Celebrating in San Diego • Feb 26 – 29

Our West Coast visit culminated in a weekend in San Diego celebrating a 95th birthday.

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Charlie and I took Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner along the beautiful southern coast.

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The Back Story: My Music Papa

The musical part of my childhood really began when I was 9, and my family moved to Western North Carolina. As a 4th grader, I entered a excellent public school music program in Haywood County. Later after beginning flute in a 7th grade band program, I was directed to Patti Adams Atwood, a fantastic flutist and artist and my first serious teacher. Fast forward a few more years, and Patti encouraged me to go north to study with William Hebert.

In Mr. Hebert's Studio
In Mr. Hebert’s Studio

Hired in his 20’s by George Szell, William Hebert was the piccolo player in the Cleveland Orchestra for 41 years. He also is a renowned pedagogue and quite simply, a wonderful person. I had the good fortune to study with Mr. Hebert for four years in the Conservatory of Baldwin-Wallace College.

My Music Papa and me
My Music Papa and me

I have always kept up with my “Music Papa,” and over the years, I have had the privilege of becoming friends with his wife, Olive, and their seven children.

After 60 years in Cleveland, Bill and Oli moved to San Diego. (Most of their kids live in California. Those Cleveland winters are hard!)

Bill is 93 now. I have had the pleasure and joy of attending both Bill and Oli’s 90th birthday parties as well as several others. I visit them whenever I possibly can and invariable laugh nonstop for days. I feel blessed to be associated with this family!

This year, we celebrated Oli’s 95th. This lady does not miss a beat – even being the wife and mother of professional musicians!

So, the next time you hear a recording of George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, you will know who that piccolo player dancing on the top is!

Listen as their son, Marty, and I play for Olive’s 90th party in 2011.

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Cheers to Olive, the magnificent matriarch

 

We flew back to Asheville on February 29

Music and Art in Los Angeles • Feb 22 – 26

Charlie and I flew on to LAX to visit classical guitarist Satik Andriassian and composer/bassist John Kennedy. John, Satik and I met as undergraduate music students at Baldwin-Wallace College/Conservatory in Cleveland in the 1980’s. John’s a Cleveland native. Satik is Armenian and was raised in Tehran. She came to the US to study before the Shah of Iran was ousted, and eventually the rest of her family followed.

Family
Satik and John with their children, Tadeh and Taleen

John is now a professor at Cal State LA. Satik teaches classical guitar there and is a librarian at UCLA. They invited me to speak with their composition and guitar students at CSU-LA, which has the most culturally diverse student body in the California State University system.

CalSFlyerI really enjoyed talking with the students about chamber music, art entrepreneurship and contemporary music from the perspective of a performer and producer.

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Amazing Art 

Another highlight of our time in LA was visiting the gorgeous hilltop Getty Museum and The Broad, which just opened last fall. While their holdings are quite different, The Getty is mostly pre-1990 works, while The Broad (sounds like the vowels in “Toad” not those in “Odd”) is only modern art, we found both exhilarating.

Van Gogh's Irises at the Getty
Van Gogh’s Irises at The Getty

And both museums are free admission. What a generous gift these benefactors have given the world!

The brand new Broad Museum
The brand new Broad Museum in downtown LA

 

Yayoi Kusama’s Dazzling Cosmic Light Exhibition
Yayoi Kusama’s Dazzling Cosmic Light Exhibition

 

BIG at The Broad
BIG at The Broad

 

Disney Hall by Frank Gretry Titanium Home of the LA Philharmonia
Disney Hall by Frank Gretry
Titanium Home of the LA Philharmonic

 

Yet another new dog friend, dear, giant Kibo
Charlie with our new dog friend, giant Kibo Kennedy

 

And then it was time to go to San Diego…

Back to the Bay Area • Feb 10 – 22

I left San Francisco to move to North Carolina in 1997. Part of my heart will always ache for the beauty of Northern California. This was my first trip back to the Bay Area in 4 years.

The back side of Mount Tamalpais, San Anselmo CA
View of Mount Tamalpais from San Anselmo

My daughter, Charlie, flew from Asheville, we met at SFO and took transit to Marin County to visit Matt and Lucia Eakle. A fantastic jazz flutist and remarkably versatile player, Matt Eakle, is one of my all-time favorite musicians. He plays all genres of music amazingly. Matt has been the flutist for the David Grisman Quintet for over 25 years.

Tim Day and Matt Eackle
Tim Day and Matt Eakle

Tim Day, San Francisco Symphony principal flutist and my graduate school teacher, came for one of Lucia’s delicious meals on Saturday. I admire these two tremendously as dynamo colleagues but also for the zest they bring to their music. Sadly it seems that many professionals become jaded as the years go by, but these two have never lost their passion and love for music-making. What a joy it was to spend time with them! Here Matt is rapt as Tim explains making a BIG, RESONANT SOUND!

And of course, Charlie and I always feel more at home wherever there is a dog!

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Matt and Lucia’s Sweety, Rufus

On Sunday morning, I joined my friend, John Karl Hirten, composer/organist and music director of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere. We performed his stellar work, “Tempted by Transfiguration” for choir, flute and organ…and we nailed it!

With Composer and organist, John Karl Hirten
with John Hirten

 

Then on to the East Bay and the City…

Backyard in Oakland
Backyard in Oakland
Ferry Terminal and San Francisco Bay
Ferry Terminal and San Francisco Bay

I caught up with so many dear friends that I had not seen in years including flûtiste extraordinaire, Elizabeth Baptista Gaston. Elizabeth was the guest artist for Keowee Chamber Music Festival in 2007. She and I actually didn’t know each other when I lived in California; we met years later when she purchased an Abell Flute. Elizabeth now owns two, and she is a big champion of Chris’ work.

Friend and flutist Elizabeth Gaston with Charlie Abell
Elizabeth with Charlie

I also reconnected with Karen van Dyke, who directs the Stanford University Flute Ensemble and Northern California Flute Camp, as well as amazing oboists Andrea Plesnarski and Tom Nugent, who play with Pan Harmonia’s California cousin organization, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

Year of the Monkey

We enjoyed the tail end of the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco and even saw them putting the dragon away in the Embarcadero. It takes a lot of people to carry that dragon!

 

And then we were off to LA…

Venturing Out • Feb 3 – 10

I decided awhile back – probably two years ago, that I needed a break from producing concerts and running the day-to-day affairs of Pan Harmonia. Although it’s a small company, there are always so many details to attend to in order to keep the business humming. With the blessings of my husband, Chris Abell, and my project manager, Rosalind Buda, I decided to take a semester break, a sabbatical, to refresh and reflect. It would also be an opportunity to have one more grand trip with my daughter, who had just turned 16.

Westward I go
Westward I go


First stop – Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit my dear friend, cellist Elizabeth Austin, with whom I started this organization, originally called Keowee Chamber Music, in 1999

Winter blue skies of New Mexico
Winter blue skies of New Mexico

I spent a week with Liz and her family: husband Eric, children, Maggie, 19, and Gavin, 17, Liz’s 89-year old dad, Bernie Goodpaster, aka “Goody,” and their 2 sweet dogs, Stella and Beau. Happy days of laughter and wine, yoga and hikes, family time and elder care ensued.

A particularly uplifting experience was the Saturday train ride up to Santa Fe, where among other things, we visited the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.

IMG_1551This was my second visit to this museum. This time, there weren’t actually many of her paintings being exhibited, but rather B & W photos of O’Keefe taken through the years, which were fascinating.

But what I really found compelling were her paints and brushes on display. To think that she had touched, shaped and used these items so intimately during the many years she had created, was very inspiring and moving!

Liz and I did share music that week with a little concert at Goody’s adult day center.
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We played Bach and Handel…

We played Bach and Handel.

and had a Sing-Along.

And had a Sing-Along

My journey continued very early on February 10, as I headed to California to meet my daughter.

Sunrise over Utah
Sunrise over Utah

• • • • •
I am so very grateful to have had this week with the Austins and especially the time with Goody. Several days after I left, Goody suffered a stroke. It was a very challenging Spring for all of them. Bernard Goodpaster passed away June 5, 2016. RIP, dear friend.