18 April 2011

Apollo World

Currently pushing: I already tweeted and re-everythinged the heck out of both of these links but they need to be shared. A great article about teenage girl friendships, "My Rayannes," and a comprehensive breakdown of Rayanne's wardrobe and style by Tavi (Style Rookie). The fashion post is seriously epic and a must read for all MSCL fans. Oh and Emma Straub, the author of the My Rayannes article, has a book of stories out that I'm dying to read, "Other People We Married."

My godsister, Jessica, plays harp for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which is one of the Big Five and among the best in the country. Previously she played for the New York Opera (among many other places). Jessica's dad was my flute teacher and after he passed away, she became official family. I'm not sure how that works actually, I should ask if there's some sort of Chinese god-sibling certification process.

Jessica moved here from Beijing when she was thirteen and spent most of her high school years in Michigan, at the same arts high school that Jewel went to. I remember when we were young that doing something like bowling would be dangerous for Jessica, as her valuable hands could never be at risk. I guess I never conceived how much practice and playing she had to do, as when she was around us she was just hanging out like a regular person, as opposed to a superhuman musician. This interview with WGBH is the first one I've ever heard with her -- she talks about her background at the 15:55 minute mark -- and it's been awhile since I've actually heard her play. Go listen!

A few years ago I was reading forums and following along as fans discussed the auditions for the new Boston harpist. Jessica ended up winning the position, of course, and it was thrilling to hear all the great things that people were saying about her. "I know her!" Over the years, many of her music friends have stayed with us in San Diego. Violinists, pianists, flutists, oboists, all from overseas and studying at Juilliard or some other conservatory. Oh and Jessica is the cover girl on this month's Harp Column. My mom must be so proud.

Ever wondered about the process of finding a conductor? Check out these two Slate articles: The Elusive Maestro (2011) and The Semi-Conductor (2008).