Sunday, December 30, 2007

Other radom pics

A cool shot of the Cologne Cathedral amongst the fog



So we've visited many cities so far during this break, including Cologne, Trier, Bonn, and Speyer. Next week we will head to Berlin, so many more pictures will surely come soon. Here are a few pics from these visits so far.


This is me in Trier, overlooking the city from a 2000 year old Roman city gate.


The beautiful Cathedral in Speyer


One of the organists of the Cathedral in Speyer showed us the organ loft and gave us a quick performance on the beautiful organ


video

Steffens=Beer

On the way to Michaela's house, we stopped at the 'Steffens' brewery in Linz, Germany. We also stopped at several Steffens wineries. This area of Germany is exactly the same area my family once came from a century ago, and it is so strange for me to see my family name EVERYWHERE. It is an extremely rare name in the US, but in this area, it is very very common. I saw it on restaurants, in the cemeteries, on of course on all this beer and wine. I of course had to try it, and was quite pleased to see that the family is still keepin up the family name back in the homeland :)



A smörgåsbord of Steffens beer


Some wine from Hans-Peter Steffens

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Collage of Christmas vacation begins:



Ok, I'm currently in the middle of winter break. I've already done so much, and there is much more to come, so these next posts will probably be mostly just pictures with brief descriptions. They are a few of the highlights so far.

Michi über Bullay

Michaela sitting in the hills above Bullay


I spent the Christmas holidaywith Michaela in her little town, Bullay, on the Mosel River. It is actually more like three holidays here: they celebrate mainly on Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend). then both Christmas day and the following day are holidays. Her town has somewhere around 1000 people and is one of a series of villages along this river. Its very hilly here and famous for the wine grown on the sides of these hills. Perhaps one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. If you've ever seen a model train set, with the tunnels through mountains, the bridge over the river, the cute little houses, and all that stereotypical pictureseque stuff....it is based EXACTLY on Bullay. It was an absolutely wonderful Christmas.

Alf

A shot of Alf, the village across the river from Bullay.

Schloss gegenüber dem Fluss von Bullay

A castle in the hills across from Bullay. Michi can see this from her bedroom window.

Studio recital

Kneipe nach dem Klassenabend
A few of us from the Posch studio
L to R: Johannes, Me, Martin, Matthias, Phillip, Simon


A couple weeks ago, on December 18, we had our studio recital. 7 of us from the Posch studio performed. Everything went fairly well, and of course we had to go out to celebrate after our last obligation before winter break with a beer. Ok, a few. Here is a clip of my performance of the Vanhal concerto. I used my digital photo camera, so the quality is pretty terrible....but heh, its somethin.


video

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Orchestra Concert!!!


Last Friday I played in the only real orchestral concert that I will be playing during my time here. The system for the orchestra performances here is completely different than at Eastman. Here, there are 3 main orchestra projects each year. They rehearse intensely for a week or two before the performance, but other than that, never meet. There is usually a different conductor for each concert, and generally at least one of them is quite well-known, for example, Pierre Boulez last year, or Riccardo Muti this coming spring. Naturally, I will be back home when Muti comes.... I also play in a reading orchestra that meets once a week, but that is a completely separate endeavor. Overall, a very different approach from at Eastman, where we have 3-4 rehearsals a week and 8 concerts per year. At Eastman, the curriculum seems to revolve around the orchestra, whereas here, it resolves around....well...practicing your ass off... There are definitely pros and cons to both of these approaches.

Here are a couple of pics from before the concert during our 'team-warm-up:'

Stimmführer Johannes leads us in some warmups.


And Eric, what amazing Viennese style bow grip you have adopted...and if I'm not mistaken, that appears to be a brand new Dölling bow...


The program was very appropriate for me. An American theme:
Copeland: Appalachian Spring
(which nobody here had heard before, haha)
David: Trombone Concerto
Dvorak: 9th Symphony "New World"

Our section leader and my stand partner, Johannes, also of the Posch studio, leads us do victory.

We were quite the international double bass section, with EVERY ONE of us coming from a different country, including, Austria, Germany, America, Hungary, India, andCoasta Rica. We were also an assimilation of 4 different bass studios here in Vienna.

A Very Velicious Viennese Vanksgiving



Well, it wasn't anything like being at home, but we were able to do a little something for Thanksgiving here. A group of us from my dorm, including 2 other Americans threw together a thanksgiving meal that actually turned out to be quite decent!
For many of them, it was their first Thanksgiving. From left to right, we are from America, Czech, Lithuania, America, America, Albania, Lithuania, Poland.
Even with chicken replacing the traditional turkey, it was still a very good meal with great friends.