Friday, March 19, 2010

UMKC!

Well, my next audition was at KU, but I will skip that for the moment to talk about UMKC.  I almost didn't make the audition because I got lost in Kansas City...how embarrassing.  But, thanks to my brother, I was able to get directions and make it to the College of Music at UMKC.  I was very excited to sing that day.  I did not have a positive audition at KU and the Michael Jordan mentality was coming out, I was angry, and this was my last audition of my current run - of which I was very anxious for anyway.  I was very prepared to go in there and give it my all.  So, in short, thanks to the water I forgot in my car that lead me to over produce phlegm, which gave a little extra weight in the voice, I gave a great (yet loud) performance.  I gave it my all, as far as the acting went, and I had nothing to lose.  My high notes were entirely free, and very full...awkwardly so because of the phlegm, yet I enjoyed every minute of it.  The audition was very professional, not too much personal interaction.  I started with "Ich trage meine Minne" - killed the high notes, I might add - then they chose "Questa o quella" - a very difficult Verdi aria, which I sang ok - the high note (B flat) was decent, but the very last A flat was gorgeous, and I held it extra long, for showing-off's sake, and finally they wanted to hear half of a difficult Mozart aria that I offered called "Dies Bildniss".  I think they intended for me to just sing the beginning, but I was in MJ mode and I was singing my high notes well, so I asked to sing the very end - the most difficult part - and I just left it all on the table.  Singing is very much a sport to me; you must be very athletic to perform some of the sounds that we have to create, and still be very agile and delicate; it's a very difficult thing to do but it's exhilarating.  I was very happy with how the audition went, and honestly, it was a marker for what was to come.  At that time I was suffering difficult allergy problems that I was unaware of.  Once I figured out that I was having a large allergy problem and got it fixed, I was able to sing with some depth of which I haven't had before.  I will talk about some of my next events in upcoming posts such as my KU audition, NATSAA competition, and KSU's spring opera.  Please come see me in concert in March, April, and May if I am in your area.

BRYAN'S MARCH SCHEDULE

March 23 - KSU Choir Concert - St. Thomas Moore Church - Manhattan, KS 7:30pm
March 27 - I'll be presenting a MASTERCLASS - Kansas Wesleyan University - 2-5pm
March 28 - IN CONCERT - Family Recital Series - University United Methodist Church - Salina, KS 2pm (a concert mostly of art song in English, Italian, German, French, and Spanish - with selected opera and oratorio arias)

BRYAN'S APRIL/MAY SCHEDULE
I will get the specific date, time, location for all these in the next few days

Easter Services - UUMC - Salina, KS
Tenor Soloist - MESSIAH by Handel - Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale
KSU Choir Tour
Schubert  Mass in G and Bernstein Chichester Psalms with KSU Orchestra
Master's Voice Recital
Solo Concert of various pieces by J. S. Bach
Master's Conducting Recital
Singing the National Anthem at my Graduation

P.S. I have just heard the news with in the last hour, and I quote: 

Dear Bryan,

Congratulations! You have been admitted to the Doctoral of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The application pool was highly competitive this year, and we are very pleased to invite you to join us for the Fall 2010 semester.

Friday, March 5, 2010

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS AUDITIONS

So, early in February I set out to another audition at the University of North Texas.  They have a very fine music school and several of the professors here at K-State received degrees from UNT, so there was a lot of history I was bringing along with me.  Dusti was able to go with me, which we are not able to do that often, but we drove from Manhattan, KS to Denton, TX (about 7 hours) and found a hotel to spend the night.  The next morning, I was trying to recover from the remnants of a head cold I had early in the week, so I was drinking hot water from the coffee pot, to tame the phlegm.  We drove to the campus which wasn't too much to look at, but it was one of those cases that "you can't judge a book by its cover" kind of thing.

When I got to the College of Music, they were having an entire day of undergraduate and graduate auditions.  I didn't really have trouble finding a practice room because they have an entire building of just practice rooms.  I was able to walk through the building and look around before my audition, and I lucked out this time, the audition was in a very live room, which was fun to sing in for once.  It appeared as if most of the voice faculty was there, and luckily when I began my audition, I didn't have too much problem from my cold that I had been suffering from earlier in the week.  I began with a Strauss lied and they chose one of my favorite pieces "To Joy" by Finzi and they chose "En fermant les yeux" by Massenet.  I sang pretty well, very emotive, which I feel went over well, but I was very pleased of how it went.

Afterward, my accompanist, Stephen Dubberly, who is the Opera Music Director at UNT, made some very nice comments to me.  He enjoyed my performance as did several of the other professors who made note of some of the faculty at K-State that they know.  Among them was Richard Croft, who is one of the most famous tenors in all the world.  He made quick note of several technical things that I was doing wrong, but he invited me to come back to have a few lessons, with which he could show me what he was talking about.  That was extremely generous, because I know he is very busy, moving around all over the world, so even though he was very up-front (not unlike Bobby Knight) I was very happy to have gotten that response.

Then Stephen Dubberly asked what I had next on my schedule (which was nothing) and he wanted to give me a tour.  Well, we went to their new performing arts center, and it was incredible.  They had a theater specifically for Opera performances, where we went in and looked and talked to people while they were setting up for their Opera Production.  Then we went to their Concert Hall, which was amazing as well, where the orchestra was practicing Mahler's 1st Symphony - Dudamel made his debut at LA Phil with Mahler 1, and I loved it!  We were able to talk about many things, and I was asking so many questions; I very much appreciate the time he spent - it was nice that a school was trying to sell itself to me.  That is what I am used to here at K-State, and I very much appreciated it rather than the more professional rigor I felt at other auditions.  He even had a lot to say about K-State's spring Opera, the rarely performed new Opera by Pasatieri called "Hotel Casablanca" - NOW SHOWING AT K-STATE...GET TICKETS AT THE MCCAIN BOX OFFICE (shameless plug).  I am playing the role of Charles.

Anyway, afterward, Mr. Dubberly dropped me off at the Union where I met Dusti and we then drove to Wichita to eat with their family and then to Salina that evening.  It is tough having very long business trips, but it is worth it especially to feel accomplished.  In order to get through all the rejections, you have to hold on to what you love, and keep the expectation high for yourself.  I am always proud of what I do, even if it doesn't go well, it takes a lot of guts and nerves, but as long as you literally try your best, it is extremely gratifying. Next up: The University of Kansas.