February 03, 08
What in the world...how did a whole month fly by so quickly?? Needless to say, it's been a complete blur of activity on several fronts - here's a super quick rundown of some highlights:
Worked with composer Jennifer Higdon and violinist Jenny Koh with Maestro Eschenbach on Higdon's new concerto for violin, chorus, and orchestra titled "The Singing Rooms" - what an amazing combination of musical elements!
Several trips to New York with two finalists for the Young Concert Artists auditions, a trombonist and a violinist - neither won, but both played phenomenally (and i think i created quite a buzz with my use of the Tablet PC as music reader and footswitch page turner! So many judges kept hounding me with questions about them!)
Greenfield Student Concerto Competition for the Philadelphia Orchestra! Lots of rehearsals, several finalists, one winner from my batch in the senior division (congratulations, violinist Bryan Lee!) Oh, get this - remember that story about the time i helped a poor cellist get through her Greenfield competition round when her cello endpin slipped? Well, it happened again, but this time on stage in Verizon hall during the final round! Quick as a flash, my belt came off and i fashioned an improvised endpin stop strap - in front of an audience and the Philly Orchestra judges, of all things! LOL - just a few minutes before that, i was strapping duct tape to the bottom of a harp to fix a loose foot! Sigh...just call me the Music MacGyver... (btw, Wikipedia has a neat list of problems that the MacGyver character solved here...my wife loved that show as a kid...
Visual Recitals galore!! Presentations at the Inglis House, Springfield Estates retirement community, and now a workshop for the Hamilton Elementary School in North Philadelphia all thanks to the Astral Artistic Management
folks (Bonnie Slobodien, educational outreach coordinator in particular!) Part of my blog embargo this week in particular has been due to the fact that i've been holed up in front of my computer scanning in the artwork from 60 kids and incorporating them into a new template-based format that i'm trying for the workshop - i'll try to post some videos about it as soon as i can find time to breathe! Monday's the "big show" with Susan Babini on cello and Michael Mizrahi on piano performing the Brahms F major cello sonata.
Visual Recital Workshop for the Delaware Valley/Pennsylvania Music teachers association - this was a lot of fun, real "nuts and bolts" session on how i put my Visual Recital programs together, from music analysis to storyboarding to effects and programming. Many thanks to Lydia Ferrell-McVay for her tremendous enthusiasm and support of the Visual Recital concept! You can see some pictures from the workshop at the following link: http://homepage.mac.com/lferrellmcvay/lfmstudio/News/VR1/VR1.html
I'm proud to announce that as of Saturday, Feb. 2, Paul, Eric and i are now officially Tae Kwo Do Yellow Belts in the MacKenzie Gold Medal Karate studio! We actually signed up the end of December, and i've been taking classes right alongside Paul and Eric (Paul's doing the advanced Leadership class, which involves some really cool weapons training). What a terrific program! Master Turley, the instructor in our local chapter, is an exceptional educator and a terrific inspiration to keep coming to classes. I never realized Tae Kwon Do could be so much fun! And it's particularly exciting to see the way it's already building character and confidence in Paul and Eric!
'Hebrew Melodies' CD edits coming along - wow, this CD is going to sound GREAT! I just received the full 2nd edit CD with all the tracks and can't wait to start handing this over to full production!
On the horizon:
Visual Recital workshop in Greenport, NY (Long Island) - coming up in about 2 weeks - i'll be going up solo, and further developing some new templates for the students' artwork. The developer of Liquid Media, the presentation program i primarily use for the Visual Recital, has been particularly helpful in teaching me to create a new trigger effect that gives me unlimited "ammo" for better spontaneity! He promises me that the new upgraded version of Liquid Media (code named: "Nitro") will be forthcoming around June, with some really, really cool new features!! I can't wait!!
- gosh, i've really racked up a pile of questions from emailers and visitors to the site! My sincere apologies for not responding sooner! I'll probably put the questions together either in a blog post or in an audio-only podcast - lots of neat topics and items to discuss! Many thanks for posting your questions, and keep them coming - i promise to get to them as soon as i find time to breathe...
Videos, videos, videos - man, i don't know where i'm going to find the time to work on my huge backlog of videos, but i guess first things first...
Living Debt Free - in a word, it's AWESOME!!! My attitude towards work has experienced a complete turnaround - i'm just started to learn about the basics of investing, and want to share what i've picked up from the books i've skimmed through. Expect more more finance-related blog posts (hmmm...maybe i should think about putting together a new website specifically for Musicians and Finanace...MusicMeetsMoney.com?)
Tutorials and Demos - i want to put together a new series of tutorials for the Liquid Media program, as well as some demo screencasts of the uber tool that i've developed over 10 years to run my day-to-day operations paperlessly at Curtis, my custom-built Student Recitals Database. Lots o' fun learnin' to be had!
Ugh...by head ith too stuffy cuz i hab a bad cold and by doze is running like a bad faucet...gotta get somb sleep...dis is wad i ged for not gedding enuf sleep...
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November 08, 07
July 31, 07
A Busy, Busy Month
Many apologies, Folks - just got back from Oneonta, NY where i gave a masterclass and a Visual Recital tech demo/lecture at the New York Summer Music Festival
, showing off some of the latest visualizations (a huge improvement since last year's show
!) and featuring the Pianoteq piano simulation program
, fully replacing the acoustic instrument in concert. Funny enough, i had the same difficulties keeping up with blog posts last July
- just a seasonal thing, i suppose. While the actual posts have been spotty, there's a lot brewing in the kettle. As soon as i finish up my 2 piano recital with Walter Cosand
this coming Thursday, 7:30 pm at The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove (part of the OG Summer Stars
series), i'll be able to ladle out some of the goodies as follows:
Video podcast from my Visual Recital Workshop at the 2007 Mad Cow Festival in Boulder, Colorado
Video and audio clips from my Summer Stars recital with Lidia Kaminska, Accordion and Brian Sacawa, Saxophone - an amazing acoustic combination that sounds terrific!
A video podcast interview with Brian Sacawa, shot right after our show together. Be sure to check out his fantastic blog, "Sounds Like Now"
Conclusion to the South Africa trip video podcast series - you can sense the running theme here, eh? Videos, videos, videos -
A "How to record digitally" instructional series of videos for the classical musician wanting an affordable, basic, DIY approach, made possible by some generous recording equipment donations - this series is way overdue, but hopefully as my schedule clears i'll be able to follow through quickly on my commitment to get this out. Should be lots of fun, and hopefully an encouragement for the tech-averse!
My summer reading list - yes, yes, i know, the summer is just about over, but i've been getting lost in so many wonderful books that i really want to share my late list. We'll rename it the "early autumn" reading list...and i'm sure i'll get chided for being so slow to catch on to several titles that have already enjoyed tremendous popularity!
Sounds like a plan...now i'm off to rehearse for Thursday's concert! See you soon!
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March 01, 07
Some exciting developments that i need to mention briefly in passing - i'll try to write up more detailed blogs as soon as i have time:
I've been in touch with the developer of Pianoteq, the piano simulation software that has me really impressed - we've been going back and forth developing a version that's more compatible with the Muse Receptor, and it looks like we're already close to something workable (in such short notice too!) Amazing how quick and responsive the developer has been!
I'm hoping to get a chance to test out the new beta version of Pianoteq - the developer tells me that their new C2 model incorporates the best elements of some of the finest concert grands in the market today, so i'm really eager to put it through its paces...
I'm putting together the video from my latest show at my sons' elementary school - the clip features my new digital piano setup with the Pianoteq piano modeling simulator, and i have to say, it sounds quite impressive! Hope to have it up really really soon...(tonight, maybe?)
A local arts group is moving forward with a possible collaboration between my Visual Recital technologies and their roster of artists! I'll check with them to see if it's ok to mention them by name now - should be very exciting training other musicians to incorporate synchronized visuals into their own performances!
Flutist Jan Vinci tells me our CD is done and being shipped to Albany Records! How exciting! Um...Jan, when can i have my copy of the CD? I'd LOVE to hear it...hahahahaha!
Sorry for the abbreviated post today...much to do, so little time (more stuff and less time than usual) - hope to get back to meatier posts soon!
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January 11, 07
December 30, 06
Heinz, the Ketchup - er, Hence, the Catch-Up!
As 2006 dwindles to a close, i have some major blogging to catch up to! These past two months have been particularly busy and crazy, and i only have a moment to share some previews of articles to come as i'm already
behind in preparations for next year's activities:
Summary of my trip to Recife, Brazil - the Visual Recital was quite a hit there, with some fascinating ramifications that went far beyond anything i could've hoped for or dreamed up! I have a ton of neat pictures to edit and post, and several video clips as well. I'm waiting for the audio from the recording engineer, in particular for the Visual Recital - i have a nice video DVD that needs to have the audio cleaned up, and will post clips as soon as i'm able to collect all the necessary components and edit them accordingly.
Promotional materials for the Visual Recital - i'll be busy this weekend starting work on some video clips and html mailers to promote the Visual Recital concept. In additon to web video clips, I'll need to make a DVD, a repeating videotape (a 1 or 2 minute promo clip that repeats for 60 minutes), a possible revamp for the website (adding a new section dedicated to the Visual Recital), and possibly a poster template for promoters...whew!
Vacation pics and notes - Jack hasn't been all work - i managed to enjoy a nice time at my parents' farmhouse with my brother and sister and their spouses. Skiing at Elk mountain ensued with the kids, along with an amazingly fun stay with my wife's friend's family at their Pocono mountain cabin at Wallenpaupack Lake. Suffice to say that the visit makes me want to convince my folks to sell their farm and cash in for a nice piece of lakefront property!
The Concerts page is way out of date, and the MySpace page also needs a lot of updating/tweaking. Winter cleaning is the order of the day today! Hopefully you'll see some new articles by the end of the day today, or at the very least by the start of the new year. Hope you and your families are enjoying a wonderful Winter Holiday, with many Happy New Year Blessings!
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August 12, 06
Back from Vacation - sort of...
The Sung family is back from a much-needed week of camping in the Poconos! I have a LOT of blogging to catch up to, several articles that are swimming around in my head to commit to virtual page! For my own organizational benefit, here's a list of articles that i'd like to tackle as soon as my synapsis snap back into shape:
Summer Music Festival Rundown: Need to recap my experiences with Summer Strings International, New York Summer Music Festival, and the Masterworks Festival. Hopefully this will be helpful to prospective students looking for places to study next summer...
Visual Recital Feedback: This has been a terrific summer for trying out my 'visual recital' concept - a lot of feedback to share, and hopefully some sample video clips to show the concept in action
Tech and Education articles: Need to post some articles on some other wonderful software that i've been using with my sons to help them with their schoolwork - some fantastic notetaking and study software that's really made a tremendous difference with their grades!
Getting Started on the Web: I want to provide a simple overview on some easy-to-implement options for tech-averse musicians to set up a powerful and effective presence on the web. Options will range from super-simple to moderate/slightly advanced applications and services.
Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts!! Yes, need to ramp up my podcast schedule again - several interviews are waiting editing in the hard drive, others are waiting for me to pick up the phone and put our conversations down in Audacity! I hope to get back up and podcasting full speed by the start of September, so please be patient - thanks!
The Sung Camping Trip! Of course, lots of cool tech used to make our camping trip as enjoyable and stress-free as possible - nevertheless, we still came back one day early so that the Mrs. and i could splurge at Topper's Spa for a facial and much-needed massage to 'recover' from the trip! LOL
It's been amazing to see how strong the readership to this site has been despite my spotty posts - many thanks to all of you out there that have sent me emails and wonderful comments, including several links to articles that i'll need to follow up on for commentary. The slow days of summer are drawing to a close, and i hope to be fully up to speed with this site to return the many kindnesses i've received!
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July 18, 06
An intermezzo blog
Thanks for bearing with me with my spotty posts as i slam through what seems to be the craziest three weeks of my musical career; Rach 3 is looming large this weekend, preceded by yet another solo recital and masterclass, then followed by my recital in Ocean Grove with Bayanist Lidia Kaminska
, followed by (gulp) a double Mozart concerto night a week later at Ocean Grove: K. 382 (Concert Rondo in D major) and K. 466, the big D minor - double gulp indeed!
Funny how one starts to hoarde brain cell activity when one feels pressured to cram in way too much information in too little time - hence, the lag in posts these past two weeks...ever feel like that yourself?
I leave for Indiana early tomorrow morning - one nice thing about being stuck in airports and airplanes is that the forced 'down time' actually becomes some of my most productive; i'll be catching up on some much needed podcast editing, as well as writing up articles on my wonderful time at the New York Summer Music Festival
last week - lots, lots to talk about there, along with some pictures, so please stay tuned until i get reconnected at Masterworks Festival in Winona Lake tomorrow afternoon/evening! I also need to catch up on some promised files for various students from both the Strings International Camp and NYSMF, tracked audio and digitally annotated scores (i'll explain more on those when i get those files delivered!), as well as a debriefing on my multimedia recital.
The multimedia recitals seem to have gone over quite well as far as audience reaction is concerned, but Powerpoint really flops as a multimedia platform; a friend from church was recommending that i look into an educational presentation tool called Hyperstudio
, but i think i found something even more promising with an amazing looking program called Liquid Media
...i may not have time to really play around with Liquid Media before my insane concertizing abates a bit, but hopefully i'll be able to re-tool my visual presentation before my November recitals at Cabrini College and at Arizona State U. But i'm procrastinating now...need to go back and cram more Rachs into my head...
Until my airport benchwarming and plane ride! See you in Indiana!
(P.S. Thanks so much to all the folks who've been leaving comments both here and on my MySpace page
- i'll be replying to each one as soon as i can!
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May 02, 06
April 22, 06
Catching my breath...
Sorry for the sparse posting this morning - there's a lot on my plate waiting to be delivered to the blogosphere, so here's a quick preview of things to come soon:
now that my C01U microphone bugs have been effectively ironed out, i have several additional podcasts in the can, with a good deal more scheduled in the weeks ahead. The ease and portability of the microphone is making it easy - almost TOO easy - to invite my friends and colleagues to stop by my office for a chat! The recording is the easy part - the post-production editing is what takes up an enourmous amount of time. Please bear with me as i catch up in my editing suite, as there are some really terrific podcast interviews i can't wait to share with you!
i'll be posting pictures and development notes on my Griffin Powermate cradle 2.0. For now, let's just say that Home Depot is an amazing resource for pre-fab wood parts...hope this new version works...
soon to come: a video "how-to" series. This is mainly for a special colleague in mind, but feel free to email me any questions you may have - if i can figure out a workable solution, i'll try to make a 'training video' to go with it. Hopefully this will become a helpful resource for Tablet-PC toting musicians.
more links and article clippings than i can shake a stick at! i really have to sift through a mountain of great material - i'll try to aim at spreading some of the best stuff daily over the next week or so.
gotta get some sleep now...i'll try to wrap up with an extra article either later in the day tomorrow or in the evening...
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April 05, 06
March 08, 06
Please wait while i catch my breath...
I might have to take a quick blogging breather for a day or two to catch up with my "real" life (translation: I NEED TO PRACTICE THE PIANO!!!) - I'm so excited that i FINALLY have a functional 'concerts and events' bloggette going, so that will take some time to fill and update accordingly...sooooo many articles that really need some time and attention, so perhaps this 'bookmark' post will help me focus on the next set of projects:
i want to take a survey of the classical music news sites on the web. several great paper magazines available, but unfortunately, I DON'T LIKE PAPER ANYMORE! (hahahaha - just kidding - sort of...)
finally heard from my Philadelphia Orchestra cellist friend who has had extensive experience teaching webcam lessons with the students he left behind in Georgia. The Orchestra is on tour right now in Florida and Puerto Rico (lucky ducks...), but i'm going to try and set up a visit to see how he does his web-lessons. If i can, i'll try to make a video blog about this one.
gotta get around to writing about music notation tips and tricks - i posted a few ideas on Tracy Hooten's Tip Contest over at The Student Tablet PC website, but i really need to expand with a full article detailing some very helpful ideas on working with music as a digital medium. You'll start to really understand why i can't go back to paper anymore...
more column updates: need to put up a list of my favorite Tablet PC manufacturers, favorite Pocket PC resources, software links, etc....
Bulletin Board? Would anyone here like a bulletin board? that might provide a more interactive way to discuss various topics...let me know what you think. If y'all want one, i can whip up a BB to yer likin'...
oh, get this - y'all are going to laugh - i broke down and got myself a PIANO ROLL!!! I'll have to do a full review of this - i'm actually pretty excited about it! Just got it yesterday, so i didnt' have time to really play with it (too busy cracking blog codes all day), so i need to fuss with it before i can present it to all of you properly. Let's just say i have a nice USB MIDI interface waiting to play with my new roll...
Preview of my Sound Technology Class lecture next week! Every year i get to take over Dr. Al Blatter's Sound Technology Class for a day, so i'll be writing up a little preview of what i have in store - it should totally blow away any of my previous years' presentations by a whopping mile! Too bad Al will be away on that day...
Wow, and i thought i was too tired to write anything...no wonder i'm having a hard time tearing myself away from the computer long enough to work on my OTHER keyboard - the one with black and white keys...
Take care, and see you back here soon!
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February 20, 06
New Skin - RSS Feeds - Hurrah!
Wow! What a week this has been! Now i know that flavor of insomnia that they call, "blogging!"
As i stated in one of my comments, it's felt like i've been rushing to clean the house for hundreds of guests - i just purchased a few domain names last week and already this site has been drawing a lot of attention! Thanks to everyone for welcoming me so graciously into the blogging community! Here i am with a couple of improvements to the site that i was struggling with just a few days ago:
a new SKIN! Woo hoo! This puppy was amazingly difficult to configure, but i think well worth it for the added column!
at the request of a very generous visitor, i just added (i think) RSS feed capabilities to the site. Let me know if this works or doesn't work for you, and i'll tweak as necessary
Things i still need to rack my head over:
finishing my "Getting Started" series for musicians wanting to incorporate Tablet PC's - lots more to cover to get the basics down
setting up an automated events calendar to show all my upcoming concerts, lectures, master classes, etc.
a picture gallery to post publicity pics, as well as fun pics of family and travels
getting some software to make video demonstrations of tablet pc software - i used a trial version of SnagIt a while ago and put it away, but now i think i need to purchase a copy given all the software i want to review for the guests of this site...
several parents have been approaching me for more info on educational software for the tablet pc - my middle school son has his own Tablet PC, and it's been a tremendous tool to help him develop better study habits - LOTS of info to share there!
more, more, much much more...but to bed i must go, lest i be tempted to blog all night long...
Good night, folks! See you tomorrow! (more)
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February 14, 06
This is more for my own blog 'to-do' list of articles i need to post before announcing the arrival of this 'reconstructed' site to the world:
1. Music and the Tablet PC - what is a Tablet PC and how can it help the classical musician?
2. Music and the Tablet PC pt. 2 - Setup
3. My Toolbox - working descriptions of the tech tools i use in my daily job as a professional musician
4. Reviews, reviews, reviews!
a. Scribbler 2100
b. Fujitsu Stylistic ST5010 and ST5022D
c. Toshiba M200
d. Motion M1200
e. Pocket PC/PDA Phone: Samsung i730 (running on the Verizon Network)
5. Working diary - unique situations where tech has come to a musical rescue
6. Discussion: What are the advantages of a Tablet PC over a traditional PC for the musician?
7. Cutting edge: enhancing classical performances with multimedia triggered by Tablet PC's/projectors
8. E-music: finding (and linking) great places to buy and download music for tablet pc's
9. Scanners: scanning hardware, software and techniques to get hardcopy music into digital formats
10. Thinking within the digital box: innovative ways to manipulate music in the digital domain
11. Oh, yeah, i happen to play the piano sometimes - gotta start thinking about performance practice issues, master class techniques, travel tips, audio/visual recording techniques, stories from the stage, info on upcoming concerts...wow, and i thought my plate was full BEFORE brainstorming on this...
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