BGSU is hosting a conducting workshop this week, and today’s featured guest and clinician was Leonard Slatkin. I spent the better part of the day and night watching him work with the BG Philharmonia on Brahms 2nd, and then working with a number of student conductors on the same piece, as well as hearing him speak at the conferral of his honorary doctorate from BG. Quite an experience. He’s incredibly articulate, both on the podium and off, and his dedication to young musicians (not just composers, though he’s renowned for that as well), is inspiring. Watching him conduct was an education in and of itself, and is just one more reason this year at BG has proven to be invaluable.
Another of those reasons is that the Wind Symphony dedicated its entire rehearsal to my music today, sightreading Chester Leaps In (and taking it REAL FAST), then to working on Suite Dreams, and finally, spending 35 minutes sightreading my brand new Concerto for Wind Ensemble. It is a luxury beyond description for me to be able to finish a piece on a Monday, and get to hear it just 2 days later. No waiting until I hear the dress rehearsal to find out if the pacing works, if there are wrong notes in the parts, or if it will be as exciting in real life as I thought it was in my head. Now I know that, 1) Yes, 2) Yes, a few, but nothing too egregious, and 3) Holy cow YES!!
Anyway, my undying gratitude to director Bruce Moss for giving me so much of his rehearsal time, and to the band for sightreading some fiendishly difficult parts with me breathing down your necks.
Coming up next Tuesday – the Michigan State Wind Symphony, under the direction of Verena Moesenbichler, performs Radiant Joy! I’ve heard them in rehearsal, and this should be a VERY joyful rendition!