environment

Keeping Healthy On The Road (or in Your Dorm, Home or Apartment) — by Mark Summer

The fall being my busiest touring season with Turtle Island, I’m often thinking of the best ways to stay healthy and happy throughout the dark days of “flu season.” After years of almost constant travel, with endless days of connecting plane flights, shared van rides, and occasionally horrifically early lobby calls, I feel somewhat qualified as an expert at keeping my body in tune enough to weather the storm of illnesses that plague the general population. In 27 years, I’ve never missed a concert due to illness. I thought I had the flu once while on the road, but at a recent physical/flu shot pitch, my doctor informed me that if I was able to play a concert, it wasn’t the flu. Nevertheless, my record speaks for itself. I’m not [...]

Behind the Scenes of a Music Festival (Part 3): The Rehearsal Mine Field — by Aron Zelkowicz

Quartet rehearsal, 10 am! Which means you show up at 10:04, but then decide to make a quick Starbucks run with the second violinist because the violist is parking his car anyway and seriously, who can be expected to tackle Shostakovich at 10am without their Grande Vanilla Double Soy Macchiato? You return to discuss next week’s rehearsal schedule because there have been just too many e-mails lately (and of course, what are we wearing for the concert?). You take the opportunity to xerox that missing page of your part, unfold your stands, rosin your bows, and then, finally, you’re ready….to tune. It’s ok, no big deal—10:27 is plenty early to start rehearsing. There is always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Such may be the way of the [...]

The F-Word — by Aron Zelkowicz

“Do you play with a regular ensemble?” the lady at Kinko’s asked me. Lately I’ve noticed this to be one of the routine first questions that new acquaintances throw my way, especially in New York.  My theory is that music aficionados latch on to this question, while novices (often in airports, as we can all testify) tend to focus on the size of the cello case and the hilarity of imagining something else inside it: an AK-47, King Kong’s tennis racket, mother. In this instance my cello was not with me, but the scraps of dissected scores scattered across the work station easily gave away my vocation. She asked, “Do you play with a regular ensemble?”, which is exactly the wording that gets me like a deer in headlights. The [...]

I Found my “Dream Quartet” in an Unexpected Industry — by Margo Drakos

My love for string quartets drew me to the cello, or rather, it motivated me to practice. It isn’t just the repertoire—I was hooked by the music the first time I ever heard the early Guarneri recording of the Cavatina and Grosse Fuge.  I love the idealist concept of a quartet, and the feeling of playing an individual voice that joins together with three other voices to form a single interdependent expression.   I also love the cellist’s role in a quartet, as it requires a multitude of skills.  At once the quartet cellist is the anchor, sometimes quietly without notice, sometimes with declarative strength, sometimes a supportive counterpart, yet at other times is the prominent, docile melody.  I have taken great pride in seeking the seemingly unattainable perfection of [...]