I’m off to Greenville, North Carolina today for the premiere of my third string quartet tomorrow night. It will be repeated here on Sunday. The performers are topnotch, but not a regular quartet: Ara Gregorian (director of the Four Seasons Chamber Festival), Ivan Chan (of the Miami String Quartet), Ulrich Eichenauer (former principal viola of the Dresden Phil and member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet) and Michael Kannen (formerly of the Brentano Quartet). They began rehearsing the piece on Tuesday. Tonight I will hear it for the first time in – here’s the catch – an open rehearsal. Not used to having my first rehearsal with an ensemble in front of an audience. Could be pretty interesting.
I’m a bit concerned that this quartet is one of those pieces that looks a lot easier on the page than it actually is. Part of me trusts in the tremendous skills and experience of the performers involved, and part of me is worried that they will just be doing everything they can to hold it together. If so, will I be able to help them? Will the open rehearsal audience be understanding if things aren’t proceeding smoothly? An additional twist is the fact that I only know one of the players, I’ll be meeting the other three for the first time at the rehearsal. Does it seem strange that I find that awkward? It’s so hard for me to establish an effective musical communication instantaneously.
With anything like this, there is always the good chance I’ll end up making a complete ass of myself, which may be more entertaining for the audience than if things proceeded without a hitch. I’ll let you know how it goes when I return.
And if I don’t let you know how it went, I’m sure you’ll understand.