Romanian nurse who presided. After getting more pertinent information out of me, she asked me what I do. When I told her I was a composer, she asked if that’s why I didn’t notice when I was getting sick. I laughed, and asked her why ever did she think composers drift through life without noticing obvious things right in front of their noses, or even behind their noses. She replied, “What, do you think I have no training?” and she proceeded to grill me on how many Romanian composers I knew.
I was relieved to satisfy her questions — especially since she was getting ready to take my temperature.