up, up, and away

Currently open on my laptop (on my lap, in the train):

  • a document in which I’m cutting apart W. H. Auden’s “In Sickness and in Health”
  • Spotify with Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé
  • VLC with an extended guitar improvisation, some videos of me singing Schubert, and Battlestar Galactica
  • various browser tabs: lots related to web design, email, Facebook, Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and a very dark nihilist perspective on American politics

This–a summary of what I’m consuming and thinking about and rearranging–seems as good a jumping-off point for a blog as any. I’m done pretending that the version of me presented on my website, or on Facebook, or in any given rehearsal on any given day, is the full story. There’s a lot of pressure in the arts to specialize, to sell only the strongest aspect of yourself to the highest bidder. I’ve always resisted that. I am many things: a soprano, a writer, a chamber musician, an opera singer, a conductor, a voce femminile, a maker, a session and ensemble singer, a reader, an overly-sensitive empathizer, a geek, a mix-tape lover, a cook, a friend, a partner, a sister, an observer, a knitter/sewer/textile nerd, a hobby runner/swimmer/yogi, a wanderer, a homebody, a sucker for absurdist humor, a willing fumbler in languages, an introvert, an extrovert; someone who tries not to attract attention and someone who can focus hundreds of people’s attention at once; a voice, a face, a body, a mind, and a mirror of others’ voices and minds.

So. The rest of my professional website is in third person and sticks to the facts, but I’m finally starting a section where I can speak to you directly. People I meet while working are often curious about what this strange job is really like. The conversation varies, but usually my first response is that it’s not as glamorous as it looks. The hours largely consist of travel, studying, thinking, emails, and trying to find a good practice rhythm. The visible parts, the beautiful halls and the dresses and the stopping time with music, are a bonus. I sometimes discount the times between, the alone hours, like now: I’m in a train just outside of Schiphol airport, between Zaandam (meeting) and Rotterdam (home, work, memorization, practice, and the last episode of Sherlock). But it’s these times when, if I’m mindful, I can catch my whole self in the act of living. I’ll try to share these and other moments here.