28 November 2006

fleeting mist

The day was partly cloudy, even when I returned home from President Seligman's visit. When I went to school to practice two hours later, I saw downtown Rochester enveloped in fog for the first time -- quite a thick fog; I worried that cars turning the corner wouldn't see me. I wondered where it had come from; I hadn't seen it in the forecast.

When I emerged at 11 pm, the fog was completely gone.

"It was a fog you could wrap around you, discard your secrets into..." I'll never forget those couple of lines Michael Foxman wrote in middle school within the five or ten minutes of free writing time we were given. I wasn't a child to be taken aback by the writing of others my age. But I still remember those lines going on 24.

meetings, surprises, coalescence

I dropped everything today to prepare for a tardily-announced visit by UR President Joel Seligman that had been planned since summer. And it was crazy, and it was well worth it. He's nothing like Rick Levin -- and while he doesn't have the same presence, he also conspicuously lacks that "I'm too busy and important for little you" air, and listens to the quietest and most unsure student and to student rants that should be addressed at local levels within the university with warmth, interest, and patience. And when I handed him the sort of carillon "press release" I had just printed at Minuteman, he expressed how impressed he was with the ambition of a student launching a capital renovation project and asked to visit the carillon before leaving for LA for winter break.

Like John Covach, his reaction came as a complete surprise and caught me off guard. They keep catching me off guard here and leaving me a little unsure of what to say next, most likely because I underestimate their genuine interest and predisposition to respect the carillon as a musical instrument. President Seligman and Dr. Covach both have backgrounds at Ann Arbor. Thank you, Margo Halsted.

I sent a carillon sheet music and monograph acquisition proposal to Dan Zager today, and he responded promptly and positively and informed me that he had played the carillon for two years at Madison.

A good surprise around many corners. However, president Seligman also caught a weak point I hadn't anticipated defending - what progress I had made so far with fundraising. Let's hope the HYP Ball this weekend with a fellow ambitious fundraiser gives us something to add to our progress report. The divorce lawyer I met at Image City called this morning as I was writing my proposals... the publicity manager involved with Currents was at the meeting... things are starting to coalesce. But now I have to get to school. Who has time for that?

27 November 2006

The most original description of the experience of listening to a carillon that I have probably ever read.

I cycled to Naomi's tonight to negotiate her weeklong internet connection breakdown and realized that although I'd seen Corn Hill through the windows of cars and buses, it is truly gorgeous without the mediation of a window. Although I procrastinated buying tickets for the Landmark Preservation Society's Corn Hill Holiday Tour until they sold out, I've at least gotten to see one interior. Her house is splendid, and strangely enough, owned by someone fascinated by British royalty who is in Britain through December and who furthermore has a ceiling painted by the partner of one of our organ professors. I also finally got to see the elusive City Hall, where bells may still hang in the tower. Now if only I could get myself to Rundel for a library card so I can feel like a true Rochesterian.

East Coast colonial and Georgian architecture still makes me slightly uncomfortable despite my aesthetic fondness for it, but Corn Hill may well be the first neighborhood I've seen that I'd be happy to inhabit longterm (surrounding neighborhoods notwithstanding). I can't quite pintpoint why yet; I'll need to do some more cycling and contemplating to figure it out.

The Genesee is quite cold relative to the rest of the city. It must be a wind tunnel.

26 November 2006

giving creativity a wiggle

It took just 20 minutes to cycle from the River Campus back to my apartment, and yet in that short time, I saw much more than I'd seen before. Perhaps the story began earlier. Perhaps it began with my trip south, when I scolded myself for always forgetting my camera for early evening rides. The brilliant autumn-like winter day, over 50°F in late November, was not unlike that day of pain a year before (incidentally, I forgot to deliberately go cycling that day--disappointing, but a good sign that my life is so full that I can't be bothered to commemorate). For the first time, the reflection of the new apartments in Corn Hill was perfectly still in the river and glowed golden in the twilight as if to herald Christmas with its lights, and the Parisian Troup Howell Bridge did the same. I finally caught sight of my carillon tower through the tangle of riverside trees by the red light bejeweling its apex.

An open door in Spurrier led me to discover new gym-like hallways and exits that made sense, and a corridor of typical practice compartments that I'm now hoping I can steal for the practice carillon. Practice itself was nothing brilliant - I had forgotten my shoes and earplugs and had to improvise, but developed a new idiom for myself learning John Cage's "Music for Carillon, No. 3." Roy Hamlin Johnson's octotonic setting of "Wachet Auf" seemed masterwork, and the penultimate two pages of Geert D'hollander's "Een Aangename Voois" fit my hands better as I applied techniques he'd taught me for his and others' compositions to the fleeting, dancing layers of "mijn vrolijk hart dat lacht..." And then I launched off the hill for home, glad to have the Cateye headlight my parents had sent me to light the way. But it wasn't just the dark segments of the path that I could see better.

A radio tower blinked back at my Cateye at the end of the Riverway Trail, startling me with its towering likeness to the Eye of Sauron as portrayed in LoTR movie. Amused and perturbed that it should look so threatening and tall in darkness, I raced through the construction beneath the Court Street bridge skimming the bumpy dirt path to emerge into a rush of warm air. Downtown was a few degrees warmer than the River Campus and the Genesee, thanks to buildings spewing warm air from giant vents and the windbreaker effect of a densely built environment. For no particular reason, I took Woodbury Boulevard east for once and realized that the Geva Theatre was right below Washington Square Park. I cycled through rather than past the park, finally drawn to the Civil War monument at its center from the history I'd learned at the Center at High Falls. There was a time when the statue had been monumental rather than dwarfed into invisibility by highrises. Those evil highrises nevertheless looked more monumental and well-designed than before, perhaps because I understood what they contained from the Center's exhibit. They had become receptacles of light; even the fan atop one building no longer looked tastelessly 70's, but as it might have looked to admirers in the 70's. My eyes were so receptive to imagination that I was stunned by the nameless highrise across from Manhattan Square Park, which looked at its edges as if it had been sliced away or as if some building the same color as the darkness was covering the rest of it. Downtown had never looked beautiful before, and now it was nothing but.

Even small details--the play of form and complementary aesthetics between the Eastman School and the Miller Center, the patinated scalloping of the Eastman Theatre's marquee and perspective lines of its glowing show bulbs, Christmas lights encircling what seemed like baubles of nothing because the trees had lost their leaves, the glazed corner of the heretofore ugly YMCA that split a harsh concrete edge into four glowing windowed angles--leaped out at me despite my visibly worsening eyesight. I couldn't have escaped the sight of beauty if I'd tried, although these same things had disappointed me with their lack of beauty before.

I spent most of today preparing my octotonic improvisation for tomorrow. It wasn't the same kind of work; for the first time in a long time, perhaps since before I started college music theory courses, I composed not because I felt strong-armed into doing it, but because I felt compelled to do it, because ideas were escaping me into soundwaves and I wanted to record them. Perhaps this unleashing of creativity made me receptive to imaginative visual perception.

But what even spurred that after years of struggling to revive a stifled desire to write music? Part of it must have been knowledge, the knowledge I've gained of Rochester from cycling around aimlessly or purposefully and visiting the Center. Part of it must have been the break from monotonous work that I chose to take despite my plans to accomplish mountains of work this week. Part of it must have been the photography I've done intensively over the past few days, both on the road and at my computer. I've trained my photographer's eye on Rochester, and it's gotten sharp and developed an appetite for more of the city. Part of it must be the fondness I've developed for the Flour City exploring it over break. (If you can't escape Rochester, why not escape Eastman into Rochester?)

All of this has led me to reconcile myself with not being immersed in European beauty. In Europe, I lost use of the American eye that enabled me to see the beauty of this country while I developed an eye for my surroundings in Belgium. Naturally, that eye was disppointed with the offerings of America. But I knew all along I had a good eye for beauty. Now I've realized that I have two. If that makes any sense without sounding absurd.

24 November 2006

more Sibley awesomeness

For fun, I kept reading past the last page of our assigned organ repertory reading on the Netherlands and found myself on the first page of Pieter Dirksen's "A Rediscovered Painting by Emanuel de Witte." Said painting offers new information on the large Niehoff organ of the Amsterdam Oude Kerk as it was when played by Sweelinck. While a drawing (c.1700) by Jan Goeree has proved unreliable, another by his contemporary Ignatius Lux gives better insight.

Guess why I have a photocopy of this drawing in my room. It's the cover of Sonate per il cimbalo appropriate al flaute & violino (c. 1703) by Sybrandus van Noordt, organist of the Oude Kerk from 1679-1691. The very publication from which Bernard Winsemius arranged the killer piece I played for my final exam in Mechelen.

Even between organists and carillonists, it's a smaller world than we may think. A good sign for my life's work.

By the way, by chance one of my Hans Fugius recordings came on when I started iTunes. And never until now did I have the ears to realize how wonderful it is.

23 November 2006

thanksgiving feast

Allan and Stephanie threw a wonderful Thanksgiving feast today, and I took the opportunity for five hours to meet as many artists in other disciplines as I could and to learn everything I could from them about their art and involvement in Rochester. It was wonderful that our hosts brought together so many different kinds of artists. The feast was superb, and despite its size came together seamlessly unlike the tiny dinner parties I've struggled to host. The only blotch on the party was the man whose conversation I deserted when he described how he hated the one time he tried cycling in Belgium and then how he couldn't live without TV. Later I unfortunately ran into him again, and he grilled Matt, Christina, Allan, and me with naïve and almost hostile questions. Whatever. I met yet more composers (man those Koreans know how to make fashion statements), and Liz now wants to write a carillon piece! I may well "have to" play a concert of new carillon works next year. What a delightful surprise that Eastman composers are so eager to write for the instrument if I simply offer the opportunity! It's not a standard part of the repertoire, it's not common, it's not well-known... but I suppose what they want is a new medium more than any of those things. They want something to explore. Lucky for me and the carillon world.

But that distasteful man... If I'm amazed at the amount of television my roommates watch, perhaps I'm the one in the wrong. They're well below the national average of 299 minutes per day in the US and 227 in Europe. Why the Icelandic people watch the least TV is beyond me... how much is there to do in Iceland?

Unfortunately I was nearly burnt out by the end of the party (but apparently the bubbliness [which my ECMC colleagues just recently made me aware of in mysef] worked while it lasted -- one composer compared me twice with a girl who had been at the heart of composition department social life in previous years, and it was also awesome to be compared to Jason Price as a performance major in the ECMC), when Allan asked me about San Fran and Belgium. I hardly had the energy to move my mouth anymore, let alone talk about myself. But somehow I perked up when I asked if Stephanie was into Op Art (there were some striking pieces in the house that set off fireworks in my visual cortext). Apparently he has difficulty seeing the effects of Op Art and cited a study finding that musicians are actually not visually inclined (perhaps even less than Joe Schmoe). I was surprised by this, but perhaps should not have been, considering how little interest there is at Eastman in visual arts (nobody to go to the art gallery with, talk about architecture with, blah blah). Then he spoke in shockingly dark terms about the lives of musical prodigies he's known and how most of them ultimately walk away from music. I told him I sometimes wish I'd been a prodigy and not been good at other things so I could have found my path directly and could focus on it now. To my amazement, he said with confidence that most of them would trade places with me any day.

But apparently Eastman has become populated with many more students who got started in music later in their careers, rather than with students whose parents shoved violins under their chins once they learned to walk. When Allan first came to Eastman, he wondered if he'd make it through because people were so focused -- "living in that one speck of dust," he phrased it in his signature sarcastic style. But decades later, he's still here. "You'll make it through," he assured me. "But you'll always have a love-hate relationship with Eastman." We need to talk more.

Yet in the midst of mingling with artists from other disciplines and mostly in older age groups, I noticed that my colleagues hung out with each other. This confused me until I remembered that I'd always been one of them, watching enviously and admiringly as social butterflies made their way effortlessly around the room. How, when, and why did I go from one extreme to the other? Did it just happen this year when I took up promotion of the carillon as a cause and thus justification for meeting anyone and everyone? Did it start because I'm tired of my Eastman colleagues? Did it start because I want to set an example for them? Last night, I sought to assemble the most varied crowd possible for my dinner party, and to my amazement, the groups did not mix: composers, keyboardists, and even within that group, a giggling Asian contingent -- either they aren't comfortable meeting different people or really are satisfied with the limited interactions one can have within one's own crowd, something Allan ranted about with regard to conservatory musicians.

Except that Ryan walked in all alone (I don't even know how he let himself in), tossed a six-pack of Vermont Woodchuck Cider in the fridge, and then dived right out of the kitchen into a crowd of people in which he knew absolutely nobody at all and to whom he certainly wasn't connected through his studies. I never got the chance to introduce him or orient him. He didn't need it, didn't even need to chat with me to start feeling comfortable in new surroundings. Without his presence, the whole point of the party would have been lost for me. I suppose I could have done a better job of introducing people, but I did introduce most everyone as a big group. They just didn't take up the starting offer, which was all I could offer considering the amount of food I was concocting in the kitchen.

David and I found ourselves kindred souls in missing the university setting, and also enthused by and grateful for the presence of Bill Porter, who brings not only musical genius, but intellectual depth and somehow a calming effect, civility, to the department, exemplified by his saving that Thursday EROI morning when the professors had a run-in with the EROI crew. Like me, David wondered if he wouldn't have had this problem at Yale. I recounted Bill's description of the ISM's reluctant and unsure relationship with the university, and we were both a little relieved.

The deeper I dig, the more people I find who feel trapped, who came from infinte lives and found themselves suddenly clamped within four thick walls at Eastman. Even when you find your way out, it's hard to find hope or an outlet outside. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in my frustration. But what good does it do me to know there are others unless I find someone who is fighting the status quo?

At least Bill gave me the right perspective. Even if I cannot receive, I can give (rather than resent). But still, in a place like this, I need a few sympathetic souls. Do I really have to range all over the River Campus and Rochester to find them? And once I find them, can I keep in touch with them?

22 November 2006

tally II

I never imagined how obvious the pattern of my travel in the States is:

create your own visited states map or check out these Google Hacks.

This map is rather less helpful because it highlights the entire country for each place you've visited.

create your own visited countries map or vertaling Duits Nederlands

20 November 2006

carillon in the Philippines?

Kan er echt een beiaard in de Filippijnen staan?! Het is niet op de WCF website.

Oh, and the most heartwarming article for Joe Schmoe and most dismal one for a carillonneur I've seen in a while.

19 November 2006

thanks, hiram sibley!

Sibley Music LibraryNow that I've stopped fretting about the lack of a medieval manuscript collection of Beineckeian proportions and started looking for material from the last couple of centuries, I'm finding a whole darned lot in the largest academic music library in the country. (What a revelation!) The one-shelf carillon collection is idiosyncratic and rather Donemus-heavy, but forms a solid starter collection to build on once I draft an acquisition proposal. Items that distracted me from practicing today include the original edition of Sybrandus van Noordt's "Sonate voor cimbalo solo" (c. 1703), which Bernard Winsemius arranged for carillon and which Geert made me struggle with into exam-worthiness after making it seem like a piece of cake, a virtuosic harpsichord recording of the Sonate by a former organ student of carillon composer Albert de Klerk that coincidentally contains works by Baroque Middelburg carillonneur Pieter Bustijn (d. 1729), sheet music for carillon duets by Wim Franken and the peculiar works of John Cage that Eastman students get so excited to hear, and even a thick Leuven manuscript facsimile and carillon with brass and percussion miniature score, Musica di campanile : omaggio a Jan P. Sweelinck, again by Franken, neither of which I knew existed. I wonder if the Emerald Brass and I could put together a movement from the Franken for our concert in the spring. And in fond memory of piano-beiaard class in Mechelen, the piano reduction of Elgar's monologue with orchestra, Carillon, may be downloaded online.

What was I supposed to be researching again? Oh yes, Buxtehude. And whose book should be most helpful but that by Kerala Snyder with the funky music socks! And whose editorial should be most opinionated and dismissive but that by Dutchman Ton Koopman! Nevertheless, I've found little that allows for elaboration in a 30-second introduction to the Praeludium in D major, so it's time for the "personal engagement and struggle" anecdote, which should be new to my studio class. Now if only the playing were as easy as the talking.

And if only I didn't spend hours in the library pulling non-Buxtehude-related materials in purported preparation for a 30-second statement I've now decided to deliver extemporaneously. I still have mixed feelings about Eastman, but there is definitely fun to be had here for library fiends.


Photographic memories of the visit of electroacoustic music father Jean-Claude Risset, one of the mildest, kindliest, and most unassuming composers to have changed the course of music and technology.

to be neither proud nor ashamed

The second ECMC25 concert didn't go off completely smoothly, but the music was so outstanding that nobody seemed to care. Our guest composers fearlessly brought their best new works to the stage, and Jason Price and Randy Hall rocked our worlds.

Bob Pierzak is from Poland. After less than two weeks in Poland for the WCF Congress, I suddenly find myself surrounded by the Polish wherever I go. And while all I can remember from my practical Polish lessons from Kasha is dzien dobry, tak, dziekuje, and toileta, they love it anyway. Bob, by the way, rocks. So sincere. So Polishly sober after knocking back at least six rum and Cokes. And so not planning to become a composer although he's earning a master's degree in composition at Eastman. No, he wants to go into theater after "learning about composition" and working unpaid overtime as designated ECMC "grunt" and having some fun and maybe even writing a carillon piece for our little instrument here. The world needs more fun people like that.

18 November 2006


Harvard SUCKSFinally: proof that Harvard Sucks Royally. As in, this is the first time I've seen Yale win The Game!!! YEEEEEHAW!!! Better extremely late than never. And to be honest, I wasn't even watching the game, nor did I see Yale win it. But I was sitting in a booth in the Distillery with the combined Yale and Harvard alumni clubs (the one Cantab I met was rather quieter than the Yalies from the start) listening in awe to a fellow by the name of Mr. Rusling (PC '63), whom I fully intend to nominate as the BUTANE patron saint. What prankstering this native Rochesterian accomplished in college. Gutsy prankstering. On the level of taking the lights out over all of central campus on May Day. And employing materials of every type, from countless explosives to ten-foot bamboo poles. I regaled him with a few of our comparable hacks, but was quite content to sit back and listen to how the Alley Cats were as infamous (and arrestable) as they were famous in the days that he was pitch for them. Neither the Pundits (who may well be the originators of that eponymous word) nor the Men of JE could claim such notoriety. And would you know, his office is a stone's throw from me. A cherry bomb's throw, really.

Ended up practicing nearly four hours of carillon after winding my way underground into Spurrier, since the front doors had been left locked. Emerged with wrecked hands, a back all tied up in knots again, to find the winter evening and dinnertime already descended. At least the weather's still bike-worthy.

Finally got around to creating a folding cover for the CDs I gave to the Rochester Poets, who had very kind words about their visit, although I'm sure I could have run it better. I didn't have it in time for the Soros, but better late than never. I need to sit down for a couple hours and create a portfolio for myself so that I don't need to do largely redundant work at the last minute.

16 November 2006

More Elgar carillon madness

The UR offers a free PDF of Edward Elgar's composition, "Carillon" op. 75 (not for carillon). This accompanied monologue (originally for orchestra, but here reduced for piano) is also known as "Chantons, Belges, chantons" and was written for the poem of the same name by Emile Cammaerts (the text is available at the end of the sheet music). Strangely, Elgar wrote this in 1914, well before composing "Loughborough Memorial Chimes" in 1923 on commission. Perhaps the tremendous success of op. 75 led in part to this commission (or at least in Elgar's willingness to accept it)?

15 November 2006

media attention

"Hi Tiffany,
I work for the University of Rochester's Office of Communications. We are interested in featuring you in the next issue of Currents."

Now we're talking. I don't have to jump and wave for media attention. They find us! (i.e. the carillon and me)

ECMC25 flyer 2Speaking of publicity, I flyered the Eastman School, Sibley Library, Rush Rhees Library, and the Arts District with about 50 crappy ECMC flyers and almost as many postcards. If I'd just had 20 minutes more, I could have designed much better ones, but oh well. It was a glorious day for cycling, and I did lots of it. Strangely, my exploration was necessitated by wanting to cycle a shorter rather than longer distance -- from the River Campus to the arts district. Rochester is really a lovely town, when you're blessed with an afternoon of sunlight to admire it. And my list of things to see and do is getting rather daunting, even if those things aren't done because they're not easy to reach.

Thank goodness Mark taught me how to discover the world by bike.

13 November 2006


WOW WOW WOW. I can't say anything more. Read answer 3.

Let me regain a little composure, or at least stop cringing. Except... more great news, this time on the front of the 2010 GCNA Congress. This very positive publicity for the carillon begins, "What’s 158 feet tall, holds 72 bells, cost Naperville taxpayers nearly $5 million and still isn’t done?"

Holland... Michigan?!

At least the Japanese can advertise a real carillon in their fake Dutch village, Huis ten Bosch. But for the Dutch Village of Holland, Michigan to claim it has a "spectacular carillon"... of 25 bells played automatically only, is preposterous.

12 November 2006


Tinnitus (tin-NIGHT-us or TIN-it-us) comes from Latin and means "to tinkle or to ring like a bell." Tonight playing on the great organ of the Flentrop in the groovy 420 room seemed to activate two pitches, a high one in my right ear and lower one in my left. I went to the bathroom and it faded away, practiced some clavichord and didn't hear it, and stepped back into Room 420 only to hear it start again.

I like bells a lot, but I don't like this kind of ringing. Tinnitus is caused by exposure to extremely loud noises. Like exploding bombs. So what's the deal with my hearing?

11 November 2006

best aioli ever = beautiful day

Biked through the rain to the River Campus at noon; a deceptively unpleasant start to perhaps my best day so far in Rochester.

The Rochester Poets at the carillon with intelligent questions and pinot grigio and endless inspiration and a brilliant and pensive but not at all shy little girl and my first community student, a longtime sufferer of bell fever. My first Bread and Puppet followed by the best aioli ever, when I happen to be wearing the signature Wind-Up Toy shirt Qirsten came to be known for during her first of two stints at Bread and Puppet. Only regret: I had only enough cash to buy one poster although our apartment needs all of them.

09 November 2006

don't go!

I never cared for football. But for the 49ers to relocate to yuppie Silicon Valley? Will the Stick just become another spelunking spot? The plans for a renewed complex might have done good for Hunter's Point. Now we may never know (not to mention not get to come home to the Olympics).

06 November 2006

campanological demand

History students are chiming for a bell tower in Florida? This is news to me. Great news! Lacking time, I quote directly:

While there is no bell tower at Florida International University's main campus, students have been asking for one for years, says Ruth Hamilton, director of the Graham University Center, which houses a conspicuous clock.

"Especially the history students," says Hamilton, who remembers bells ringing at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she was a student in the 1970s. "When you go to Europe, you see bell towers. When you go to the Ivy League, you see the bell towers. Bells touch people in many many ways. Spiritual ways. Intellectual ways."

for a moment, i thought there was a carillon in india

While at Yale, we received the most hilariously urgent and badly written inquiry from a man in India about purchasing a carillon immediately--perhaps even ours. When I saw an excerpt from an article reading "the carillon is as far removed from India as the igloo," I wondered if I shouldn't have been so quick to laugh. Was there now a carillon in India thanks to this man's fanatical efforts?

No, it all goes back to Jo Haazen. This is an article about Mechelen. Amazing!

The lady at the Little Bakery gave me two delicious almond croissants for free this evening with my purchase of a loaf of sourdough on the condition that I return for more. I passed on the love by giving a croissant to Naomi in the bag which has Little's address on it. Clearly, we all benefit from this kind of generosity. And the Little Bakery donates its unsold goods to a kitchen. Awesome.

Maybe this is a Rochester attitude. What about the lady who discounted my used book expecting me to buy more in the future anyway?

05 November 2006

healing or temporary salve?

Wearied and discouraged by the people around me and the length of the tasks before me, I cycled out to Image City Art Gallery as I had been planning to do for two months, bringing my portfolio from Mechelen along just in case there was someone who might take a look. Sure enough, featured artist Betsy Phillips was there between the final hours of her exhibition there and the opening of another elsewhere, and she took a generous interest in my work. Before I knew what was happening, I had spoken to a number of gallery members, including executive director Ed Vesneske and Croatian Rochesterian Dan Neuberger, and they signed off on my application and tentatively scheduled me for a panel exhibit in February. Heaven bless them.

Who should call in the middle of it all but Giancarlo, set this time on persuading me to change direction at the last minute. (Funny that I probably seem absolutely unspontaneous to him, when spontaneity is the modus operandi against which the requirements of the rest of my life struggle.) Fortunately, California Rollin' was just a few blocks away, and he made me the biggest sushi selection I've probably ever eaten in my life. It was such a treat to eat truly good food, especially after a week of shoveling take-out while running between tasks. I was so defeated by the end that even my dessert stomach declined the first opportunity to enjoy tempura ice cream in a year, excluding Thai Taste with JR in June. And it was also a treat to spend the afternoon talking with people who added more than the typically two dimensions that seem to form and cage in my world at Eastman.

But being in such a lively and vibrant place as the Village Gate, talking to someone full of energy and with a life beyond of music for whom I haven't found time in weeks, I felt a mantle of melancholy settle. It was strange to feel as if I didn't belong. It doesn't seem my world anymore. It should be. But if Eastman isn't my world and neither are the places I've been today, where do I belong anymore?

I thought this afternoon would be a relief. But I've been trying to find relief for days since finishing my Soros application. And no amount of relief seems to address the dissatisfaction at the base of it all. Every break puts me further behind in my work and makes me wonder who I can turn myself into at Eastman or if Eastman will dictate how to mold me.

04 November 2006

photo op

Despite the intensely irritating cursor, Expatica has finally rewarded me for my loyalty. Although my carillon has precious little to do with Belgium, I can at least spread the word to folks whose carillons do (of whom there are quite a few): Linking America and Belgium through images. Unfortunately this newspaper sounds like it's in dismal shape. I've emailed in Flemish inquiring about a subscription and offering to throw together a super-basic no-brainer website. Other Dutch-language newspapers in America have had to go to online-only offerings before. I feel bad for them, but I also see a new way to reach the Belgian population in America for support of my beiaard projecten.

René Uijlenhoet has finally written back -- enthusiastically, about the performance of his electroacoustic organ and carillon pieces for the ECMC25 Series. In fact, he wants to be here in person for the performances. I hope he is shocked by my email response in Dutch. That would be t3h r0x0rz.

03 November 2006


Greetings from the Salton SeaUnintentionally missed my Schmitt practice time (due to somebody's flakiness, ahem) and set off late to the River Campus. Incidentally enjoyed one of the most beautiful rides I've done so far in Rochester. The Genesee is glorious in the late autumn evening. Ambushed Gabby in the Arts & Music Library after picking up Greetings from the Salton Sea, which Rush Rhees Library acquired for me even more quickly than the Yale Library usually did whenever I requested that they buy a book just for little ole me (and all posterity, of course).

Meant to practice the carillon for an hour, ended up practicing around 2.5 because I lost track of time and was trying to make up for lost time. Raced back as fast as my legs would pedal me through a beautiful but chill and eerie evening, passing lines of skeleton-like trees across the river towards a downtown Rochester all lit up against the night. Ah, carillonation. Now life feels back in balance.


After weeks of intending to do so, I just closed my storm windows. They resisted for so long that I thought I wouldn't succeed, but I did. I took time out for me! And now maybe I will regain a little bit of sanity. It is nice to have the screens obscuring the upper half of my windows too, since the blinds that I resent so much block out the sky anyway. If I can remember to buy some produce at the public market tomorrow, I may even return to culinary sanity.

02 November 2006

nothing to eat!

Although she has far more food than Lauren and me together (her comestibles occupy the entire freezer, two of her own mini-fridges, a bookshelf, and the regular kitchen shelf) Donna's usual evening complaint is, "I have nothing to eat!" Then the other day she discovered all the food buried in the back of our endless kitchen cabinets and was flabbergasted. "I have sooo much to eat!!!"

For the past few days I've really had nothing at home to eat, although the final dish I was able to throw together with the remainder of my food, butternut squash soup, was damn good. There's just been no time for shopping. Fortunately, that means there's been no time for cooking either. Thank goodness for Java's afternoon sales and lightning-speed dinners from the Chinese/Japanese place. Tonight I ordered vegetable noodle soup to go, and it popped out of the kitchen in two minutes.

America is a very good place to eat. And it's affordable to eat out here. Just ask the residents of Houston, who eat out 4.2 times per week.