It is still a bit early to write about our experiences abroad, but I can at least give a little background.
The whole notion of a trip to China came about through meeting some musicians at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Sarospatak, Hungary, summer of 2011, our second year at that festival. From listening to the experiences of those who had traveled to China and performed there, it became clear that we could do something similar. When we came back home, Ellen applied to the Dallas Symphony's grant program for funds to make the trip. Shortly after, we heard that the funds were granted, and we were off!
One particularly significant event also happened at the Summer Institute, 2011: we met Kristin Ditlow the first day we were there (actually in the van on the way there from the Budapest airport). Kristin is a marvelous artist whose specialties include collaborative piano. Ellen and Kristin teamed up to perform "Praise to the eternity of Jesus," from Quartet for the End of Time, by Olivier Messiaen, during chapel. It was one of those magical moments when anything is possible. Ellen and Kristin gave us the sort of musical performance that searches the soul. So, it was natural that when the China trip became a possibility, Ellen wanted Kristin to come with us.
After the grant came through, Ellen selected a program, as follows
Sonata No. 6 in A for Viola and Piano, by Luigi Boccherini
Romance for Viola and Piano, opus posth., by R. Vaughan Williams
Puerta de Tierra, by Isaac Albeniz
Concertpiece for Viola and Piano, by Georges Enesco
"Praise to the Eternity of Jesus," by Olivier Messaien
Sonata for Viola and Piano, by Rebecca Clarke
Ellen and Kristin will present this program in public venues on each of the three cities we visit.
Kristin came to Dallas last spring (2012) to rehearse the music with Ellen, and then at the Summer Institute 2012, they again had the chance to rehearse and present a couple of the works at chapel and the faculty recital. Finally, Kristin returned to Dallas in late October, 2012, to join Ellen in presenting two "practice" recitals, one at the home of our dear friends, Jerry and Jinna Lancourt, and the other at Mount Vernon Music, a music series in that east Texas town, at the invitation of Ellen's colleague, Ute Miller.
So, now, passports, visas, plane tickets, bags, music, and fiddle in hand, we are finally ready to embark. The schedule takes us to Beijing for a week, Shanghai for a week, Kunming for ten days, and then back to Beijing and home. I will introduce you to the details as we go along.
We are all anticipation.