Live music performances death. 

Perfect recordings of the great masterpieces of the past, loud and fake sound images created by the amplification, YouTube culture and Internet accessibility – all hopeless and fatal instruments of the modern times, which kill live classical music performances. There is no way around this reality, it’s a slow, tumultuous death for the classical music and the classical musicians out there. 

People are obsessed with speed, convenience, comfort. 

The very nature of getting things done faster, speeding up one’s life and “falsely” believeing that we are somehow more productive and more complete because we can access a PDF file from the opposite side of the planet is an empty and never ending projection of our desires to be successful in life. While getting things done faster and in a larger amount is impressive and, no doubt, a very satisfying idea, the negative effects of going fast and faster all the time are depriving us from enjoying a moment and appreciating the stillness and quietness of the silence. 

Going to a classical music concert is not for everyone and certainly isn’t easy to live through for a fast moving Culture of the modern days. Enjoying a moment, embracing the eternity of a minute of ones time, celebrating the depth of each movement, each phrase, each and every one of the tension-and-release moments – this is a priceless experience of a live classical music performance. 

A celebration of life through the depth and a truly endless spectrum of emotions of classical music is an experience of a lifetime or of an evening which enriches your everyday fast and furious life style with the warmth and beauty, both of which are lacking from so many people’s lives nowadays. 

Go to a live classical music performance. Embrace the new experience. Dive into the world of beauty and magic of the human emotions all expressed with the skills of the performers through the sounds of a composition. Live the moment endlessly and the emptiness of one’s existence shall be forever eradicated by the roots. Happiness is what makes listening to a live classical music concert a reality. Each and every live performance (even of a piece you’ve heard before) is unique, never to be repeated again and with the special magical qualities attached to it. Never to be missed. Always to be enjoyed. 

Straight thoughts.

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It’s been fourteen years since my first orchestral audition. A long road indeed. A road full of regrets, stress, hard practicing and many miles traveled. Happiness doesn’t rent an apartment in the Orchestral Audition town. They are not exactly friends.

Psychological pressure intertwined with the exhausting preparation and cooked with the many imperfect executions of basically the same orchestral excerpts – this is an orchestral audition in a nutshell. There is also a negative side to it…

Taking an audition is not for everyone. Even if you are a great master of your instrument and a superb musician. The task of winning an orchestral job lies through many “rows of barbed wire”. Everyone is “bleeding” in the end, the strongest one(S) are standing victorious. You might be a great audition taker and can NOT do the job you are auditioning for (weather it’s because of the lack of experience or because you can’t learn the ins and outs of the job). Or you might be a lousy auditioner but once in the orchestra, the job is yours – you are the best fit for a position. Either way you have to go through the tests and trials – a very often too hard and too demanding physically and/or psychologically process. Just like I’ve said – it’s not for everyone.

The break pedal is gently pressed down, which has allowed for the car to slowly cruise to a stop at an intersection.

Winning an orchestral audition is just like playing a lottery – the only way to win is to buy a lottery ticket and pick the right numbers.

You “buy a lottery ticket” by applying and preparing for an audition. The knowledge of the orchestral repertoire, the countless hours one spends learning and polishing the given orchestral excerpts and the financial spendings – all bring lots of stress, and disappointment in the end. However there’s no fairer process one must undergo in order to have a chance to be considered for a position.

In the end it is the most stable, solid players who are given a chance of a probation year – a year or two years of a trial period during which a player is tested in the orchestral environment. If all of the required aspects of the job has been met by the end of the trial period, the tenure crowns the player’s contract and everyone gets drunk.

There is no greater joy than sitting in the middle of a well tuned orchestra, where all and every player dedicate their lives to making something beautiful and timeless. Putting aside egos, striving towards the highest standards of the live performances, constantly adjusting to the whims of a conductor or a soloist – this is what all of the pain and stress and frustration are resulting in if you manage to stand at the end of an audition process.

Being an orchestral musician is an elite job denied to many.

The magic of sound.

Being a magician of sound is a privilege denied to many. The flute sound is the closest to the most beautiful and powerful sounds out there – the human voice. We fluters don’t use any mouthpieces or reeds to help us to produce the sound. It’s all the air…

The air is traveling in and out of your lungs for the sole purpose to create the magic of sound. In the flute world the air is properly inhaled to fill out the lungs to their capacity before it is formed, with the help of the abdominal muscles, into a powerful and warm stream which, exiting the body through the properly formed lips, gets split by the flute lip plate edge roughly at a 60/40 ratio (60% of the air entering the flute body).

Let the magic begin and never end!

The air column in the flute body starts moving and vibrating by the entering air stream and with the help of the properly closed and opened keys on the instrument the length of the air column gets changed producing the tones of different beauty and range.

A world famous flutist has once summarized the above process into: “Playing the flute is easy – you gotta blow into the tube and push the right keys at the right time”.

The magic of sound is the way the souls speak to each other without words. If after a  performance there is at least one soul out there who has been touched and embezzled in the world of such wonderful conversation without words, I consider my job a success. Even though this is very rare these days, there are concerts which are worth living for.

Life is worth living for when you witness such magic every once in a while and hopefully help others to be submerged into the beautiful world of music!

Aside

That I believe!

“Zoom out” they say. Look at it from a bigger perspective. Imagine what could possibly be the worst case scenario and then analyze how realistic this would be.

Done and done. Still looks cloudy and scary.

The worst part of the event which has happened on November 8 was not the outcome of the presidential elections. It was not the fact that in order to get a decent job you must have a few years of experience. Yet you can run (and win) for the president of the United States with no experience. It was certainly not the nastiness and bigotry and lies of the pre-election year and a half.

Nope. All of that is, unfortunately, a part of the process.

The saddest part of that is the fact and evidence the presidential election has shone light on that racism exists, lies prevail, hatred among fellow human-beings is ever present and the “goal justifies the means” ideology has no limits in how low it can go.

Not that the above mentioned human traits have not existed before the election process. If anything I am actually grateful to the last year and a half for exposing the dirt under the nails. Shining light on the wounds shall heal them in due time.

That I believe!

The troubling…

The hope is still there. The future is very scary and troubling.

2016 hasn’t turned out to be a great year yet. Everything that has happened so far has sadly culminated in the election of the rather pathetic representation of the humanity of the most powerful country in the world.

He is not my president. He can not be unless he will prove me dead wrong on so many issues  – respect for minorities and women, fighting the rasism with everything he’s got, promoting peace and stability in the world and using his brains not his hormones (something no one has witnessed as of yet) to be a respectful president of the US. None of the above mentioned concerns have seen the light of hope. Yet.

I’ve came to America as a student one year before 9/11. I’ve since became a US citizen. I was always envy of the progress and great achievements of the US growing up in Russia. Despite the blooming prejudice against America in Russia, I’ve always been fascinated and drawn towards this country. Needless to mention that I was very excited, not without a slight hesitation (losing my Russian girlfriend was the biggest drawback 🙂 and full of hope when my plans to move to America have started taking shape.

My first few American years have been fully dedicated to studying and graduating. There was no time or interest in politics. In fact I was very prejudous myself being freshly from the country where being prejudous was a sign of strength and power. I was prejudous of African-Americans, of gays and all others who didn’t fit into my very limited understanding of what a society should and shouldn’t be.

That was the most shameful and sad period of my adult life – hands down.

Since then my life has changed for the better in more ways than I can recall. The best of which is my wife and my best friend in the whole universe, who I’ve met back in college. Thanks to her I’ve learned how to love life, how to respect all human-beings, how to see good in everything and everyone and how to be help in any way I can to those in need and despair. I got extremely lucky – I’ve found a beautiful woman who has excepted me as I am and made me better in so many ways.

To be continued….