San Diego Chamber Music Workshop

July 28, 2006

Scott Woolweaver and Roger Bourland

Violist, Scott Woolweaver (L) and Roger Bourland. Photo by Daniel Shiplacoff.

I was nervous about ripping myself away from my work to get down to San Diego to attend a performance of my FOUR POETS by the Ives Quartet for an annual gathering of [non-professional?] chamber musicians called the San Diego Chamber Music Workshop, and in this case, mostlly string players. It is a full week of intense music of chamber music overseen by a staff of 10 professionals from around the country. I pored over the Amtrak schedule preferring to take a train down there rather than drive. I looked at the email from Ron Goldman, the coordinator of the event, and puzzled over the strangest directions which, if I would have followed, would have ended me up in Claremont. Duhh. The event was held on the Scripps College campus and thank God I hadn’t bought the ticket to San Diego.

Daniel brought his computer along [surprise] and recorded the performance. The expert recording in San Jose was ruined because the damned bass player was practicing offstage during the James Merrill movement. This time, only a pair of glasses falling to the floor marred that movement. Their performance was excellent. They really know the piece and played the hell out of it. The audience seemed genuinely to love the piece, and 1/3 stood to say so. I pulled out the banjo to do EMILY but sadly there was no bass, so it sounded just WEIRD. I figure I’ll add the bass in my studio and it should be just fine. [I’ll post it if it is.]

I was asked questions, and a lot of them, by the audience afterwards. My favorite question was: “has your career suffered by your decision to stay with melody oriented music?” to which I responded “Yes, and I don’t give a shit.” [Roger! How crass. You DID care, you just got over it.]

The Ives Quartet was marvelous and I am fortunate to have worked with them and to have received such a great set of performances. I am especially appreciative of my long time friend and colleague, Scott Woolweaver, who was there back in the early 1980s playing viola on the COMPOSERS IN RED SNEAKERS concerts whenever any of my pieces needed one. This was Scott’s last season with the Ives Quartet. He has now assumed more teaching responsibilities in Massachusetts and looks forward to less intercontinental flights but will miss the group. Thanks Scott!

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