2012 has been a rich and very busy year for the ASQ. As we have completed Fall ’12 semester juries for our students at SFSU and in the Morrison Chamber Music Center, we realize that apart from getting the grades in, (no disasters, some lovely successes and only a couple of incompletes), we have only the much anticipated recording later this week of Cindy Cox’s new and gorgeous “Patagón” to complete before we take a short and very welcome respite for the winter holidays.
We think back over another year of sustained and intense travels and activities but perhaps it’s the gift of our peripatetic residency work with young students that recharges our spirits when we might otherwise keel over from fatigue. 2012 included many such restorative highlights with visits to Allegheny College in Meadville, PA., St Lawrence University, in Canton and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, (both upstate NY) Baruch College in NYC (twice) and even to Panama City where we traveled perhaps farthest for the shortest period of time. It was also in Panama where we heard the youngest talented children travel farthest to play for us – what a delight!
We don’t have to travel so far from home however to engage with young and appreciative students in the classroom. Thanks to more than 20 years as “Ensemble in Residence” with San Francisco Performances, the ASQ is always proud to spend time in the classrooms of the San Francisco Unified School District where we are able to work not only with gifted emerging musicians, but also with high schoolers in humanities and social studies classes, this year in particular at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts and Lowell High School. This in addition to another great capacity crowd for a “Words and Music” session at the Mission District’s Capp Street Community Music Center. We were also delighted to work in the Windsor school district in collaboration with Santa Rosa Junior College’s Community Outreach and at several distinguished schools in Millbrae, Burlingame and San Mateo in collaboration with Music at Kohl Mansion.
On the other end of the spectrum, we were thrilled to host the Chamber Musicians of Northern California once more on our home campus here at SFSU. As they do at least three times annually, 150 or so extremely gifted adult amateurs gather for an intense weekend of dedicated chamber music making. They toil from morning till night on assigned repertoire and for their pains, they’re coached and coaxed within an inch of their lives toward concert presentations of some astounding and audacious performances. At one point, everyone takes a break and the faculty coaches take a turn to perform for these marvelous musicians. This is when we will routinely tell them to “do as we say, not as we do.”
Amidst so much other far-flung touring and recording this year (a compendium of Bartok and Kodaly quartets as well as Jake Heggie’s breathtakingly beautiful “Into the Fire” written with Gene Sheer for the ASQ and Joyce DiDonato for our 30th anniversary season, both to release in Spring 2013), we are always thankful and thrilled to return home to our wonderful students and colleagues at SFState and to our warm and ever welcoming hometown audiences here in the Bay Area. After the unspeakably tragic and epic carnage recently visited on Newtown CT. last week, what a privilege it is to find ourselves safe and home with our families and kids for the holidays. We do not take this for grated.
We have assembled a small collage of photographs reminding us of some memorable performances in masterclasses, some terrific moments with new friends and old, and always, the knowledge that our work is appreciated.