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|Volume 5 Issue 2, April 2020|
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
I don’t know a single human being, let alone musician, whose life has not been turned on its head these past several weeks. The sheer scope of this pandemic, the grief and confusion caused by sickness, separation, loss of income, and the suspension of anything resembling normal life cannot be overestimated.
After a whirlwind period of performing, giving master classes, and touring in Europe and the United States, we barely made it back home to Luxembourg before the borders closed and everything shut down. Within the space of days, I watched my next 6 months’ work as a performer completely disappear. Over these past several weeks of lockdown, I go through periods of appreciating the present moment, enjoying simple pleasures, loving having more time with my husband than my schedule normally allows, playing repertoire just because it feels good to play, going for walks (and practice sessions) in the woods, cooking (and doing dishes…so…many...dishes...), video chatting with friends and family around the globe, and pursuing projects that have been on the back burner for a while. Then there are the times that I pull my horn out of its case and wonder, “Why bother?” When will any of us be back on stage again? And there are the times I wake up and wonder how I’m going to get out of bed and face another day. The moments when despair creeps beside me are no fun. Through talking to so many people and seeing your posts on social media, I know many of you are experiencing similar feelings. The cancellation of regional workshops, including IHS52 in Eugene, is a blow to our horn community. My heart goes out to each and every one of you who has been affected, particularly the hosts of these events who have devoted crazy hours and their life’s blood to make them happen.
How do we respond in these impossible times? This newsletter, which will appear in two parts spread out over the next month, is full of inspiring ways many of you have used your creative energies to perform alone or together (virtually), the challenges you’ve had to meet to teach online, advice on how to cope with stress and organize your practicing, and the immense beauty and necessity of spreading art to heal a world whose attention is captivated by sickness and anxiety. The sheer number of videos and musical offerings has been overwhelming! However, it’s not always possible to connect to our creativity. Sometimes it’s a struggle just to survive. Maybe it’s too painful to reach for your instrument today, this week, or this month. That’s okay too. Be gentle with yourself and accept wherever you are in this moment. Reach out to loved ones, friends, and professional therapists and counsellors for support. Check up on each other. None of us has to be alone. At times like this, our IHS family is more important than ever.
With love to you all,
IHS 52 Cancellation
It is with great sadness and with a very heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of IHS52 at the University of Oregon, Eugene. As the months of this pandemic have progressed, it has became clear that the health and safety of our members, vendors and the concert-going public should be first and foremost in our minds.
With the University moving to online instruction for the duration of its Summer Session, and International travel bans still enforced, it is clear that it would be impossible for the Society to move forward with having our Symposium in August.
The Advisory Council would like to express our great thanks and appreciation to Lydia Van Dreel for her excellent organization and her tireless work on this Symposium. Later this summer, we will be announcing this year’s honorees, the new members of our Advisory Council, and will also be unveiling IHS53, so watch www.hornsociety.org for these very important announcements.
The International Horn Society would not exist without our members, and it is for the protection of all that we have made this difficult decision. We look forward to the first opportunity we have to come together, learn from one another, play music together, and enjoy the nobility and beauty of our most incredible instrument.
Please understand that these are unprecedented times for everyone, and the University of Oregon is handling numerous cancellations and restructuring of courses for online teaching. Your patience is appreciated.
Has your address changed?
Antonio Pirrotto - "Recondita Armonia" from Tosca
Corno, not Corona
by Anneke Scott
The beginning of the Coronavirus coincided with the tail end of a long Beethoven Symphonies tour with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Whilst the orchestra is officially based in London, the musicians are a very international bunch. We find ourselves getting together for very intense projects and then going our separate ways. When you’re on tour, it’s easy to become slightly distanced from what is happening in the news. We were all hearing various things from our home countries and also picking up snippets of news from the countries in which we toured, but I think we were all aware that something was coming. We had about two months off between the end of this part of the tour (Chicago) and the beginning of the next part (London). Very sadly everything has now been cancelled, leaving a feeling of a gaping lacuna for us all.
The musicians from the ensemble continue to be in touch with one another - our principal trombone Adam Woolf immediately sprang into action with a rather nice idea, a project he called “Bach Together”. All the IHS readers are more than welcome to contribute to it! The idea is that we can all remotely add our voice a virtual choir and orchestra performing one of Bach’s chorale settings “Ich will hier bei dir stehen” from the St Matthew Passion. You can find the project here: http://adamwoolf.com/bach/
Adam knew I’d recently been given a beautiful two-valved piston horn and wrote asking whether I wanted to use my “new toy” for the project. The problem is that this instrument is nowhere near A440. However, I had just the thing for Bach chorales - my Corno da Tirarsi. This is an incredible instrument with quite an extraordinary story.
Vídeo alumnos de Trompa Jaén ESPAÑA
Help keep us up to date
2020 International Horn Society Composition Contest
Prizes: $1250 for Each Division
For more information, rules, and electronic submission see the Composition Contest Portal at The International Horn Society website.
ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED by DECEMBER 1, 2020
Randall E. Faust, COORDINATOR, COMPOSITION CONTEST
We Stand Ready - virtual concert series of the U.S. Army Field Band
by Selena Maytum
I'm Sgt.1st Class Selena Maytum, a horn player with the U.S. Army Field Band. Our unit's mission is to connect Americans with their Army through music and honor Soldiers, Veterans, and their families. Our unit been mobilized to help out on our post: stocking groceries at the commissary, cleaning and sanitizing buildings, and doing our part to help the nation deal with this crisis, all while following COVID-19 protocols - which isn't easy. It is especially rewarding that we are still able to do our part as musicians, too!
Since March 20th, we have been live-streaming a virtual concert series on our YouTube and Facebook pages called We Stand Ready. Each day is a mix of musical, educational, and interactive segments - hopefully something for everyone! In addition to playing horn, I'm a part of our social media team. Every day I get responses from people who are seeing these shows, letting us know how they enjoyed watching a brass quintet with their children, or how their spouse knew the words to a Broadway song and was singing along to the broadcast. So many people are telling us how the music is helping them get through their days, so it's great to know that we're able to connect to these people through music, online, as we all do our part to stay home and stay safe. I hope that all of you will tune in to watch We Stand Ready sometime soon!
Visit armyfieldband.com to see a weekly schedule of programming and info on how to watch!
Let Us Hear From You
Laudatio in a hollow metropolis
by Yoshimasa Kasahara
The COVID-19 situation in Japan drastically started to change in late February. I gave a recital on 20 Feb. (there, among other pieces, I performed the Japanese premiere of Laurence Lowe's Earthsongs, the recording of which is also on my YouTube channel). In that week, a small number of concert cancellations already occurred. However, they were mostly because of some performers from abroad who couldn't make the trip, so we weren't that upset. Things suddenly changed on the 26th, when the prime minister called on citizens to avoid events with large number of people. Almost all concerts were cancelled by second week of March. Until the middle of the month, some concerts took place as livestreams without audience (including a monumental production of “Götterdämmerung” in Biwako Hall), but soon faded away when crowded orchestral seating itself became an issue.
While performing arts events shut down quickly and obediently, the government was slow to restrict other economic activities. A large percentage of office workers continued (and, yes, still continue) to commute in notoriously packed (and punctual) trains, at least in mid-April. I might add that two orchestral auditions (not in Tokyo) for which I was applying, took place as scheduled, with much care placed on appropriate social distancing and hand sanitizer...
It was not until the Olympic/Paralympic games were officially postponed (24 Mar.) that both the PM and Governor of Tokyo started to persuade people to stay home (there's more to talk about on this topic, but it gets too political for this forum).
The Laudatio video was shot on April 7th, the day a state of emergency was declared by the PM for large cities, with an advance notice the day before. A scheduled rehearsal was cancelled, so I took advantage of the free time to make a video recording of this piece (in mid March I had relearned the piece for a lesson to a student who was preparing it for the IHS52 solo competition). Shibuya was definitely not uninhabited, but looked somewhat different. Less than usual, but still many people continue to come to work. Is this really an emergency? Who knows? Anyway, this solemn and heartfelt music seemed to fit the unreal mood of the day.
Stay safe, and keep on annoying your neighbors with the sound of your horn!
Utilizing online teaching resources for a university studio
by Dr. Monica Martinez
At the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), the transition to online instruction has been successful but challenging. The support and effort provided to faculty, staff, and students by UTRGV was swift and reliable. The initial shock from having to transition so quickly to distance learning was stressful for all of us, especially those of us who are accustomed to the one-on-one studio teaching and ensemble settings that we are used to attending in person. As any educator and musician does in the moment, we roll with the punches and stay flexible, patient, and understanding. Not all performances go as planned, and this performance is unlike any we will face again.
Keeping students motivated can be challenging, especially when one’s own motivation comes into question. Finding ways to remain active, engaged, collaborative, and mindful of our education, even at this moment, is still part of the greater journey in our careers. It is not easy, but it is part of our journey nevertheless towards something much larger.
We are fortunate that UTRGV has had distance and online learning tools available as part of other course curricula and that it offered multiple tools to engage students and continue the learning. I took advantage of the online trainings for Blackboard, Zoom, Panopto, Respondus, and took a deep dive into learning about other platforms that could help to enhance my studio such as Flipgrid, SmartMusic, and Adobe Creative Cloud. So many products, so little time to digest it all. It was quite overwhelming, but I took it as a challenge knowing that down the line, we will all benefit from this as technology becomes even more present within the performing arts academic curriculum.I am grateful to have so many tools made available to me and for my students. Many of these platforms realized that there was an immediate need for access, and several provided them to educators and students at no cost. I use Zoom, Flipgrid, and SmartMusic at the core of my online instruction. Zoom is used for weekly lessons and studio class. Recognizing that my students’ at-home technological resources are different, I took what was available and adapted to it. They use Flipgrid and YouTube to submit recorded assignments. Zoom allows me to share my screen, and we are both able to play back video recordings while following along with a PDF of the music on the screen simultaneously. I also use SmartMusic for assessing my students’ fundamental proficiencies such as sight-reading.
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