Sunday, January 19, 2014

Warm Notes in the Frigid Air

The young woman in the silver gown is Jennifer Christen
principal oboist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. 
Last night was her night in the spotlight, as soloist for Mozart's 
Concerto in C Major for Oboe and Orchestra, 
K. 285d (314). She performed beautifully, 
the notes rising and falling through the night air, distracting 
the audience away from the cold breezes they would 
face as they returned to their homes later that evening.
In the video below, she is giving a short explanation
about the preparation of reeds for her oboe and,
in the process, plays a few bars of the Mozart piece
she performed Friday night.  

Last night, I joined the ISO's Assistant Principal Percussionist,
Craig Hetrick, to promote upcoming ISO concerts 
and community activities. Among the people who stopped
to chat was a woman and her three daughters, 
one of whom plays oboe. The mother talked with Mr. Hetrick
about wanting to find suitable instruments to accommodate
her daughter's talent as her skills improved and grew.
She is now in sixth grade and her present oboe cost about
$3 thousand. One of the things I enjoy about these
evenings is the musicians coming out to meet the people
for whom they play. Overall, those I've met
have been intelligent, funny, and kind people,
just the sort one would want as friends. I saw the young
oboist later, who said she was going to talk
with Ms. Christen about lessons.
It seemed so cool to me that a twelve-year-old girl 
would easily have the opportunity to speak with
a professional about her future.
Right there in the lobby of the Hilbert Circle Theatre, 
on a cold night, over cups of hot cocoa.
One in jeans and the other in a silver gown.


William Kendall said...

An excellent portrait of Jennifer.

This is the kind of evening I would enjoy. Not just for the music, but the chance to speak with musicians. As a writer, I've got a future character in mind who would be a classical violinist.

Speedway said...

Thank you, William.

At one point I was introduced to one of the cellists, an attractive woman with short silver hair. It may be suitable for your violinist to describe their unseen strengths because the cellist had a very firm handshake - and that was her bow hand.

Also, the mother of the young oboist talked of wanting to find and purchase suitable instruments for her daughter, increasing their quality as her own skills grew, knowing it was going to be expensive to get oboes that would be suitable for music school, expecting her to outgrow her present instrument, etc.

William Kendall said...

That's a good tip to keep in mind.

I've tended to watch the body language of musicians while they're performing, the way they sit, the intensity of concentration.