I have been invited to play some recitals and give some master classes at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. This is part of the 2nd International Wind & Percussion Music Festival. This is a huge thrill and honor for me so I thought I would keep a web log of my adventure here on AllThingsTrumpet.
I arrived yesterday evening around 5pm China-time after about 16 hours of travel. I was greeted at the airport by two very enthusiastic trumpet students from the conservatory and they took me to my hotel. Like good trumpet colleagues, we all now know what trumpets we own and what size mouthpieces we play. (Yamaha and Stomvi are big here.) One of the students whistled trumpet excerpts the whole trip from the airport to the hotel. He asked me about the repertoire I was going to play for my solo recital by saying, “Are you play this?… [whistle excerpt of Halsey Stevens Sonata]. Are you play this?…[whistle excerpt of Haydn concerto].” Unfortunately he didn’t know the tunes I have picked for my program, nor could I whistle them to him. I can hardly play them myself yet! I think I am playing my first program on Day 3 and I’ll go into more detail about the repertoire then.
I bought a quad case built by Raw Brass for the trip as the different programs I’ll be playing require I bring 4 horns. The cases I had would work as carry-ons but I didn’t want to use both my carry-on allowances on horns. I’m really happy with the new case and it seemed to have gone through some abuse by the looks of the exterior!
The hotel is within walking distance of the school and is in the heart of the financial/shopping district of Beijing. While I arrived last night, I just collapsed in my room so I am counting today, Sunday, as day 1.
This is an indoor market in the financial district of Beijing.
A town square right outside my hotel.
I spent late morning walking around the shopping district. It is very cold here and while the streets and venues are neat and clean, there seems to be a lot of air pollution. Lots of people are even wearing face masks. I think I am going to keep my running/exercising confined to the hotel treadmill. Eating is going to be an adventure all its own here. Extremely exotic dishes abound; lots of shark fin, eel, salamander and this thing called sea cucumber that looks like a giant slug with spikes on its’ back. I can’t tell if it is an animal or plant but it looks like something I’m not initially interested in trying. I always thought of myself as an open-minded, adventurous eater and love the ethnic restaurants in the States, however, I can see his week is really going to challenge me…
Breakfast, Day 1.
I had my first rehearsal this evening and the pianist and I set about learning the John Stevens Sonata. It is a new piece to me and I was a little worried to try to put a work this difficult together on one or two rehearsals with an unknown accompanist. Not to worry, the pianist is fantastic and I think this will be a lot of fun. After my rehearsal I went to the first concert of the Festival which was the Verdehr Trio (Walter Verdehr – violin, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr – clarinet and Silvia Roederer – piano). This group is out of Michigan and has been together 40 years and has commissioned over 200 new works! The host of the festival Fan Lei treated us all to a wonderful meal after the concert and I had my first braised pigeon. There must have been 10 or 12 dishes passed and I’d say I would order 80% of it again if I could ever identify it.