Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quarter-millionth Reader, Doctoral Comps, & Big Events

I have been away for awhile and I am excited to be back writing my blog.  Don't worry, I was doing something somewhat worthwhile - completing my testing for my Doctorate!  And now is my time to catch everyone up on what I've been up to.

First, I have to announce a solo recital of mine:

December 5, 2012 - 7:30 PM Grant Recital Hall - UMKC
Bryan Pinkall's Doctoral Solo Recital
Natalia Rivera, piano and Kelley Tracz, oboe

On this Island by Britten
Ten Blake Songs by Vaughan Williams
Four Dickinson Songs by Hoiby 

Other things that I'm looking out for:
  1. Grammy Nominee Announcement Dec. 5 - The Kansas City Chorale has been nominated and has won several Grammy's before...fingers crossed!
  2. Opera "How the Camel Got Its Hump" World-Premiere - look for announcement on this very soon, but it will be a children's opera here in Kansas City based on the Rudyard Kipling story
  3. Possible trip to Miami...
  4. Graduate and get a decent job that's worthy of the time and work I put into things!!
To explain my Doctoral Comprehensive Exams, I need you to imagine as if you were required to conduct ten operas over one month.  If that's not the most obscure part, you also won't find out what the operas are until opening night.  Whether you have studied music or not, you would first need to figure out some method of frantically waving your arms so you don't look completely incompetent.  And of course, you would try to study every possible opera that you could in case you were given one of them.  Essentially, it is an impossible task to prepare for.  In a way, however much less dramatic, my exams were like this.

I had ten tests over one month: 
  1. two essays on German Lieder that I had the entire month to complete
  2. a listening exam that played 9 random pieces of recorded music spanning the entirety of music history (they were not incredibly famous pieces either) - I had to give the composer, genre, and year that it was composed; I was scared of this test the most! - 3 hours to complete
  3. a theory exam comparing two pieces of music (again from any point in music history) that I was given at the time of the exam - 3 hours to complete
  4. a theory/history exam lasting an entire weekend from 9 AM on Friday - 9 AM on Monday in which I was required to write a scholarly essay on a random subject that I received at the time of the tests
  5. three essays over composers - 2 hours to complete
  6. two more essays over composers - 2 hours to complete
  7. two essays on my profession in the modern world - 2 hours to complete
  8. create a four-year study/performance plan for a hypothetical student - in-studio project
  9. an IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and translation test covering French, German, Italian, and English arias - 2 hours to complete
  10. two essays concerning specific performance practices - 4 hours to complete


As you can see, it's a lot, but it was nice that they were timed, or else I could have spent an eternity on some of the topics.  In the meantime I also did many other things. I performed several concerts with the Kansas City Chorale, which in my unbiased opinion is absolutely beautiful!  I performed as a soloist in Beethoven's Mass in C with the Village Orchestra, and I was a soloist in a Bach's "Wachet auf" Cantata with the Conservatory.  I also performed at an incredible gala event at the Kauffman Center featuring many sensational performers - it actually was one of the highest quality concerts that I have ever been a part of.  I was able to work with Pulitzer Prize-winner John Corigliano.  Yesterday, I finished a great concert series with the Te Deum Chamber Ensemble, one of the several choirs that I have been a part of.

And that's not even the end of it!  I completely was consumed with my company the Kansas City Vocal Institute, the election, college football, the MLB playoffs, and soccer.  For all those who think that is too much, you're right.  Fortunately, my wife has been a great help and certainly deserved less crankiness on my part, but Hanukkah, Christmas, her birthday, and New Year's are all coming up - plenty of presents await!

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That leads me to another very important topic - every year I advertise the Best Operatic Holiday Gifts, so look out next Monday for my list!


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Sometime on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Bryan Pinkall's World of Opera will record its 250,000th reader!  I began this blog to record my journey into a music career.  I have written about the struggles and successes in finding a school to study opera, auditioning for opera companies, learning many opera roles, and the many other music related things that I have participated in.  I cannot believe the constant emails from readers, the occasional perks of touting my favorite things and groups, and I unfortunately I still receive hate mail from Susan Boyle fans, but I am thankful for you too!  Thank you to everyone who reads this - you have given me your time and support, grazie mille!!!!!

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