If you read this blog, you’ll know that lately I’ve been finishing up school, and that part of the process includes a culminating Senior Recital. As a composer, I am responsible for writing all of the music, finding (and paying) the players, coordinating rehearsals, producing a unifying image, directing lighting, staging, and sharing this concert with the public. It’s a lot of work. This recital has been in it’s development stages since last summer, and was truly a labor of love.
And it is finally over.
Last Thursday, April 7th, I presented: “The Us In Me”. It was an autobiographical exploration of my past and present, with clear messages for the future. The music was almost an hour in length, there were 600+ clips of media and images gathered from my family videos and from advertisements to make up the projections on stage, and the whole thing was deeply personal. I received many comments about how vulnerable I made myself for this concert, and I think people were truly shocked and impressed that I took things as far as I did.
Am I happy with the way things turned out? Absolutely. The whole concert was a success, with no major meltdowns (other than crying from emotion) or hiccups (other than almost choking halfway through my piano solo). It was received better than I could have ever imagined and I’m still feeling the shock waves from that evening. I’m sure I’ll feel it even more when I pick up the video from the videographer later today.
Now that it is over, everyone keeps saying “How do you feel?”, “You must be so relieved!”, “Take a break!”, and “You need a vacation!”.
Not two days after the recital, I was already busy at work writing more music for my upcoming show The Winter’s Tale, set to premiere on April 22nd with a full underscore performed by myself on piano. If you are familiar with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, this particular version has been cut down, reshaped, and set in a 1970’s Sicilia and 1990’s Bohemia. The music draws from the underground rock movement in Prague during the 90’s, as well as some iconic musicians like David Bowie and Frank Zappa. I am definitely in un-known territory, but somehow, its all coming together.
Alongside this massive undertaking, I also have the final projects for school to finish up, a string quartet to premiere, and then graduation itself in just a month. Is it all really over? Not yet, in fact, not really ever. I told my friend yesterday that it doesn’t feel like I’ve completed a to-do list, but more like I’ve checked off a massive box. This year still has a lot left to complete like graduation, moving, and getting married! The Senior Recital was just the beginning…
A lot of people are shocked to hear that I am not taking a break. I think in some weird way, the recital almost seemed like the break because during the time I was working on it, I let myself eat whatever I wanted, stopped working out, gave myself a pass on extra homework, and sacrificed sleep and relaxation for the recital. Now that it’s done, I can get my life back on track (back to the gym today!) and start cranking out the work I need to catch up on. The recital in some ways was an artistic “Goodbye” to my childhood and my teenager-hood and even my years in college. I feel like it’s time to get my life and career together and start acting like an adult, and more importantly, a professional artist in my field.
One of the last things I’ll share with you is that the entire cast of The Winter’s Tale (among many other friends) came to my recital to cheer me on. Seeing them all in the front row and hearing their support reminded me why I love doing what I do. When given the opportunity to work and collaborate with people who love what they are doing, it is an extremely rewarding reminder that I’m doing what I’m meant to do. All this hard work and opening myself up to the public eye and sharing my art does not go unnoticed, and when I am authentic and honest in my art, it shows. People actually want to work with me. People want to collaborate. People want to experience.
Which is a good thing, considering I’m really just getting started.