Last time I left off before the after-hours rehearsal started, so I’ll start by saying it was a wonderful musical experience. The piece for large chorus and percussion instruments is gorgeous, and the performers are brilliant and dedicated to their craft. It was really a joy to listen, and I think the photo makes it obvious how visually impressive it is as well.
This morning, after supervising the piano delivery (a lovely Bechstein grand that a local piano shop loaned to us free of charge), I spent a little time working with our exhibition designer and building managers, figuring out how we could store the risers that were so hard to get here. Luckily, the timing is going to work out fine and we can keep them in the gallery for a week, until we can arrange to have them taken back where we got them.
The instruments and the accompanying video are proving to be popular among the museum visitors. I don’t think anyone has come in expressly to see them yet, but they certainly get people’s attention, and having the documentary playing gives people an excuse to linger.
I had a fair amount of administrative work to clear up today as well. For one thing, the arcane labyrinth that is the University of California accounts payable system recently added another layer of bureaucracy, which meant I had to fill out a couple of extra forms to make sure the most recent performers actually get their payments. Luckily, I’m aided by the folks in our internal business office, who are knowledgeable and have the appropriate Kafkaesque sense of humor about such things.
In addition to that paperwork, and since this upcoming concert is the final one in our Spring season, I played with excel spreadsheets for a while, assembling data on event attendance for a report that I put together a few times a year. While we strive for artistic success above all, of course, it’s always nice to analyze the hard numbers on the popularity of events, and I’m pleased at how successful this year has been so far. To the right is a picture of the luxurious cubicle where the magic happens.
This afternoon was our monthly all-staff meeting for the whole of the museum and film archive. Though it was not particularly eventful, we did get a few updates about the gala we had a few weeks ago, our plans to move into a new building, etc.
Following the meeting, most of my afternoon was spent helping the percussionist William Winant set up another battery of instruments for one of the chamber music pieces that’s also on the concert program. In the DIY spirit, the instruments include some rice bowls and baking pans, which I hope are visible in the photo.
While working on the placement of the instruments, we brainstormed ideas for future concerts, and I’m rethinking my plans for next Spring a little bit because of that conversation. Then I had the pleasure of listening to the rehearsal of Lou Harrison’s Varied Trio, which is lush and luminous and witty. That may end up being my favorite piece of music on the program.
Everything is lined up and in place for one amazing and memorable concert tomorrow night. Once again, I’m surprised at how neatly things have come together and how well the institution and its staff adapt to the changing needs of this performance series.