Sunday, January 28, 2007

Concerto winner announced

I am pleased to announce the result of the third annual Cornell Concerto Competition.
It was an event in which an enormous amount of talent, dedication, and communal support brought much inspiration to all that participated and sat in the audience.

After a full day of preliminary rounds with sixteen participants, the final round of five students were chosen as the following;

Emily Looney (Saxophone) Glaznunov Concerto in Eb
Jung Bin Lee (piano) Liszt Totentantz
Andrew Yeo (violin) Lalo Symphonie Espagnol
Jian Liu (violin) Chuasson Poème
Charlene Kluegel (violin) Sibelius Concerto

At the 7 pm final round in Barnes Hall, all five finalists performed. A winner was chosen by the panel of judges. The 2007 Cornell Concerto Competition winner is Charlene Kluegel. She will perform Jean Sibelius' violin concerto on the March 4th concert by the Cornell Symphony Orchestra.

I would like to thank the five judges for their hard work this past Saturday.

Chris Kim
director of orchestras

Bios of the judges follow;

*Kristin Taavola *is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Cornell University. Her research combines music-theoretic and ethnomusicological perspectives in studying twentieth- and twenty-first century art music, as well as musics from Asia and Indonesia.. She has published on Zen and contemporary Japanese art music, as well as musical processes in the music of Bali and the compositions of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Currently, her interest in harmony and mode has turned to France, specifically fin-de-siécle Paris and the music of Satie. She also plays the flute, and has performed in various Balinese angklung gamelan, or percussion orchestra. She has previously taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the Eastman School of Music.

A native of Canada, *Dr. Mayron Tsong* was one of the youngest musicians to complete a Performer's Diploma in Piano from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto at age 16. Since that time, she has performed extensively across the United States, including New York, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco, West Palm Beach, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Indiana, California, Oregon, Michigan, Louisiana, Arizona, Texas, across Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Taiwan and Russia as a soloist and chamber musician. She has been featured as a soloist with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), Symphony North (Houston), the University of North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Longview Symphony Orchestra (Texas), the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra (Canada), the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra (Canada), and the University of Calgary Orchestra (Canada). She has collaborated with renowned artists such as James Campbell, Antonio Lysy, George Taylor, Jeffrey Zeigler (of the Kronos Quartet), the Brentano String Quartet and the Miró String Quartet. Ms. Tsong's solo and collaborative performances have been broadcast by CBC Radio Two - Calgary, Radio Canada - Montreal, WDAV ­ North Carolina, WFMT Radio - Chicago and Radio 4 - Hong Kong. Numerous prizes have included First Prize in the Canadian Music Competitions, the Millenium Prize for Russian Performing Arts, and the prestigious Arts B Grant, awarded by the Canada Council. From 1994-1998, Ms. Tsong was a three-time recipient of The Female Doctoral Students Grant, a competition that encompasses all disciplines nationwide, awarded by the Government of Canada.

Ms. Tsong holds graduate degrees in both Piano Performance and Music Theory, and she obtained her Doctor of Musical Arts under the tutelage of John Perry at Rice University. Her dissertations discuss the piano etudes of György Ligeti. She has also studied with such renowned musicians as György Sebök, Robert Levin, Marek Jablonski, Anton Kuerti, Marilyn Engle, Dr. Robin Wood, and Charles Foreman.

Having served on faculty at California State University in Humboldt and as Chair of the Piano Area at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, Ms. Tsong is currently Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Active as a teacher, clinician, adjudicator and judge in the United States, Canada, China and Hong Kong, Ms. Tsong was Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre, where she was invited to give masterclasses in 2001. In the summers, she has taught and performed at the Sequoia Chamber Music Festival in Northern California, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, Lutheran Summer Music in Minnesota and the Young Musicians
and Artists Camp in Oregon.

A Steinway Artist, Ms. Tsong is a member of the performer¹s roster of the College Music Society, the Scriabin Society, the Canadian Universities Music Society, Minorities and Women Doctoral Directory, the Canadian Music Centre, and she is an Honorary Member of the Tingshuset Music Society in Sweden. She is currently recording her first album for Centaur Records.

Born in Chicago, *Jeffery Meyer *began his musical studies as a pianist, and shortly thereafter continued on to study composition and conducting. He is presently the Director of Orchestras at the Ithaca College School of Music, as well as the founder and Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Russia. Jeff has worked with orchestras in the United States and abroad, including ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In recent concert seasons, he has been seen conducting, performing as piano soloist and chamber musician, as well as conducting from the keyboard in the United States, Canada, Russia, and Germany.

An active participant in the music of our time, he has collaborated with many composers, and commissioned and premiered many new works. He has been featured numerous times as both a conductor and pianist as part of the “Sound Ways” International New Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a pianist, Jeff has been in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and in residence at the Aspen Festival as part of the Furious Band, a New York-based group dedicated to contemporary music. He performs frequently with percussionist Paul Vaillancourt as part of the piano and percussion duo Strike. He has been broadcast on CBC Newfoundland, has recorded and performed with the Philadelphia Virtuosi (Naxos), and has been heard as a soloist at the Aspen Festival. During the 2001-2002 academic year he lived and studied in Berlin and Leipzig as the recipient of a DAAD grant in music. He was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2004 Pedrotti International Competition for Conductors, a finalist in the 2003 Vakhtang Jordania International Conducting Competition, and a semi-finalist in the 2003 Beethoven Sonata International Piano Competition, Memphis, Tennessee.

Jeff is an active adjudicator, guest clinician, and masterclass teacher and has served on the faculties of the Dorian Keyboard Festival, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. He holds degrees in piano as well as composition and completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he studied with Gilbert Kalish.

When the Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded the prestigious Constant & Kit Lambert Fellowship to *Karl Lutchmayer*, the only time in its history that it has been awarded to an instrumentalist, the accolade recognised an artist who in addition to a busy international concert career is also a high profile lecturer, and has even successfully combined the two disciplines to create the 'Conversational Concert' format of public lecture-recitals, which is regularly featured in the national press.

Born in London, he studied with Peter Wallfisch and John Barstow at the Royal College of Music, where he was a major prize winner, and his studies included extensive research into the music of Ferruccio Busoni for his Masters' degree. He subsequently undertook periods of study with Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatoire, Gyorgy Sandor, and Martino Tirimo.

His wide-ranging repertoire, extending from the Renaissance to the present day, allows him to create exciting and innovative programmes; and his recitals and concerto appearances in Russia, Greece, Malta, India, Germany, the USA, and at venues and festivals throughout the United Kingdom have received wide acclaim. He has performed for Radio 3, All India Radio, and Classic FM, worked with international conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis and Lorin Maazel, and been a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Philharmonia, The Erneast Read Symphony Orchestra, The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the Bombay Symphony orchestra, as well as numerous provincial orcjestras.

As the Constant & Kit Lambert Fellow he returned to the Royal College of Music, where he created a piano repertoire course, gave lectures on the Masters Degree programme, coached contemporary piano music and designed, established and delivered the pioneering Performance in Perspective series of lecture-recitals. It was through this work that he was first invited to guest-lecture at the Juilliard and Manhattan Schools in New York, and appointed Professor of Performing Practice at Trinity College of Music, London. He has also been a key-note speaker at the Incorporated Society of Musicians' Annual Conference, and is reguarly invited to give pre-concert talks at the Wigmore Hall. He has more recently, been in demand as a professor of piano, and as a coach for artists in their early careers, and as well giving frequent masterclasses, he has now been invited to join the keyboard faculty at Ithaca University, New York, for a semester in 2007.

A passionate advocate of contemporary music, he has given numerous premières, and had works written for him by Julian Anderson, Richard Causton, and Kenneth Hesketh. He regularly performs with his own chamber collective, Dialogos, as well as the Continuum Ensemble, with whom he has appeared as chamber musician and soloist He has also been the soloist in several performances of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony, and took part in the Stockhausen festival at the Barbican Centre.

He made his New York debut in the 'Interpretations' contemporary music series, and recently gave a recital devoted to premières of works by British composers in Montreal where he also performed and lectured at McGill university. He is also much in demand as a chamber musician in which capacity he has performed at the Cheltenham, Spitalfields, Brighton and Huddersfield festivals and worked with the Duke, and Belcea Quartets.

*David Weaver* began studies in composition in 2000 while a sophomore at Swarthmore College. While completing a B.A. in physics he took extensive courses in music including composition with Gerald Levinson. From 2002 to 2005 he worked as a laboratory researcher in cell biology at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. His scientific discoveries have appeared in The Journal of Cell Biology. In 2005 he began pursuing music full-time as a D.M.A student in composition at Cornell University where he studies with composers Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, and Kevin Ernste. Recent works have included an interactive electroacoustic gallery installation at Cornell University. His instrumental works have been performed at Cornell, Swarthmore College, and in New York City.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cornell Concerto Competition

The Third Annual Cornell Concerto Competition is fast approaching.
This Saturday, January 27, 2007 the following participants will take part in the competition. This is the largest number of participants we have had in its short three year history. The preliminary round will begin at 1030 am in B20 of Lincoln Hall, then move to Barnes Hall from 12-330 pm. The final round will be at 7 pm in Barnes Hall. All proceedings are free and open to the public.

Order of Participants

in B20
Time - Name - instrument - accompanist - composer - composition
1030 am
Greg Shih guitar Fred Lacroix Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjnez(Adagio)
1045 am
Diana Golden cello Dorian Bandy Haydn Concerto in C (1st mvt)
11 am
Peanut Wong marimba Thomas Weber Rosauro Concerto (4th mvt)
1115 am
Emily Looney saxophone Grame Bailey Glazunov Concerto in Eb

1130 am break

in Barnes Hall
12 pm
Kevin Lin piano Frederic Lacroix Rachmaninov concerto no.2 1st mvt
1215 pm
Jung Bin Lee piano Grame Bailey Liszt Totentanz
1230 pm
Kathleen Ting piano ? Beethoven Concerto no. 4(1st mvt)
1245 pm
Tanya Lee piano David Kim Tchaikovsky concerto no. 1 1st mvt
1 pm
Nathan Drenkow piano Stefania Neonato Rachmaninov concerto no. 2 1st mvt
115 pm
Mariko Adachi piano David Kim Schumann aminor(1st mvt)

_____130pm break
in Barnes Hall
2 pm
Maurice Chammah violin Graeme Bailey Bloch Baal Shem (II night)
215 pm
Charlene Kluegel violin Graeme Bailey Sibelius concerto 1st mvt
230 pm
Stephanie Chu violin ? Saint-Saens concerto no.3 3rd mvt
245 pm
Jian Liu violin Graeme Bailey Chausson Poeme
3 pm
Esther Kim violin Sezi Seskir Sibelius concerto 1st mvt
315 pm
Andrew Yeo violin Sezi Seskir Lalo Symphonie Espagnol
330 pm
Meredith Riley violin Bill Cowdrey Mozart concerto no. 4 1st mvt

7 pm Evening final round in Barnes Hall

Chamber Orchestra Roster

Here is the String Roster for the Spring semester Chamber Orchestra.
We had our first rehearsal on Tuesday.

Charlene Kluegel, Biology/Music, '10
Adam Sidor, Mechanical Engineering, '08
Meredith Riley, Music
Yvette Wong, Math, '10
Andrea Matho, '10
Kevin Eckes, Biological Engineering, '09
Maurice Chammah, Music, '10
Benjamin Ou-Yang, Astronomy, '10
Adrienne Carey, Undecided, '09
Sasha Wiktorek, A&S, '07
Brightin Schlumpf, Music, '07
Jennifer Hwang, Policy Analysis and Management, '07
Carol Ohh, Engineering, '10
Melanie Jacobs, Psych/English, '09
Sayako Seto, '10
Alex Fe, Bioengineering, '08
Haran Tae, Government and History, '10
Alex Ma, Biology, '08
Lily Hakim, AEM Business, '07
Natalie Pierro, Architecture, '08

Christina Hung, Psychology, '09
Claire Barbasch, Math/Music, '07
Eric Auerbach, Industrial Labor Relations, '10
Dorian Bandy, Music, '10
Jennifer Lee, Biology/Economics, '08
Tina Chen, English, '08
Jason Cho, Undecided, '08

Theresa Tan, Psychology, '09
Abe Katzen, Biology, '07
Ellen Haynes, Animal Science, '09
Brian Lee, Chemistry, '10
Julia Hilabrant, Biology/Music, '08
Isabelle Posey Cutting
Sarah Woo, HE/HBHS, '08

Mike DeFlorio, Atmospheric Science, '09
Aara Edwards

Monday, January 22, 2007

First CSO rehearsal tonight

Tonight is the first rehearsal of the semester.
Both the Monday and Wednesday night rehearsals will take place in B20 of Lincoln Hall this semester. Tonight's rehearsal will begin at 630 pm with Sibelius second symphony. If you would like your part before the rehearsal please get in touch with our librarian Alex Tsiatas. To register for CSO it is under Music 344.


Orchestra auditions will be held this week. It is by appointment only. Please contact Chris Kim at cyk8(at) for an audition time.
There are openings in the following sections in both orchestras.

2 spots in first violin section
1 spot in second violin section
3 spots in viola section
2 spots in cello section
3 spots in bass section

flute - No openings
oboe - 1 opening
clarinet - No openings
bassoon - No openings
horns - 1 spot
trumpet - No openings
trombone - No openings
tuba - No openings
percussion - No openings

violin sections - No openings
viola - 2 spots open
cello - 1 spot open
bass - 1 opening
No openings in wind or brass section
1 opening for celesta/keyboard
1 opening for percussion
1 opening for harp

Please bring two contrasting excerpts and be ready to sight read an excerpt.
Audition will last about 10 minutes and will be held in Room 332 of Lincoln Hall.
Please remember audition slots are only given by appointment.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Berlin Phil

Oh my goodness, Berlin Philharmonic is amazing.

This morning we got to the Philharmonie around 9 am and had a pre-rehearsal lecture with the cellist who was to be playing a concerto with the orchestra that day. I'm sure it would have been interesting, but it was all in German. Needless to say, I didn't really catch most of it. I was able to pick out some musical terms and the composers' names. Just goes to show how universal music is. :-)

After the lecture we walked into the concert hall. In plain English, it was amazing. Check it out:

And that image is from "behind" the stage - there are seats all around the hall. Although we sat down on the first level (or somewhere thereabouts) during rehearsal, we had nosebleed section tickets later that night. I'm talking literally the last row. Unlike most last-row tickets, though, these seats were great! The accoustics in the hall were amazing and everything was crystal clear. Plus birds-eye views are cool. We got to see everything with no obstacles to strain our necks around. OK, though, enough of the logistics, more of the music!

The first piece was Henri Dutilleux's cello concerto. It was a bit cracked out and a little too long for what it was, but an interesting piece. Tchaikowsky was next though - Symphony No. 6. A-mazing! As far as composers go for me, Russians rock. And the alliteration proves it must be true! Seriously a beautiful piece. And having one of the best groups in the WORLD play it was wonderful.

At one point during the third movement, I glanced around and there were at least five people right next to me (including myself) on the edges of our seats. It was so amazing and tight and together and beautiful... Music is awesome. I sound like such a music dork right now (I am, so it's cool), but it was amazing to me that a bunch of 20 year-old jet-lagged college kids were so excited that they couldn't sit back in their seats. Terrific.

Friday January 12, 2007

I missed New York City briefly on Friday. Earlier on Winter Break I had visited friends down in NY and gotten to know the city a little better than before. One important bit I learned was that even avenues run north, odd ones run south Now, there could be a similar system in Berlin. But if there was, I was unaware.

After an afternoon of site-seeing with a couple of fellow woodwinds, the few of us went back to the hostel to change before our evening at the opera. Changing into mostly our concert dress (because those were the only dressy clothes we brought) with a few alterations, we left the hostel and headed out on the S-Bahn in plenty of time to get to the Komische Oper Haus. I thought I knew exactly where I was going, so nobody questioned me. Whoops. That was the wrong idea. We got off at the right stop, but instead of turning up the street, I got confused and turned us down the street. It was drizzling a little, but not too bad. After a few blocks, I realized that we were getting farther away from where we wanted to be. I felt awful. (This was the point when I wished I knew which way the traffic went on streets in Berlin) Not only were my navigating skills shot to nothing, but I was making myself and my friends late to the opera. In Europe. Apologizing profusely, I handed the map over to Julia, she got us back on course and we made a beeline for the opera house. Fortunately, our conductor had left the last three tickets with the woman at the door and we got right into our seats… As the orchestra was tuning.

The rest of the evening turned out to be really great. The opera, Die Fliedermous, was exceptional and very entertaining. They even butlered champagne during one of the songs (which was about drinking champagne and being merry – very appropriate). The nice German couple next us, instead of taking the champagne for themselves, past it down to us girls. It was a great treat to put a smile on our faces and ease my feelings of guilt. Overall, it turned into a wonderful evening with wonderful music. An adventure, of course, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a day in Europe. And now we have a good story to boot.


Last night was an adventure. A bunch of us decided to go out to the bars after we got home from our big group dinner. We didn’t head out till 11:30 and it took a little while to find a decent place open on a Sunday evening. So by the time we got settled, it was late. Around 2:15 am the bartender of the place we were at decided we finally wanted to go home. Some people decided to check out some other places, while about five of us decided to go home. We walked to the nearest S-Bahn stop and had a nasty surprise. It was gated. Apparently, the train doesn’t run 24/7 in Berlin. After weighing our options, we decided the only way to get back to the hostel (insert dramatic pause) was to walk there. Doesn’t sound too bad, but we were a good three-plus miles from home, and it was cold, and we were in a foreign country. Slightly unnerving, but there are power in numbers. That calmed me down a bit. It took a while, but we finally got home around 4 am. Needless to say, I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn to go sight-seeing.

My friend and I finally set out around 11 am to do some souvenir shopping and see the last few sites we wanted to. The day panned out well and we got everything in despite our late start.

Now on to packing. The last day of Berlin is coming to a close. It was a great city and a great trip! And I love that these trips get you to meet people that under ordinary circumstances you wouldn’t meet, even though we have so much in common. We’re musicians!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today we had our dress rehearsal in the church we’re performing in tomorrow. It was a really nice, big and open place. Made for some interesting acoustics, but very pretty. Rehearsal went well, despite having to wait a while for someone to unlock the church for us.

Later on, some of us went to the Berlin Symphony Orchestra concert. They played one of my favorite pieces, Brahms Symphony No. 1. Unfortunately, it was not the greatest performance. Maybe we were just spoiled having heard Berlin Phil the day before, but it just wasn’t the best.

The best part of the evening came later at the hostel. There were a lot of people hanging around the hostel, partaking at the (always popular) Generator Bar and playing card games. As one of my fellow flute players pointed out, musicians are often very good at fast card games because we’re used to being fast with our hands. Thus ensued a rousing night of spoons. However, the smart people at the hostel realized all their spoons would inevitably wind up in the hands of crazy American musicians, and so locked them up. We resorted to using fake sugar packets instead. It did the trick. Our group started small, but grew slowly and wound up including a bunch of students, our conductor, and one of our guest soloists. As the group grew, so did the energy and pretty soon we had a large group of really hyper musicians. If you have never had the pleasure of being around such a group, it is pretty amazing. Everyone was laughing and trying not to get their fingers slammed by other incoming hands reaching for “spoons” (or sugar packets). Oh yeah, and being pretty competitive about the game. It was really amazing the transformation from being skeptical about playing the game, to joining in, to getting ÜBER competitive. (This was exactly the case with our guest soloist, who wound up being quite the player). We eventually turned it into a game of Survivor Spoons (= amazing fun). The last round was between Chris (our conductor) and one of the cellist. The cellist was victorious!

Good times at the Generator Hostel.

Sunday January 21, 2007

Concert day!

In the morning we all went to this amazing hotel by Alexanderplatz. The lobby was circular in shape, and in the middle towered a four story tall, cylindrical fish tank. I would have loved to be a scuba diver who got paid to swim around the tank and wave at people all day. Screw med school, that’s my plan for the future. (Just kidding!) There (in the restaurant of the hotel, not the fish tank) we had a delicious three course, served brunch. The food was delicious and the service was great! I used to work in a hotel where I served a lot of functions like that one, so it was really nice to be on the other end of things!

After a couple hours and stop at the hostel to change, we made our trek to the western side of Berlin to the church again. But this time it was concert time! It was very exciting to finally be playing in Germany! It was my first time performing in Europe and I was very amped for the concert. Our audience turned out to be a little small, but not surprisingly seeing as we didn’t do too terribly much advertising. The pieces went really well and we were all really happy to have had such a great concert and experience!

A group dinner at a restaurant a couple miles down the street completed the wonderful day. It was especially nice to have the whole group together for the majority of the day. Previous to today we had all split up into little groups to go sight-seeing and shopping. Today it was really nice to feel the whole group around you and camaraderie associated with it. It was a really great day. :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Yikes! Berlin Airport!

We departed Ithaca on a fairly nice Tuesday morning and set about on our journey to Berlin, Germany. The bus was pretty uneventful, except for the thrilling truck stop we stopped at for lunch. Taco Bell or McDonalds? Oh the choices... To make a long story short, the flight over there was fine, although I think the Dramamine I took made me a little loopy, so any sleep I got was a little bit strange.

We arrived in Berlin after a lay-over in Amsterdam (unfortunately not long enough to experience any of the Dutch culture outside the Schiphol Airport Walls). We were divided into two flights from Amsterdam to Berlin and I was on the second flight along with the rest of the flute section. On tours like this (at least the ones I've been on), sections usually look out for one another and usually stay fairly close. So it was a little alarming when, after we had loaded the buses to drive to our hostel, Chris got on the bus and said "Where's Rebecca?" Rebecca is a fellow floutist. Alex and I looked at eachother with panicked faces and both had the "Oh no, we just lost a section member" look on our faces. Chris assured us he had asked the other bus if she was on, and when everyone said no Chris went into a mode just shy of panic.

"All the guys, off the bus."

I must say, I took a little offense to this one gendered request, but I knew he was just trying to be protective. No sooner had the guys set off in groups of threes to search the airport, then I noticed Rebecca's head popping out of the other bus. Apparently, she had fallen asleep in the back of the bus and the string player next to her didn't know her name. The conversation that followed her waking up is slightly comical:

Rebecca: awakened in the midst of craziness "What's going on?"

String player: "We're missing the flute player named Rebecca."

Rebecca: "I'm Rebecca!"

Lesson learned - although we all dread ice breakers, they are necessary to learn names and prevent missing person reports. Luckily, the emergency turned out to be a fluke. Next time though, I think we'll have a few mandatory rounds of "The Name Game" before departing on any crazy adventures.

Article on Chronicle

Here is an article on the Cornell Chronicle.
Robert Barker/University Photography
Conductor Chris Kim, left, rehearses with soloists John Haines-Eitzen, right, and Stephen Miahky.


As a whole, I think the tour was a huge success. Other than a few minor hiccups (sort of losing a group member, getting locked out of the church…) the whole thing went off pretty much without a hitch. Not only did we get to see some amazing things, but I made a lot of new friends and I think everyone else did as well. The orchestra as a whole will be a lot closer after this, which can only help us musically. Also, we can form a united front to search for the closest equivalent to apfelschorle.

Day 6 Monday, Memorial Church, Olympic Stadium, the Reichstag

Today was our free day and we were planning to go to Potsdam and check out the palace but it was closed today. Luckily, we discovered this before we left the hostel. So instead we went back to the KaDeWe area to check out the bombed-out church that serves as a war memorial.

After that, we took the S-Bahn out of the range that we had paid for (accidentally, I swear!) to see the Olympic Stadium, which was built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympics. The stadium very stark in the way that you expect Third Reich architecture to be, but it had been spruced up some by the addition of a partial glass roof and the removal of the Fuhrer’s Box. It was also the site of the finals of the World Cup this past summer, where Italy beat France in penalty kicks (and Zinedine Zidane made the Headbutt Heard ‘Round the World) and there was a group of loud and possibly drunk Italians still celebrating the win by waving flags and singing their national anthem at top volume.

After several train changes, we made our way back to Unter den Linden to see the Reichstag, this time from the inside. The renovated Reichstag has a cool dome on the top and roof terrace which we wandered around on and took pictures from. There is also an overpriced café on the terrace, where we ate a light snack (would have been lunch but by this time it was nearly dinner hour). After that I came back to the hostel and packed up my luggage and made a quick internet stop (at 4E/hour it could only be quick) and went to bed early as we had to be up at 5 the next morning to fly home.

Day 5 Sunday, Our concert

Sunday we had brunch in a fancy hotel which featured an enormous aquarium with a double-decker elevator inside it. The brunch wasn't that great and it was quite expensive so that was a bust. Also, in what was becoming an altogether too common theme for the trip, drinks were expensive and small, meaning you had to chose between dehydration and bankruptcy. Afterward, we came back hostel to change into concert dress, and left for our concert.

The concert went quite well (better than the December version for the most part I would say), although it was fairly sparsely attended. I'd say about 30 or 40 people showed up, including someone from the US Embassy and the director of the Komische Oper, who is apparently from Ithaca.

Afterward, we all had a nice dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant and took copious amounts of pictures of each other. Later, I ventured out to explore German nightlife, but discovered it was pretty dead on a Sunday night in January. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.

Day 4 Saturday, Rehearsal, Checkpoint Charlie, Konzerthaus

Saturday morning we had a dress rehearsal in the church where we were performing Sunday. Unfortunately it was a good distance away from the closest S-Bahn station so we had to walk for 15 minutes or so to get there. It wasn't so bad for me but I imagine it really sucked for the cellos. When we got to the church, the door was locked so we had to stand around outside and wait for a while before someone was woken up to let us in. The church itself was very nice, old building but modern stained glass.

After rehearsal a small group of us went to Checkpoint Charlie and to check out one of the remaining sections of Wall. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum was interesting, I thought, although a bit large and too varied. For instance, tt included a couple rooms devoted just to non-violent protests around the world and another just to different world religions. There were some neat exhibits showing the inventive ways people tried to escape East Berlin. My favorite was one where a lady was hidden in two suitcases side-by-side. The section of Wall nearby was tucked away back in a neighborhood and not
well-signed at all but we found it. All the graffiti had been chipped off (probably sold to tourists like me) but it was still cool to see what it looked like. Being a civil engineer who had just taken a course in concrete, I was interested to see how heavily reinforced the wall was. Where the wall has been knocked down there are cobblestones showing where it used to be so we had fun jumping back and forth from East to West Berlin.

By this time, we were exhausted from carrying around our instruments all day (some people went back to the hostel to drop them off but we decided that would have taken too long and chose to lug them around instead). We walked from Checkpoint Charlie over to the area of the Konzerthaus to find somewhere to eat. None of us were all that hungry, but the only place that we could find was a fairly chic Italian place, where the waiters were visibly irritated by our ordering of two pizzas to split among the five of us.

After dinner, we went to the Konzerthaus to see an all-British program (Bridge, Britten, and Elgar). The building was very ornate and felt like it wouldn’t seem all that extraordinary if Mozart himself wandered in. The first half of the concert was pretty boring but the second half (the Elgar 1) was good and certainly made up for the first half. Then we went looking for currywurst, Berlin's local delicacy. Afterward we came back to the hostel and played Apples to Apples, Berlin Tour Edition with an ever-growing number of people.

Day 3 Friday, Rehearsal, KaDeWe, the Pergamon, and the Komische Oper

This morning we had rehearsal in the hostel again. I can’t imagine what the other hostel guests think of us. We took up almost half of the common area and blocked most of the pathways between the other half of the common area and the main lobby. A couple people sat around and listened to us for a bit, but I couldn’t tell if that was out of interest or inability to find a way through.

Afterward, the whole group went to KaDeWe, a huge department store not unlike Harrod's. We had lunch in the food halls. I had some smoked salmon, a shrimp-oil-garlic dish and strawberries and whipped cream. Then the orchestra splintered into smaller groups and went our separate ways. My group stayed at KaDeWe for a while, mostly admiring their vast chocolate selection, and then headed off to Museum Island to see the Pergamon Museum. The museum was mostly devoted to ancient Greek and Babylonian artifacts, including a full-sized replica of the altar from the temple of Pergamon. There was also a full-sized model of the Gate of Ishtar from Babylon.

Then the orchestra met up again at the Komische Oper to see Strauss’ comic operetta, Die Fliedermaus. The plot was so convoluted and spoken entirely in German that it was pretty indecipherable, even though I had seen an English version fairly recently. However, the set and music completely made up for that. The set fully rotated and had a three-story working elevator in the middle of the stage.

After eating dinner at an Italian place on Unter den Linden, we came back to the hostel, where we stayed up until all hours playing Apples to Apples and Spoons (with packets of something called Assugrin in place of the silverware). Despite his musical ability, I must report that Steve Miahky is pretty miserable at Spoons.

Day 2 Thursday, Berlin Philharmonic

Thursday we went to a dress rehearsal of the Berlin Philharmonic, which was pretty neat, although everyone was still really jet-lagged. They were playing a modern cello concerto and the Tschaikovky 6. Before the rehearsal, the cellist who was performing the concerto gave a half-hour talk about it, entirely in German peppered with Italian musical words. Suffice to say, it was pretty incomprehensible to most of us, although he did a few demonstrations of cello technique which were cool.

Afterward, we had some free time, so a group of trooped off toward central Berlin. We went and saw the Holocaust Memorial (although apparently we completely failed to find the main exhibit, which was hidden underground), the Reichstag (but didn't go inside unfortunately), the Brandenburg Gate, then strolled up Unter den Linden (one of the main drags of Berlin--- the linden trees had been there for years until Hitler chopped them down to make parade grounds but they have since been replanted), the Berliner Dom (the city cathedral), and the TV tower from East Berlin. Right before we got to the TV tower, it had started to rain so we were quite happy to just sit in the revolving restaurant at the top and take in the (somewhat obscured) view for a couple hours, nursing coffee and wine. It was sometime on this day that we collectively discovered apfelschorle (“apple spritzer”). My family and I discovered this delicious German drink about ten years ago when we were here, but had mistakenly called it apfelsaft (“apple juice”) ever since. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find a suitable equivalent in the States, so it was a nice treat for me to drink it again.

After dinner at a doener kebap stand at Alexanderplatz, the group headed back to the Philharmonie. The concert was great and I was much more awake than during the rehearsal. Undoubtedly, the best part of the evening was the very zealous cymbal/gong player, who had very few notes, but made a huge production of all of them.

Day 0-1, Ithaca -> NYC -> Amsterdam -> Berlin

This was a very long day. After having rehearsals Sunday night and most of the day Monday, we left at 9:30 AM Tuesday from Lincoln Hall. The bus trip to JFK was thankfully very uneventful. Checking in at the airport was a hassle, but considering the size of our group and the large things we were taking with us, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. The long flight from New York to Amsterdam was actually fairly short as these things go. Once we got into Amsterdam, some of us had a three-hour layover and some only had an hour. I was in the three hour crowd, and I spent most of it wandering around the airport and playing poker with M&M’s. Once we got on the one-hour flight to Berlin, I promptly fell asleep, missing what I was told were very delicious sandwiches.

Once we got to Berlin we had a bit of a scare. When we thought we had everyone on the buses, a quick headcount had us missing one person. It turned out she was just asleep and hunched down in her seat. But we only discovered this after four search parties had been sent to find her, one of which didn't come back and had to be searched for itself. Meanwhile, Steve Miahky bought some currywurst and offered it around. I tried some, thought it delicious, and then spilled a bunch of the sauce on myself. Eventually everything got straightened out and we made it to our hostel. The hostel is quite nice
and modern by hostel standards. I am sharing a room with three other 2nd violinists.
It is squarely in what used to be Soviet East Berlin, and the architecture around it certainly proves that.

Some friends and I decided to use our free time this afternoon to venture into central Berlin and see the Brandenburg Gate. So we bought S-Bahn tickets and got on the train
and changed trains at a station onto one which we thought was going into the city center. It got close. It went three or four stations, stopped for five minutes, and then went the other direction (strangely, no one else got out either). Well, no big deal, we'll just hop out and get another train going back toward the center. So we find one that comes into the station going the right direction and get on. And sit for five minutes. And then it goes the other direction. At that point we were so fed up with the indecisive trains that we decided to just bag it and came back to the hostel.

We have a rehearsal tonight (3 hours long, not exactly the best way to start the trip) with some Berlin musicians.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January 15, 2007 - Monday

Oops! Turns out, almost every museum is closed on Mondays. Instead, we went to a palace and the Berlin Zoo. Though one may think a zoo is a zoo, this zoo was unique in that the animals were all impressively tame and warm to humans. There were no high fences holding in the animals - they well separated from the paths by a small trench and a foot-high fence. Zoo personal walked freely among the animals without eliciting any kind of fear in them. In fact, I even got to pet a Mongolian horse (it was fuzzy!), and many other horses promptly came over to be petted.

From the zoo, we could see the victory tower, so we walked through parks and across highways to find it. After doing so, we took a bus to a giant department store, stopping along the way at a McDonalds because one of my friends (Mickey) insisted that getting a "Royale with cheese" (an American quarterpounder) was an experience not to be missed (and I agree!). At the Galleria, I discovered the reason we came - the bottom level was dedicated to candy and chocolate! After much excitement and empty pockets, and being tired and cold after walking in the suddenly-chilly weather, I suggested we go to the TV tower (since the new group I was with had not yet seen it), so we went, ate dinner, and relaxed. It was a fun last day in Berlin and a great way to wrap up my vacation!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

January 14, 2007 - Sunday

When I woke bright and early, a bunch of my friends asked if I wanted to see the instrument museum before our group lunch. Since there were so many places to see in our one short week, I jumped at the opportunity and we marched over to the museum. Unfortunately, we only had around half an hour to look at the exhibit, but the museum was absolutely amazing. Pianos and stringed instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries were on display, ornamented and colored with delicacy and beauty. There were violins made specifically for practicing (tiny sound-box) and stringed instruments built into walking canes! Not being much of a brass player, I couldn't fully appreciate the brass instruments there, but could definitely see the alterations in design as time progressed.

We moved on to the Radisson- a very classy hotel with a giant aquarium in the middle through which passed the elevator, but which we sadly missed the opportunity to ride. The meal was classy as well - the 3-course lunch included steak and a wonderful dessert which I could definitely have eaten about 40 more of.

After that, it was off to the concert! Everyone played well, and the church we played in was beautiful. The windows appeared cracked in several different places, and after talking to some of the locals, I found out that the church had been there during the war, and after reconstruction, it remains part of the history.

After the concert, we went to a ritzy restaurant for another 3-course meal. It was delicious and everyone had a great time. One of the members in the orchestra toasted Chris Kim, who then made a touching mini-speech about how much he loved the orchestra and the tour.

When we got back to the hostel, a group of us promptly returned to the city in full concert dress to visit the more high-end of the nightlife -the casino. More than one of my friends made substantial money (in the hundreds of dollars), while it was fun for the rest of us to just watch our friends play. That was definitely an experience.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January 12, 2007 - Friday

Today is my birthday! Last night everyone was amazing and toasted to me at midnight, and I got many, many birthday wishes today. I think this trip has definitely been a great way to form valuable bonds with fellow musicians, and many people I've met or gotten to know better on this trip now feel like old friends.

We started the day with a morning rehearsal in the hostel. In the afternoon, we ate at a restaurant called KaDeWe. The food was absolutely amazing, and I got to practice my approximation of the weight of so many grams (instead of pounds) after all those years of measuring it in a lab! After lunch, a bunch of us went to the Judisches Museum. There were many intriguing and eye-opening exhibits, including my favorite, which was a long tunnel with brass gaping faces covering the ground. When walking into the darkness at the end of the tunnel, all you could hear was the eerie clanking of the metal faces, and since you had to watch your step, the ground seemed to be staring up at you from all directions. The exhibit was embodying the forgotten memories of holocaust victims, and I thought it was extremely effective in doing so.

After the museum, we stopped by Checkpoint Charlie on the way to the Komische Oper to watch Strauss' Die Fledermaus. Since this was one of the first operas I'd ever seen, it was very entertaining and reminded me of how centralized Berlin culture was around the arts. On that street alone, there were many different opera houses, and the house we went to was full. On a related note, it was also interesting to walk around malls and parks and see a substantial number of people walk by with recognizable instruments on their backs (cellos, violins, trombones) - something not regularly seen in America.

After the concert, the conductor of the opera orchestra, conductor of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, and family friend, Kimbo, took Chris, Steve, one of his friends, and I to a German restaurant for amazing food, drinks, and dessert. He even got me flowers for my birthday, and, being his birthday the following day, had a wonderful time.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

January 11, 2007

Today we woke up bright and early to watch the Berlin Philharmoniker rehearsal in the Philharmonie. After that, a small group of us walked around the city visiting landmarks like the Berliner Dom. At night, we watched the Berlin Philharmoniker concert, which was excellent. At this point, the tour was getting so exciting and fun, especially when living with 50-something good friends, that I didn't have time to write in this blog, let alone even check email. So! My contribution to this blog is now mostly from memories and trying to trace my steps through pictures.

Day at the Philharmonie

Berlin Philharmoniker Day

We had our first excursion as a group to the Philharmonie, the home of the Belrin Philharmoniker. We attended their open rehearsal and in the evening we attended the concert. More details later.

Arrival Day in Berlin

As our first official day in Berlin we had some challenges already. KLM had misplaced our Percussion box, so we had to search the airport for them.

Photos from first day

All of our bloggers including myself were exhausted on our first few days here in Berlin. The travel was quite taxing. Also internet access is expensive and a bit hard to find here in Berlin. But we will have more blogging entries.

Here are some pictures from the First day of travel from Ithaca to JFK.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

January 10, 2007 - Wednesday

Today was my first day around Berlin and already I love the atmosphere and culture. After checking into the hostel, a small group (7 of us) decided to see Brandenburg Gate. After many an adventure on the U-bahn, the transit system intersecting the city, and S-bahn, circumventing the city, we arrived at the Gate. It was spectacular to be able to be able to feel, physically and mentally, so close to what was once a major part of history. Walking down the Pariser Platz, we visited the Holocaust memorial and continued down to eat lunch in a small, traditional German cafe. The food was absolutely amazing, and both the presentation and the flavor of the food was quite different from those found in American restaurants.

After lunch, we continued walking, stopping by the numerous souvenir shops and buying such trinkets as Berlin magnets, T-shirts, and the well-known chunks of Berlin wall. On the bus ride home, we decided to stop by the TV tower - a spiring monument often serving as Berlin's trademark. Here we bought admissions to view the observation section of the tower. It turned out that we picked a horrible day to visit - it was extremely windy and had started raining. Too stubborn to return to the ground after paying 8 euros, we went upstairs to a turn-table cafe where we ordered delicious lattes and cappuccinos while chatting and observing the wonderful view.

By this time, it was already nearing 7pm and we returned to the hostel to rehearse for a few hours in the illuminating iridescent neon lights of the dining area/lounge.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

January 9, 2007 - Tuesday

Today is my first time in Europe! After sitting on a bus and two flights, we arrived in Berlin. On the bus to the Generator Hostel, our home for the next week, I noticed that the culture observed from the bus windows was very much different from any I'd seen in America. The streets were much narrower, with most cars being extremely small (the rest were standard white vans). The landscape was also up-kept with an air of delicacy and style. Instead of the patchy grass or occasional bench seen in most American cities, Berlin sported beautiful trees and monuments surrounded by meticulously-kept lawns and flowers.

By the time we got to Berlin and settled down, it was technically the 10th, and thus started our first day of fun in Berlin!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Guest bloggers for the tour

We will have a number of guest bloggers who will post to the orchestra Blog during our tour to Berlin.
They are Stephanie Chu(violin), Daniel Jones(piano), Eugene Chang(violin), Laura Whitehurst(violin), Christine Marschilok(flute/piccolo) and Thomas Weber(percussion).

We finished our first phase of the tour with the pre-tour rehearsals in Ithac, NY. We rehearsed on Sunday night on Shostakovich and today we spent two sessions from 1030-1245 pm working on Shostakovich and 2-415 pm working on Brahms Double concerto with our soloists. We wrapped up the two days of rehearsal with information session on the tour itinerary and a showing of Goodbye Lenin.

We also had Robert Barker come to our rehearsal to take photos of our rehearsals. I will post some of those photos when they are ready.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Photos from CSO's December concert

Here are photos from Cornell Symphony's December concert in Bailey Hall.
If you have pictures from this event, send them to me and I will add it to the slide show.

Pictures from CCO's December concert

Here are photos from the Chamber Orchestra's final concert of the fall semester in Rochester, NY at St. Anne's Church. If you have more pictures, email them to me and I will add them to this slide show.

Pre-Tour rehearsal schedule

The rehearsal schedule prior to departure for Berlin will be as follows;

Sunday 1/7
Rehearsals will be in B20 of Lincoln Hall.
6 pm Dinner (pizza)
7 pm Shostakovich
830 pm Break
850 pm Shostakovich
10 pm end of rehearsal

1030 am Shostakovich
1130 am break
1145 am Shostakovich
1245 pm end of morning rehearsal
1 pm lunch (sandwiches)
(local press will be here to interview members of the orchestra and soloists)
2 pm Brahms with soloists
330 pm break
350 pm Brahms
5 pm end of rehearsal
630 pm Dinner (Chinese)
7 pm Tour information session followed by social activity

Tuesday morning
9 am buses arrive, load buses on East ave in front of Lincoln Hall
930 am buses depart for JFK
330 pm approximate arrival time in JFK begin checkin procedure at Northwest Airline

New Poster of our Berlin Concert

Here is Eugene Chang's design of the poster for the Berlin concert.

Yahoo describes Berlin (how true is it?)

A description of different neighborhoods in Berlin.
According to Yahoo;
"Fans of the traditional Berlin Currywurst sausage couldn't do any better than at the Imbiss stand at Amtsgerichtplatz in Kantstraße. The queues are always long, but it's well worth the wait! Good bets for a lazy Sunday brunch are Restaurant 31, Cafe Richter and Pasticceria e Rosticceria Italiana. And, if you're looking for a bit of pre-Wall flair, pop into Zwiebelfisch, Diener or Dicke Wirtin - traditional Berlin pubs that haven't changed in years."

Is this true? What are your favorite Currywurst stands in Berlin?

best of the wurst

Here is a documentary about Berlin through the eyes of a Korean American woman exploring a food item we will all become quite familiar with on our tour to Berlin. Curry Wurst.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How would you curate a new music series?

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and
Igor Stravinsky in Los Angeles,
1955. Photo by Jim Arkatov.

An article from November regarding the Monday night concert series in Los Angeles. If you were to curate a new music series in LA which composers would you program? This articles chronicles the history of the new music series that featured twelve premieres by Igor Stravinsky during the time Stravinsky lived in California. A series that gave Michael Tilson Thomas his forum to play piano before his rise as a conductor. The 2006-2007 season will be curated by Steven Stucky, Kent Nagano and Esa-Pekka Salonen.