Monday, March 3, 2014
$8000 First Prize - It's surely one of the largest prizes ever won by an MTSU Grad.
The Schadt String Competition is the annual national solo string competition of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. I had a feeling Silviu would win. He played the Giuliani op. 30 Concerto. He first learned it in high school in Romania. This was a stunning win due to the level of competition. He competed against a very competitive group, GFA Prize winners, the previous 2nd Prize winner in this competition, etc... but there was no doubt. He received the judges unanimous decision as well as the audience ballot.
Dr. Silviu Ciulei will return to perform a concerto with the Allentown Symphony next season, as well as a series of solo concerts.
I met Silviu 10+ years ago after I performed a concerto in Constanza, Romania with the Black Sea Philharmonic. I'm glad he decided to visit me backstage after the concert. I immediately recognized his ability. I tried for a year to get the MTSU upper administration to offer some help for him to come to MTSU, to no avail. But, it was former MTSU School of Music Director, George Riordan, who recognized Silviu's talent in about 10 minutes, and later approved an unprecedentedly large scholarship package. Without Dr. Riordan's help, Silviu may not have been able to come to study in the USA at MTSU.
Silviu is an old-school type player... plays with a big sound, lots of rest stroke. My type of player.
Dr. Silviu Ciulei has earned a place for himself in the US due to his extraordinary gifts and contributions. I certainly hope the immigration system does the right thing and grants him a green card. If anyone has earned it, he has.
Friday, February 28, 2014
This concert came about when a Taiwanese guitarist was unable to make it, the D'Addario Foundation had to scramble to find an American virtuoso to fill the bill. Most people spend years preparing for a NY debut in this, the most hallowed concert hall in the world, but Matt pulled it off with three days notice, and from all reports, rocked the house.
Even more remarkable for me as a teacher, I had heard that it came down to 2 main choices: both MTSU graduates! Silviu Ciulei was the other person they had contacted. Silviu told me today that Michael Newman, a prominent NYC guitarist had contacted him about a 'possible concert in NY' ... not hinting it was Carnegie Hall. The Foundation President told me she had a hard time deciding between the two. I told her to consider Silviu for next year. Silviu this weekend is competing in the Schadt Concerto Competition. God, I hope he wins it. $8000 first prize. He took 3rd last time.
I don't know if there is a higher honor for a teacher to have a student receive a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall ... save for perhaps 2 students. Next year, Silviu.
|Matt demonstrates his nail sanding technique in between pieces in Carnegie Hall|
|Matt getting ready to bring it - the Green room selfie, Carnegie Hall|
|Matt has come a long way from the days of heavy metal and working on cars in the tiny east TN town of Fall Branch. Here's Matt pulling an engine from a Chevelle...|
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Much of the snow may be gone by tomorrow, but I will be there tonight, on my way to a race on Friday. Murfreesboro didn't get a lick of snow. Supposed to hit the 60sº next week but one more chance of snow Friday night.
Here's the dawn timelapse video of that morning
Monday, February 10, 2014
Last Monday, I did a radio concert / interview for a station in Winchester. It was unfortunately advertised incorrectly by the local newspaper - wrong date, so only about 20 people showed up. It was fun to talk about my music influences and background. But it made it difficult to focus on playing after talking several minutes in between each piece. It went ok, but no where near as well as the Otey concert.
It's time again for the winter Olympics.... I really love the games. Watching the Olympics makes a great backdrop for practicing guitar and lute. I almost forgot how great my wood burning fireplace is at Cedarcrest log house, about three times the size of my fireplace in Sewanee. I have the last of my split red oak that has now seasoned almost 5 years and wow, does it crank out the heat!
Heading back up to Sewanee tonight after the concert, so I can train indoors at the Fowler Center because it's supposed to be very cold and snowy tomorrow. Work week starts after 4 on Tuesday. Track meet on Friday in Birmingham.
|Otey Parish concert|
|St. Lukes radio performance / interview|
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Sewanee, TN - Free concerts
Feb. 3 - 7:30 PM
St. Luke's Chapel, U of the South
Artist showcase, radio interview / performance
WCDT FM 106.9 (Winchester, TN)
Feb. 9 - 3:00 PM
Handel, Dowland, Reiss, Albeniz, Gismonti and more
The program will be 1/3 historical repertoire including a set of Elizabethan Lute Music, Spanish Vihuela pieces, and a Handel Suite. The remainder will be Brazilian and Spanish with an ending set of American fingerstyle.
While forecasts don't show any terribly cold weather in the near future, early March usually gives a late season snow before it's all over.
With several over night lows in the single numbers and two, below zero, I think this has been the coldest winter since 2009-10. I'm really happy that Sky Castle in Sewanee has proven to be a very efficient and cozy cold weather home. Electric bills never higher than the $140s, however, I fear what the next bill will bring in Murfreesboro. I expect it could be pushing $400.
Here are some photos of the recent bitter cold.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
|Snow showers blow through the cove, 4º at sunset|
The quote from one of my favorite classic songs, in my mind while on the bluff for this, the coldest weather in my experience here in Sewanee. My weather station recorded a low of -3.7 F. Lets call it minus 4 degrees.
I planned to come up after my track meet on Sunday, but I had to change out a breaker at my Murfreesboro house, a bit nervous about leaving there during this severe weather. The roads that night were treacherous and TEMA declared a State of Emergency. I stayed in Murfreesboro Sunday night.
Sunday was a wild weather event. 58º Sunday afternoon in Murfreesboro. Then it dropped 25º in a few hours and it was freezing rain and then a dusting of snow on top. I was standing outside with the service tech working on my HVAC unit during the freezing rain.
Sewanee got barely 2 inches of snow, Murfreesboro, a dusting. By Monday morning it was 10º and dropping! Sewanee only reached 8º as a daytime maximum. Today it stayed in the teens and may likely hit 10º tonight.
Standing on the bluff at sunset last night was an ethereal experience. It was a clear beautiful sunset and very quiet, except for the distant roar of Laurel Branch. I could distinctly hear the sounds of animals, probably deer, crunching through the snow in the wilderness below, although I couldn't see them. Maybe it was a wild cat.
Last night, I went out for a brief walk in the sub zero temps during the wee hours. The stars were brighter than I'd seen since Canada, and Orion was looking right down at me, seeming very large and close. I slept in front of the fire.
Taking some time off from running to focus on music.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Keeping some odd hours on the bluff this week. Playing guitar to the setting full moon.
A cold breeze, owls hooting, and the thunder of the Laurel Branch, rushing hundreds of feet below.
These are the dark days, the solstice is near.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Clearing skies provided some sunny days and stunning sunsets.
I hiked down to the roaring Laurel Branch Falls below my bluff and was reminded how treacherous the terrain is. Locals have told me not to go 'down there' alone. bah!
Last night's sunset looked like an erupting volcano. There was one moment that was awe inspiring. So grand, that many who saw the picture doubted it's authenticity. Fortunately, I have a time lapse video of the sunset showing the momentary explosion of color.
Playing the Handel Suite and Albeniz' Mallorca at All Saints last night amid the holiday decorations was inspiring. Have finalized my concert program for Feb. Will be playing concerts in Sewanee and at MTSU in early-mid Feb.
Enjoyed the Folk Music concert at St. Luke's Thursday night ... some good Czech and Yiddish accordion music.
|Laurel Branch Falls|
Monday, November 25, 2013
I made a larger table for my bedroom with an lower shelf, where I can throw my travel bag on when I come in. It's about 42" x 23". I also made a small lamp table for the guest room to go with the comfy love seat I put in there. It looks like a real guest room now. I also replaced the busted pressure treated lumber handles on my wheel barrow with solid oak. That should last a while.
The best finish for the oak table tops is food grade mineral oil. It doesn't have an odor and it really brings out the wood grain on sanded wood. Also, all natural, non-toxic.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
|Notice the saw mill markings on the table top.|
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Emma VisitsMy cat Emma may be in her last year. She had reached the skin and bones stage, weighing just 4.4 lbs before I brought her to the vet. After being de-wormed and de-fleaed, she was given fluids and vitamin supplements. She now has gained a half pound and is recovering and eating well. I took her to Sewanee for the first time to keep an eye on her. Wow, she is so tiny. She'll be 16 yrs old in April.
New RecipeI also made Kind Bars. Amazingly easy and good. Too good. Can't make them too often because they're addictive. Really much better than cake, cookies or flour based pastries. Since they have no flour, they have no gluten and are low carb.... but high in 'good fat' and sweet. Basically just dried fruit, nut and honey. So much better to me than any traditional cookie, and so much more healthy... not to say this is 'health food' ... but relatively speaking. Cooking with parchment paper was a first for me. So easy to make, so good. Looking forward to trying the apricot coconut almond variety. Amazingly, after eating most of 2 batches of these, I didn't gain any weight. Well, maybe a lb. I gave some to John and Nancy P. They totally approved. The second batch came out more crispy crunchy.
Hope my cat makes it through the winter.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
First snow of the season comes early. No accumulation, but wow. Supposed to be back up near 70º by Monday, thankfully.
|The season's first snow shower|
|Sunny and cold|
Monday, November 11, 2013
The weather on Sunday and Monday this second week of Nov. were nearly 10º higher than predicted. This sunny facing bluff hit 67.5º today while stations in the towns of Sewanee and Monteagle struggled to get to 60º today. Something about the late afternoon and evening thermals of this southwest facing exposure give this location warm fall and winter evenings compared to the town. As I write this, it's 56º at 6:50 pm here at Sky Castle while Sewanee is reporting 49º in town. The air is completely still, hard to believe a wind advisory is in effect for tomorrow and sub freezing temperatures for the next 2 nights. Hopefully, the cold snap will arrest these lady bugs swarms we've been having.
Friday night was the awesome A. Shankar Indian music concert, and Sat., a great party here at Sky Castle with lots of musicians. I think, out of 18 people at the party, all but 2 or 3 were musicians. Great time, great music, and nice turnout. We partied from sunset to late. Should have taken some photos but didn't think of it.
Here are some of today... been really enjoying my evening tea by the fire on the porch.
|Tea time - 4:00 pm|
Monday, November 4, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Then... I finally did it. Bought a splitter. A Husky consumer model, 22-ton. Wanted an Ariens with a Honda engine, but this was $400 cheaper and I bought an extended 4 year warranty that even covers normal wear. How much can I use this a year? Kind of felt silly about buying it but... it will save time and save my hands with the manual splitting I've been doing. I decided not to build my screen house so I justified the cost that way. Aside from the USA-made Briggs & Stratton engine (know for their mediocrity), it is a simple and heavily built solid steel machine. It weighs 534 lbs, but it's fairly well balanced, not too much of a struggle to move. I hope I don't roll it off the bluff by mistake. It cut even the knurliest hardwood with ease. It makes a nice compliment to my Stihl chainsaw.
Since I abandoned the screen house project, I upgraded my porch fireplace with the nice Preway I had intended for the screen house. Tried it out last night. Awesome. It's going to make sitting outside, even in winter, nice. Still want to add some heat shielding for the floor and deck rails, but it's great.
OK... project finished, now back to playing guitar and training on the track.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
The Government shutdown made the park extremely quiet, but all seemed normal here at Fontana Lake, NC. You'd never know there was a park shutdown. No rangers, but Fontana visitors center was open, a few campers arriving by kayak in the park. However, only saw one hiker in 5 days and 35+ miles of hiking... a girl through-hiker on the AT, coincidentally, a recent college grad from Sewanee. We hiked with her to Shuckstack tower.
The big hike was Monday, the 16 mile hike to High Rocks with a 3500" climb. We started a bit late and walked the last hour in the dark, but we were prepared. The summit view was great. The old ranger cabin at the summit was severely deteriorated, the roof had fallen in.
The Friday hike up the Lost Cove trail out of Eagle creek to Shuckstack tower was spectacular. The weather was clear and it made for some really good photos.
Overall, we saw 5 bear... all in trees and coming down fast to flee from us.
Check out the photos...