Mahler at the Houston Ballet, returning to Schlossberg

We’re just starting the 2011-2012 season at the Wortham Center with the Houston Ballet and the Houston Grand Opera. Tonight we’ll open with a very unusual ballet piece, Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth). Based on Japanese poems, it’s basically a symphony with tenor and alto soloists. Mahler wrote this piece after the death of his daughter Maria in 1907, and after being diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. It’s an absolute great piece of music, but very, very seldom done as a ballet, so it’ll be interesting to see how the audience react!

I’ll realize I haven’t been writing any blogs for over a year, hopefully I’ll do better in the future!
Anyway, I’ve been busy playing and teaching. A few highlights from the past twelve months was Peter Grimes and Dead Man Walking with the HGO, playing with my dixie-band The Hot Vikings at Cezanne jazz club in February the Texas Southern University Jazz Festival where Andre Hayward and myself did our two-trombone line-up, a clinic and jazz concert at Baylor University in March, going to Sweden in April to play with the Royal Opera for a few weeks, playing the Broadway production of Chicago in June, and finally Tom Walker’s Gospel Train Big Band in August.

I felt pretty worn out during the summer, and felt that I needed to get back to basics about my playing. Then I happened to dig up a copy of Daily Drills and Technical Studies by Max Schlossberg. I bought this book way back in college, but never really used it, until now. Well, I’m a convert! It’s a great way of getting your chops together. I do about an hour each day out of the different chapters, and my big regret now is that I should have practiced this 20 years ago! Highly recommended.

Till next time, keep swinging!