The Dublin International Game Music Festival

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Leaning Bassoon of Pittsburgh

It has been a touring whirlwind from Toronto to NYC, Dallas, Philly, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Boston, Chicago, San Antonio, Calgary... and at this very moment I'm on a plane to NYC for our performance at the Madison Square Garden Theater (very excited!). I haven't had a moment to keep up with the blog but I'm going to give some of the highlight so far including some very funny moments.


(All of the photography in this entry is by brilliant photographic artist, Derek Brad; You can check out his work here:

Working with Pittsburgh Symphony was a magnificent experience that I would love to repeat as often as possible over this lifetime and the next few. We gave two performances of The Symphony of the Goddesses together - at The Mann Centre in Philadelphia and the orchestra's home of Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh.

Performing at The Mann and meeting the team there was unforgettable and ended in a bucket of champagne and a beautiful card in my dressing room after the performance - never a bad thing! Thanks to all at The Mann for making us feel so welcome and comfortable - you guys really are a class act.

Thank you so much in particular to Catherine Cahill, Nancy Newman and Ed Kasses.

On stage at The Mann Center with the Pittsburgh Symphony
Most Memorable Moment (besides the brilliance of the brass - for God's sakes don't tell them...):
Photo of the Mann Center by Photographer extraordinaire, Derek Brad
One of the movements of the symphony has "drunken solo" written in the bassoon part for a particularly showy solo and the consensus - between bassoonist David Soggs and I - after the first performance was that although slurred and stumbling, the level of bassoonic innebriation hadn't quite reached the depths I had observed on a wet St. Paddy's Day in Dublin.

When that over-21s moment came in our second performance - this time at the PSO's home in the opulent Heinz Hall - Mr. Soggs dug into the depths of something like musical method acting and brought the druken solo to a whole new level of intoxication.

I looked up from the podium to give David his cue to find a cross-eyed "bowsie" (a Dublin term - you can probably guess...), his spectacles askew on his face and the bassoon held at an angle that made the clarinets extremely nervous.

I hardly think it proper concert etiquette for the conductor to get a "fit of giggles" on the podium (very manly and maestro-like you know), but the bold Mr. Soggs set me up you see...

Look away!: spoiler alert!: it's the nigh mythological Wind Waker
What is it about bassoonists? It must be all of those brain-chemistry-altering ostinatos...

Ok, perhaps I am a little partial - the bassoon being one of my favorite instruments; "Le Sacre" being no.1 on my desert island discs (I know there are lots of great recordings but Markevich's are my favorites).

Thanks to David Soggs for bringing his brilliance to our performance and not being afraid to "go there", foregoing convention for the theatre in the performance and - making me laugh!

Thanks to that kind and enthusiastic usher at Heinz Hall who took care of me when I was exhausted and wanted me to come back and perform again - very sweet...

Thanks to the musicians and staff of the PSO and chorus for a memorable and ahem... intoxicating experience.

With the PSO
Members of the PSO Chorus
Making shadow puppets on the screen... ok maybe not...
Our loyal and beloved on the lawn at The Mann


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