Monday, April 13, 2009

Change is in the Air

I’ve certainly hit a nerve with my post on “no-hire” auditions - it’s produced more comments and traffic here and at Jason Heath’s site than anything I’ve written in some time. I’ve even gotten attention from some big-time symphony bloggers, such as my former Peabody classmate Charles Noble, former ICSOM Chairperson and Milwaukee Principal Violist Robert Levine and arts consultant Drew McManus. While I crave traffic and links as much as the next itinerant bass blogger, don’t expect lots more posts on this topic. PBDB is part of my Peabody life, and I plan to keep most posts here on topics that connect to events at school and on my own bass teaching.

We’re in a state of change in the Peabody bass department on a number of levels. In January, my teaching colleague John Hood announced that he was leaving the faculty at the end of this school year. John has been traveling down from Philly to teach students here since 1996, and the toll of the weekly commutes has finally gotten to be too much for him. He will still be teaching bass closer to home at Temple University. John is an outstanding player, teacher, and colleague, and he’ll be missed around here.

Last month, my other colleague, Paul Johnson, underwent some significant surgery and has had to go on extended medical leave for the rest of the semester. He’s doing well and we’re all wishing him a strong recovery, Two colleagues (and good friends) of mine from the National Symphony, Ira Gold and Rick Barber, are teaching his students and classes for the rest of the semester. It’s certainly a lot of fun for me to have them around school. Rick was a student at Peabody just before me, and having him teaching with me at school definitely makes me feel like the inmates are now fully in control of the asylum.... We will be having some guest blogging from them in the near future.

On top of all that, we’re working to set up the details of Hal Robinson’s series of classes that will begin in the Fall. These classes and workshops will be going well beyond the usual master class format, and we’ll be sharing some details on the website and blog fairly soon.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’re in the grip of all the usual changes that come in the Spring: preparing for the graduation of one class and the entry of another in the Fall. We have three graduating students this year in the bass department. In addition, students whom we have accepted for next Fall are in the process of deciding whether to come to Peabody, so Paul and I have been consulting with the accepted applicants about their decision-making process. The departure and arrival of different players and personalities each year changes the culture of Peabody Bassland just a little - we’re a small enough department that each person plays a nontrivial part in creating the atmosphere around here. Once we know who the members of our incoming class are, I’ll start to get a handle on how Peabody Bass in ‘09-10 will feel.

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