Saturday, June 23, 2012

Finally, An Update!

It has been an amazing, if somewhat emotional, three months since I shared the news of my appointment at Vanderbilt.     As soon as I clicked 'publish' on the post I knew it would be a crazy few weeks, and I decided that I wouldn't try to update the blog any more until things calmed down and I had plenty of extra time.   I wanted to dedicate my time to family vacations we had scheduled, spending time with and saying goodbye to our friends, and savoring every last bit of my remaining time in the orchestra.    I honestly didn't think it would be this long until I had some extra time, but I'm able now to update you all on what has happened since then.   First, though, we have to jump back to the beginning of 2012.

At the time I accepted my new position at the Blair School of Music, I was at the end of one of the busiest periods of time I've ever experienced.    The first three months of 2012 looked like this:
- VPO Block with Gergiev
- Tour to Oman with Gergiev (big 1st trombone solo with 24-hrs notice when Ian Bousfield falls ill)
- Live Austria-wide radio broadcast with the Vienna Trombone Ensemble (buy their CD!!!!)
- Fly to the US with Kristi and Eli
- Masterclasses at Wheaton College, Illinois
- Masterclass at Roosevelt University, Chicago
- Solo recital/masterclass at Univ. of Wisconsin - Whitewater
- Return to Tennessee for family visit
- Solo recital/masterclass at Univ. of Southern Mississippi
- Masterclasses at Univ. of North Texas
- Concerto performance with North Texas Symphonic Band
- Audition for professorship at Vanderbilt University
- Fly to Vienna, leaving Kristi and Eli in the US
- VPO Block with Maazel (includes bass trumpet on "the Ring without Words")
- Tour with Maazel: 
          - Oslo
          - Stockholm
          - Helsinki
          - Aalborg
          - Copenhagen
          - New York City (Carnegie)
- Fly to Tennessee for family time and to pick up Kristi and Eli
- Return to Vienna

The New Year's Concert live broadcast in Austria

In Oslo, Norway.   My 40th country!

Now, on top of all this was my normal opera schedule (about 20 performances), and the ever-present back story of my decision to leave the orchestra.  I do not regret for one second the way things turned out, and I am totally happy and at peace with my decision to move to Nashville, but anyone would have to admit that any life/career decision of this magnitude carries with it significant stress and emotional weight.

I am not writing this so that everyone will feel sorry for me, or to sort of brag about how busy I was.   After all, every item on the list (with the possible exception of the trans-Atlantic flights) was very enjoyable, and I'm glad I did all of it.  I am writing this so that 'future me' can look back and remember this hectic yet wonderful season of my life, and also so that you can maybe understand why, at the end of all that, I needed a BREAK!!!

Thankfully, we had already planned a late-March family vacation to Spain and Portugal well before I even applied for the Vanderbilt job.   We decided last Fall to make traveling around Europe a greater priority in 2012, and our many trips have turned out to be a very nice farewell tour!   You can read more about Spain & Portugal at the Vienna Wilsons.

With Kristi & Eli in Granada, Spain
It was really nice to be able to take a couple weeks to relax, unwind, and reflect on the new direction our lives has taken.   I think it was good that we took some time to step away from all the craziness to truly absorb what had taken place and mentally prepare ourselves for what lay ahead.   It also helped cleanse my musical palate and clear my head from a work point of view, so that I could step right back into some great music in the month of April.   It was important to me that I perform well in my final months, especially since two of them were going to be as principal trombonist!   More on that in the next post.

I'll close out this post by saying a huge "Thank You" to all of you who messaged me with words of encouragement and support after my big announcement.   I was truly overwhelmed by the positive reception with which my post was met.    It seems it generated quite a bit of interest... the post had 1,200 views in the first 48 hours, and Back Row Perspectives was viewed well over 5,000 times in the month of March!!  

As I sit here in late June, having finished my final VPO concert in Vienna and only two months from flying to Nashville for good, I feel the exact same way I felt three months ago: sad to be leaving, but mostly just grateful for the time I've had here and excited for what the future will bring.  The moving company is coming to pick up our belongings on Monday, and next Thursday I will perform my 557th (and final) opera in the Wiener Staatsoper.   It has all come so very fast, but I have had musical and personal experiences in the past months that I will always treasure.    I'm just glad I have some time to jot them down now!   Stay tuned.

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