Summer for me has traditionally been less of a time for R&R and more of a time for change and transition. Perhaps that is partly a result of being immersed in the academic world of music for most of the year – it is especially easy to become fixated on one’s work when living in New York City, where life seems to just fly by. As much as I love NYC, my three years there have made me appreciate being at home in beautiful Southern Oregon even more.
While I do enjoy life in the city, even the most ordinary of excursions outside of Manhattan can feel like a vacation. That is how I felt when I visited the small town of Frostburg in western Maryland earlier this month to play for the faculty recitals at the inaugural Frostburg State University Summer Music Academy. It was my first time visiting the state of Maryland altogether, and driving through the Appalachian Highlands reminded me a bit of home. The Appalachians are certainly much tamer than the Cascades and mountains of the West Coast, but the endless rolling hills covered with deciduous trees were nevertheless a welcome sight.
My activities at the FSU Summer Music Academy included playing three chamber music recitals – the first night was with Jonathan Carney, concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the second was with Daniel Getz, violist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the third featured piano trios with Steven Honigberg (cello), Mark Gallagher (clarinet), and Shu-Ting Yao (violin).
Everything went so well at the SMA – the concerts were among the most fulfilling that I’ve had so far, and it was a perfect opportunity to meet and play with such experienced and accomplished musicians. In fact, the whole experience was such a success that I ended up accepting a full-time faculty position at Frostburg State University, beginning next month. So, I will be moving to Maryland as soon as I return to New York in a couple weeks. How’s that for change and transition!
I don’t think I have pondered any career-related decision more thoroughly than this, as I was not planning on leaving NYC for another year at least. It had not even occurred to me to search for jobs at this point, as I had been surviving more or less off of my teaching and playing activities at Juilliard all this time, while working on my dissertation. However, I have been fortunate to have this opportunity present itself to me, and am very excited to begin this new adventure.
Of course I will still be working on my dissertation over the course of this next year, and I expect that living in the small community of Frostburg should allow me the space, freedom, and relative peace and quiet I need to really focus on my work, in addition to my duties as Collaborative Pianist at FSU. I will also be returning to NYC as schedule allows, not only for my final doctoral obligations and performances, but to visit my many friends that I was not planning to leave so soon!