What was new in 2014?
I sang a lot of Russian. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus performed several programs in Russian this year: Prokofiev Alexander Nevsky, Shostakovich Ten Poems on Texts by Revolutionary Poets, Tavener Svyati, and Rachmaninoff The Bells. The only Russian I’d sung previously was in Stravinsky’s The Nightingale, which had a small chorus part, so my familiarity with the language was minimal. Our ever-patient Russian coach, Lidiya Yankovskaya, explained to us how to pronounce a palatalized L and the elusive i-slash vowel a few hundred times, but I’m still not sure I’m doing it right. On the plus side, I’ve mastered some bizarre consonant clusters. [Vzglat] is my favorite.
I got this awesome email. “…we would like to know whether you have any interest in expanding your accompanist role with the TFC.” Umm, hell yeah! Four years ago, when I quit my corporate job to play the piano, the chorus manager suggested that I audition as a pianist for John Oliver. I totally pshaw’ed his suggestion — I think my exact words were, “Maybe someday when I’m better.” Somehow I ended up covering some rehearsals anyway, to varying success (that can be a whole other blog post), and I landed the gig of my wildest dreams.
Other pianists came to my rescue. An unforeseen death in my family required a lot of cancellations during my busiest time of year. I am deeply indebted to David Deveau, Bonnie Donham, Ya-Chun Shih, and Joseph Turbessi for covering for me on short notice, and ever grateful to my musical collaborators for their understanding and flexibility. Although I missed many rehearsals, I made it to all of my scheduled performances, which I think was the right decision. “It’s times like these when we need music the most,” one of my mentors told me. Indeed.