This week I’ve been working with the West Michigan Symphony, playing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony and the Shostakovich Cello Concerto. The commute is long – that’s the downside – so I’ve had to reschedule most of my students and accept the short short nights that come along with Zoe’s early morning getting-ready-for-kindergarten needs. But on the upside, I get to play with my husband – Steve is on this gig with me, for a change – and I’m having such a great time working with the orchestra!
It’s a treat to play under Scott Speck. He’s got a calm and low-key approach, and he knows what he wants the orchestra to sound like. He works efficiently – even before tonight’s dress rehearsal I feel that the group is very well prepared and I know exactly what’s being asked of me in every section. We know what to listen for in each passage and how he wants it played. He’s scholarly about the material, but not to a tiresome degree. I get the sense that he knows more than he shares with us, and that that is intentional – we only need to know what we need to know to fully play the pieces in front of us. On the one hand I could listen to him talking for hours – and on the other I respect his desire not to waste our time. Which he hasn’t done.
It’s a treat to play OLD music – Beethoven and Shostakovich masterpieces – and to lavish some true attention upon it. We know these works, we know the basic style, we know how to get through them- but exploring them deeply has been enjoyable. I hope people turn out for the concert – it will be lovely!