Pierre Laurent Aimard
Pre concert drink
Always the aisle seat
Yes, I know I repeat myself all the time, but one of the main reasons I love Chapel Hill is the thriving cultural scene. There is always something culturally stimulating going on. Being at a concert, a play, a ballet, is a great break from the day-to-day but at the same time a very enriching experience, which I believe leaves an almost invisible sediment at the bottom of your soul, mind, heart. This sediment, like in a good wine adds to the richness and flavor of the wine. Among other events this year I went to:
- The Pittsburgh Symphony playing Mahler 1 symphony.
- Benjamin Britten’s Japanese Noh theatre inspired Curlew River
- Unavoidably in December, the Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker
- The Maarinsky Orchestra playing Prokofiev
- Kronos Quarter with my dear friend and composer James Brown. This concert included a very nice question and answer period post concert.
- Brian Blade, a brilliant jazz drummer with my dear friend and cigar aficionado Jedd.
- Britten’s War Requiem
- Pierre Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich playing Pierre Boulez on dueling pianos!
- Martha Graham Dance Company
- The Monteverdi Orchestra playing the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 with Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducting. One of the most amazing shows I have ever seen!
- The North Carolina Symphony playing Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. A great and hopeful hymn that represents the beauty that is America.
- Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure played by a small company in the local movie theatre!
- UNC Opera’s hilarious rendering of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus
- UNC Baroque Ensemble’s Fall and Spring concerts with the great Professor Wissick leading.
Unfortunately my Spring was so busy that I did not manage to go to any of the Playmakers Spring productions.
And this does not include lectures, readings, exhibits, nor any of all the more alternative goings on, in which I choose not to participate, one must set limits. All in all an extremely fulfilling year that had me thinking, feeling, laughing and crying.
Part of the problem with being an eternal optimist is that one always thinks things are going to be easier than they are. This last semester is a good example. The semester started off uphill, with me losing my washer and dryer (see previous post), getting a speeding ticket, and more importantly having to finesse my doctoral committee and getting my prospectus approved.
The exam was on November 7. You can read my previous post about it, but is was at the same time a grueling yet highly enriching experience. That afternoon I celebrated by playing soccer with my colleagues (more on that later) and then by going to see Benjamin Britten’s opera, Curlew River, inspired by the Japanese Noh theater (more on that also later). And of course, after all that by having a drink (or two) at my favorite bar, Zog’s.
After passing my exam I slumped into a bit of a post prospectus depression. My next goal is defending my dissertation, but that is not planned until the Spring of 2016. So all of a sudden I was without an immediate goal. This required some getting used to. I could finally, after three years, watch movies (more on that later), or enjoy dead time. That first Saturday I celebrated with a glorious breakfast at my favorite breakfast place Ye Olde Waffle Shop, and waltzing around Chapel Hill as if I owned it. Stopping at this store and that, hanging out at the old bookstore, and the museum.
As always teaching is my passion and this semester did not disappoint. I taught two sections of Intermediate Spanish 203, one of them in the Philosophy building. This allowed me to enjoy their philosophical bathroom graffiti.
Nature abhors a vacuum, so I soon changed my rhythm and got busy. I talked strategy with my professors to attack the dissertation, Prof. González Espitia named me to be a grad student editor of the department´s literary journal Hispanófila, and I started to prepare my dissertation by re-visiting the first four works of my beloved Padre Isla.