Monday, January 26, 2009

Nothing To Report

I have nothing new to report, but I'm a little bored since I've been sick in bed since Thursday. Saturday I ventured out to school for a rehearsal, but it was actually quite exhausting. I used up all my energy during the rehearsal, and so during my bike ride home I was sort of in a trance-like state.... Today I was supposed to have a rehearsal but it got cancelled, and since I'm still not feeling well I've decided to take another sick day. I firmly believe that the best thing is rest, especially since this was definitely caused by my over tiredness and over working during the last 2 weeks. However usually a few days in bed and lots of vitamin C takes care of this for me. But not this time apparently. I'm feeling OK now, aside from general tiredness and the fact that I'm so stuffed up is ridiculous. Anyways, I digress. I just had a few things to share. I got this book out of the public library on Saturday called "The Trudeau Vector". It caught my eye because of the title, and it's a medical mystery/conspiracy at a Canadian arctic scientific research base. There was a really funny line in it, where the lone Inuit staffer there was explaining his culture to the protagonist: "We thought that death made storms, that killing a spider would cause rain, that Pierre Trudeau was a shit." It made me laugh :) And secondly, the picture. It's me, trying to break into a nunnery. It's from December, when I met up with someone else from Saskatchewan through Couchsurfing. She's been living in Hong Kong for the last 15 years or so, and she was travelling through during the Christmas holidays. We were both so astonished to be meeting another Saskatchewanite, since the chances of that are statistically quite slim. I took her to the Begijnhof convent in Amsterdam, and she took this picture of me trying to break into the English Reformed Church in the middle of the courtyard. Enjoy, and send me your good energies - I need to get better soon or else!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Review

So the morning after my last post, bright and early at 6:30 am, I caught the train to Groningen to start rehearsing with the chamber orchestra there - Camerata Ardesko. I was there for two days (one night spent on the floor of a Conservatory student house) before heading back to Amsterdam for my Schleswig-Holstein audition on Saturday morning in Den Haag. Of course I was foiled by construction on the route I had mapped out to the Conservatory in Den Haag from the train station. It's actually quite close to the station, but I swear this entire country is always under construction! Every day on my ride to school a new area of my route is under construction and I have to . So, needless to say I was a bit later getting to the Conservatory before my audition that I had went OK, but auditions are a funny thing. You practice for hours, and you end up playing for about 5 minutes. And you ALWAYS play worse than you know you can. Gah, auditions. Such a frustrating exercise. Anyways, then on Sunday I played another concert with the Trajectum chamber orchestra from Utrecht, but this time in Amsterdam. Then on Monday morning it was off to Groningen again. It's about a 2.5 hour train ride from Amsterdam, which is of course considered extremely far away. But I have really come to enjoy the train ride - bring a book, sit back with my iPod and relax. It passes so quickly I hardly even notice......I'm so used to travelling much longer distances. One summer I took the Greyound back and forth from Saskatoon to Calgary about 3 times, and those 8 hours just seemed to fly by - so a 2.5 hour train ride to Groningen is a piece of cake! Anyway, while in Groningen the second time I couchsurfed with a family there - Jolanda, Jan and their son Ruben.
I was there from Mon-Thurs, and during my days I hung out with Jolanda and Ruben, and then rehearsed with Camerata Ardesko in the evenings. Ruben is almost 4, and playing with him was a very good opportunity to practice my Dutch since it's the only language he speaks. We had some good times, Ruben and I. He's really into playing the violin, so I even let him play my was highly exciting for him. Thursday was the concert, but the concert was in the Grote Kerk in Naarden - which is actually quite close to Amsterdam. So they hired two vans to transport us and our instruments to Naarden from Groningen, but when we were loading them in Groningen the sliding side door on one of them literally fell off when we went to close it. So, the rental place had to be called, and they had to bring a replacement van, and then we had to re-load all our stuff into it, blah blah blah. Needless to say we were late for our soundcheck.
It was a pretty fancy shindig - a private concert bankrolled by the big bank ABN-AMRO for their richest clients. In order to get an invitation to the concert you had to have over 500 000 Euros in your private bank account with ABN-AMRO. So, lots of really rich people. The concert went quite well, and then they had a reception after and we mingled with the audience a bit. Though as these things always go, the musicians were in a corner joking amongst themselves and trying to drink as much free alcohol as could be possible imbibed before getting back into the van, and our interaction with the audience basically consisted of every so often someone coming up to tell us that they enjoyed the concert. Good times. The vans dropped the 4 of us who were heading back to Amsterdam off at Hilversum station, and we caught one of the last trains into Amsterdam. But unfortunately I missed the last train from Amsterdam Centraal to my house, and because I always bike I have no idea how the night buses work or even which one goes to my house so I ended up crashing at Noelle's - she's a cellist on exchange to my school from Sarah Lawrence in the US, and not only was she playing the concert but she also lived not too far from the station and had a spare mattress. Score! But next morning I dutifully got up and went to school to practice, because from Sat-Wed I had an audition every second day. It was horrible. Wargh! But it's over now. It's all over........except for my Verbier audition in February. Saturday was my Britten-Pears orchestra audition, again in Den Haag. Then on Monday I auditioned for PMF (the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan), and on Wed I auditioned for the Concertgebouw. The last was my hilarious long-shot. I really didn't have enough time to prepare properly to actually stand a chance, but I just want to get in the swing of doing auditions. It's a completely different skill-set from actual performing, and since I want to get a job when I graduate I better start practicing auditions now! Anyhoo, I somehow kept myself going through all that craziness, but promptly on Wednesday evening after my last audition I got sick. I think the adrenaline kept my immune system going, and then as soon as the stress was gone it just gave out. So I ended up spending Thursday and Friday in bed, trying to sweat my fever out. Good times. Though last night I did manage to haul my arse out of bed to go see Laurence Power play the Bartok Viola Concerto with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. It was well worth the 10 euros admission - great stuff. Anyways, I'm still kinda sick, so I'm trying to rest up. Have to keep up my strength for all the very busy and important things I am doing!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hoe? Wat? Waar?

The holidays are over! It went by too sad. But also sort of nice to be back at the grind. It's quite a grind though. I'm sort of "commuting" to Groningen to rehearse with a chamber orchestra there for a concert next week, I have an audition this Saturday for the Schleswig-Holstein music festival, then on Sunday I'm playing a concert with Trajectum (the chamber orchestra in Utrecht I sub in). Then it's back to Groningen for rehearsals leading up to the private concert on Thursday next week - it's for the 100 wealthiest clients of the big bank ABN-AMRO. Then I have another audition next Saturday for the Britten-Pears orchestra. Then two days later I have an audition for the Pacific Music Festival, and two days after that is the first round audition for the Concertgebouw! Yeesh.......that's a crazy couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll keep my sanity through it. Check back with me in a couple weeks :S Hope everyone had a happy holidays en een gelukkige nieuw jaar.