7:00 AM at Salt Lake International Airport. I’m waiting to board a flight to Los Angeles, where I connect to Tokyo, where I join the Boston Symphony en route to Nagoya, Japan. There we begin a ten-day tour, performing six concerts in four cities.
The past week has been a whirlwind! First, we put the final editing touches on my new audiobook, Danse Macabre, which is now available for preorder and will very soon be available both as a download and CD set. You can hear an audio sample for this unique audiobook, which features music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Saint-Säens woven seamlessly into sensational reading by Jim Frangione, by going to Alison Larkin Presents.
Thursday, October 26, was a very special day. Jim Bradley, owner of the snazzy 15th Street Gallery in Salt Lake City, graciously provided his space for a fabulous fund-raising event for Citizens Climate Lobby-Salt Lake City. We had a packed house for a pre-Halloween presentation I gave of my seasonally appropriate murder mysteries, Playing with Fire, Spring Break, and Devil’s Trill and Danse Macabre audiobooks, performing music by Tartini, Saint-Säens, and Vivaldi along with readings. Combined with a delectable reception catered by The Avenues Bistro on Third, we raised thousands of dollars in donations and book sales (provided by The King’s English Bookshop) for student scholarships, enabling them to attend regional and national conferences where they learn firsthand how to engage actively in the democratic process in a nonpartisan, respectful way.
Finally, on Sunday, October 29, I had the great pleasure of performing a program of great chamber music on the Faculty Showcase series at Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah School of Music with my colleagues Vedrana Subotic, piano; Julie Edwards, viola; and John Eckstein, cello. We had a large and enthusiastic turnout for Brahms sublime B Major Trio and fiery G Minor Quartet.
Yesterday I packed! I’m actually looking forward to the long flight to Japan because I get to study scores undisturbed for the annual Vivaldi by Candlelight concert I’m conducting on December 9. It’s a wonderful holiday season fund-raising event for the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, which fosters international relations “one handshake at a time.” In addition to Vivaldi’s music, we’re performing some wonderful music by lesser known but equally accomplished composers: Heinrich Biber, Pietro Castrucci, Alessandro Stradella, and Giuseppe Brescianello.
And then, of course, is the BSO tour itself! We always have wonderful audiences in Japan and I expect this tour will be no exception, especially with Maestro Andris Nelsons on the podium. The major works are Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (my favorite Mahler symphony!), Rachmaninov Second, and Shostakovich Eleventh. The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is a pretty major work to, and with Gil Shaham as the soloist, it will no doubt be an audience favorite.
Between the concerts and the sushi, I’m looking forward to a very enjoyable Japan adventure. For the moment, I need a cup of coffee.