Interface Intensive: day I’ve-lost-count, but it’s going well!

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These kinds of rehearsal/learning intensives come with their ups and downs (hey, we’re all about extremes in new music), and I’ve had my share of stress, panic, frustration, disappointment (at myself), and exhaustion this past week and a half, but yesterday we got all the way through the Donatoni without stopping for the first time and improved of our full run of the Lanza that we first trialled on the weekend. Exhilarating!

Check out some photos of our first week on the Ensemble Interface blog – taken by their cellist Christophe (and a few that I took!).

Our first performance is Friday night, and while we’ve still a way to go, I personally feel more on top of things coming into a Kupka concert than I think I have ever before. After rehearsing for 6 hours yesterday afternoon I felt surprisingly invigorated – it was the first evening I didn’t drag myself home and collapse into my bed, forcing myself not to worry about ALL THE NOTES.ย (There’s been rather a bit of panic practicing, impatiently trying to play passages faster than I’m ready to. But now I think I have the space to settle back and just take it slowly. I know well the sections that present the most extreme challenges for me – fourth reg F slurred to an Eb anyone? semiquavers dotted with articulated grace notes at MM100? violent! – and how I will approach them, and have Interface flautist Bettina to thank very muchly for this.)

In addition to rehearsals of our concert repertoire, this mentorship period has included a number of other extremely fruitful activities: lessons with our corresponding Interface member, workshopping some short duos by my partner Liam Flenady (he write about this on his blog), Interface workshops given at the Qld Conservatorium and University of Qld (Bettina is giving a circular breathing class at the Con this evening!), and two of what we have dubbed “Bildungsforums” – structured sessions for discussion of personal and ensemble identity and direction. So far we have had one of these, focussing on each of us as individuals, and what we think are our personal roles and talents. It was very useful to hear exactly where everyone felt they were at, the direction of their self-development and some career ambitions. Tonight we embark on our ideas of how we operate as an ensemble, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what this brings up, and how we will deal with questions of stability and ambition into the future.

This entire intensive only continues to confirm for me that this is what I most want to do, and I’m starting to feel a new layer of determination set in. I suspect I will have a lot of thinking to do as this draws to a close as to my next steps, and how I will best use my time in Europe next year (I’ll be spending at least three months in Cologne studying with Camilla Hoitenga, with the ArtStart grant I deferred from this year).

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