Montana, Texas, Florida, London  (Feb. 2007)
Charlotte, Florida

Dear Readers,

Welcome back and thanks for visiting my journal. For this entry, I thought I'd try something a little different - I've combined several cities into one entry, mainly because of the similarities between the concerts. For one, I was scheduled to do the same program for each. This month I've been performing the new John Williams saxophone concerto, "Escapades," with various orchestras in Montana, Texas, and Florida.

To tell you a little about this piece, it's a terrifically fun work based on the Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me if You Can." Each movement represents a different aspect of the film, and being one of my favorite movies, has been an absolute blast to do. I remember seeing the film in a theatre back in 2002 and loving it, as well as the score, and only then afterwards found out he was interested in turning the music into a saxophone feature. I've always had a love for film music, especially John Williams's scores, so it's been a thrill to stand in front of a John Williams-sized orchestra (typically uses every instrument available, and more) and perform this beautiful piece.

For the concert in Montana (with the Great Falls Symphony), it was an all-Williams program entitled "Down the Red Carpet with John Williams" (the orchestra performed Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, etc). Needless to say, all 2,500 seats were packed and the hall was electrified. As a bonus, they used a drop-down movie screen to introduce each piece with a clip montage of the movie - a real hit with the audience. The performance went great and the conductor was a treat to work with. They also had me do a second piece (as all the orchestras this month did) - a recent orchestration I did of the Fantaisie Original by Demersseman - which was extremely well received. One other thing I started doing this month is talking to the audience before my second piece -- I've always done it in recitals (particularly in more intimate venues), but I decided to try it here anyway (with a mic, of course) - and it was a huge hit with the audience. It always seems to break down any audience-performer barrier a little, they get to know you better, and plus it's just fun. I think I may just keep doing this.

Typically each concert this month followed a similar routine: I fly into the city at night, the next morning I visit an area high school or college to give a masterclass (or just talk/play a little), followed by a private rehearsal with the conductor, and finally at night rehearse with the orchestra. Usually there will be a second "dress" rehearsal the next day before the concert, but not always (as the case in Florida). In Florida, however, I had some extra time to sight-see and take pictures (which explains the extra photos).

I'm now in Texas (to perform with the Symphony of Southeast TX), the last of my "Escapades" concerts this month. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do a live TV interview on CBS, which I find incredibly fun. Something about being in front of a video camera live is very thrilling - I suppose really just like performing on stage. The conductor here is one of the most humble I've met, eating out all our meals together. I'll be doing my Demersseman orchestration again tonight as an encore, a real virtuosic piece that is a blast to perform and audiences have been very enthusiastic for. I'll make sure to take more photos and post them as soon as I can. Thanks again for visiting my journal and until next time...

Yours truly,

Ashu

DSC07280
At sunset
DSC03876b
Pier under the sun
DSC03887
Three trees
DSC07287
Outside the concert hall
DSC07287-2
Inside the hall
DSC07288
On Stage
DSC07289 DSC07301 DSC07302
Florida trees
Shells on the beach
Evening in Punta Gorda
DSC07308 DSC07313 DSC07316
View from the hotel
View of the hotel
Palm trees
DSC07324 DSC07329 DSC07335
Seaweed on the beach
Sun on the water
Beach at sunset
DSC07358 DSC07369 DSC07381
Windy trees
No rollerblading
Bridge over water
DSC07384 DSC07385 DSC07388
Park trees
Pier at dusk
Another view
DSC07392 DSC07396 DSC07400
Park outside the hotel
My shadow
Rocky beach
DSC07402 DSC07412
Sun reflecting on water Me in my hotel

Great Falls, Montana
DSC07191 DSC07198 DSC07199
Tree in a rock
Great Falls bench
Snowy bike
DSC07200 DSC07201 DSC07202
Snowy streets at night Quiet roads More snow
DSC07204 DSC07206 DSC07212
Dinosaur art The concert hall Another view
DSC07213 DSC07216 DSC07217
View from the stage View of the stage My dressing room
DSC07221 DSC07223 DSC07236
Dressing room with me Outside the concert hall Streets at dawn
DSC07244 DSC07252
My hotel room View from above
Beaumont, Texas
DSC07492 DSC07492 DSC07492
Outside the concert hall Live on CBS Another pic
DSC07493 DSC07494 DSC07495
Dressing room sign Before the concert The stage
DSC07496 DSC07499 DSC07500
Side view of the hall Concert hall lobby View of the balcony
DSC07504  DSC07515  DSC07535
Balcony foyer Hall's fire escape My hotel room
London, England
DSC07074 DSC07134 DSC07157
Streets of London The London Eye
Piccadilly Circus Fountain
DSC07158 DSC07167
London Eye and Big Ben The Underground Tube
- Click On Photos to Enlarge -

© Copyright 2007 Ashu Inc. All Rights Reserved
- click here for homepage -