Had yet another great week in Schladming, Austria, at Mid Europe 2009. The World Youth Wind Orchestra Project, or WYWOP, gave a great concert this past Saturday night to close the festival. The concert was shared among four conductors: Gary Green from the Univ. of Miami, Joseph Horovitz from Great Britain, Johann Moesenbichler, president of Mid Europe, and for the first time, Verena Moesenbichler, Executive Director of the WYWOP and Director of Bands at Duke University (and my soon to be wife!). Gary did several tunes, including a new piece by Austin-based composer Ryan George, which is a really solid, fun piece, and I expect it will get a lot of performances. Ryan and his wife Sara(h?) came out to Austria just for this performance, and turned out to be truly delightful people to hang out with.
Gary also did my Radiant Joy with the group, which was a little scary in rehearsals, but all-but-flawless in performance (special shout-out to John Di Egidio and Nicola Martini for the Sop. and Bari. sax solos, and the percussion section for laying down a completely solid groove the entire time). Green closed the concert with the second movement of Mackey’s Kingfishers Catch Fire, which, as always, brought the house down. This year’s band had a particularly strong and large trumpet section, which was a perfect fit for John’s piece.
Verena did a masterful job with the piece she was tasked with conducting (which was itself NOT a masterfully transcribed work from the original brass band version, but that’s another story). The sheer energy and presence she has on the podium is breathtaking. I can’t wait to hear her conduct Alchemy in Silent Spaces someday. 🙂
Now we’re spending the remainder of our time in Austria, where she’s preparing for her first year as Director of Bands at Duke University, and I’m finishing the new piece for the Nebraska consortium. I had finished it before I left for WASBE a few weeks ago, but have decided it needs a better climax section and ending, so I’m back to being unfinished. Then we fly back to the US, where we load up all of our stuff in a big truck, and drive 14 hours to our new home in Durham, NC!