I’m typing this at 1:26am in a darkened room, so bugs are flying on the sole light that is my computer screen. And, being lazy, I’m smushing them against the computer with my thumb. My brain might be a little fried. For a very good reason though! It’s been such a wonderful week, with such a saturation of beautiful music-making that my mind definitely got a few fuses blown.
We’ve been so fortunate to have the Parker Quartet here with us, who are four of my favorite musicians, as well as favorite human beings.
It is always good to catch up with old friends, and it had been almost a decade since I had seen Ying last. (It was actually my very first piano quartet that we had played together – Dvorak D major, with Bonnie Hampton and Roger Tapping on cello and viola. I mostly remember Bonnie constantly telling me that I was too loud, and Ying shooting me sympathetic looks, which I definitely was grateful for).
They arrived on Tuesday, and we began rehearsing the Zwilich Septet and Dvorak op.97 String Quintet. They coached and gave lessons to the fellows throughout the week, gave a masterclass on Thursday, had a Q+A session with the students, and gave a pre-concert talk on Saturday. Oh yeah, and they played two concerts. And wow, they were just so compelling. Such integrity and conviction in their playing, where you were hanging onto every note because it was just so sincerely felt. This is what I’ve always felt about Ying’s playing, and it’s so great to see her in a group that shares the same core values.
Update on the students: the Fellows had their first outside performances this Sunday, with the Brahms quartet playing at Warms Springs Presbyterian Church, and the Haydn quartet playing at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Also, did you know some of our fellows are talented composers? Kee Kim, cellist of the Parkers, read through some of Ben Osterhouse’s compositions with the Fellows despite having just played a gargantuan program of Beethoven op.18 no.2 and Schubert G major D887, and was quite impressed. And our piano fellow, Joseph Williams, writes his own songs!
This being their first time here, the Parkers were blown away by the excellent cooking of Josh, Natalia, and Juston. The aspect of the dining has an inestimable value towards everyone’s enjoyment of their experience here, and their cooking brings us as much joy as the music making.
And as if he hadn’t played enough, Kee and I had a great time reading through some cello-piano repertoire Sunday evening before they left. Always fun to play with our fabulous guest artists!