Monthly Archives: May 2013

Composition in Education

Music in Princeton

WHERE do composers come from?

WHAT musical backgrounds do they have that allows them to create music so fluently?

And WHY am I not a composer?

Although it may seem presumptuous, I consider myself to be a relatively musical and creative person. Interpretive dance? You got it. Improvising on the drums? You can count on me. Composing?…. No. One thing I cannot do is compose. But why?

Ladies and gentlemen, in this awkward moment I would like to write a bit about myself and about why this topic is so important to me.

Most of you are aware that I am a student attending Westminster Choir College. What do I study? Music Education. I am going to be a music educator in (hopefully) a couple of years. That is why I am interested in choral music; because I hope to teach in a choral setting someday. In music education…

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Violence Against Women is Not a Joke

Girls' Globe

Exgirlfriend_target dollAngry at an ex-girlfriend or wife? Here, shoot at a bleeding, half-naked “Ex-girlfriend” target doll. It’s only a dummy – just meant for practice.

..Practice for what, exactly?

This doll was displayed at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) Convention by its manufacturer, Zombie Industries (ZI). According to some reports, it has since been discontinued – but in fact, the company merely re-named it “Alexa” in stead of “The Ex”. Some people have claimed that the doll was never referred to as “The Ex” – but an image currently on ZI website curiously still refers to the female target doll package as “The Ex Box” (I’m sure whoever thought that one up considered themselves very funny and clever).

“Alexa” is still being sold by Zombie Industries, and unlike most of the “zombie” dolls, she does not have green skin, nor does she resemble a zombie. I also fail to…

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Julia Bollock (no not the X factor singer)

My new favorite young singer – JULIA BOLLOCK

This post is in response to seeing her recital at Juilliard on May 17, 2013.


Photo by Hiroyuki Ito in New York Times Review (Feb 2012); Bullock sings Delage Four Hindu Poems with American Symphony Orchestra

A summary: Julia Bollock is a young soprano who got her undergrad at Eastman, went to Bard for her graduate degree, and just finished an extra Performance degree at Juilliard. She has won countless scholarships and done a few roles with the various institutions she went to. She seems to focus on performing contemporary music and unusual repertoire in a concert format.

Why you should LOVE her!: Julia Bollock is more than a breath of fresh air. She is a spaceship blasting her audience into space! She embraces amazing, unique, rarely performed songs, much welcome in a world of over performed arias. Bollock’s musicality and focus allow her to do ANY repertoire which suits her voice. Her dramatic intensity never falters, even when she leans over to pluck the strings inside the piano! Her amazing, natural sense of communication make Russian songs seem like they’re in English; not one person was reading the translations while she was singing because it just wasn’t necessary. All dramatic intention was as clear as day. Her diction was impeccable, although someone who actually knows Slavic languages should probably be the one to judge. Her physical presentation was also amazing, really inspiring. She’s a beautiful woman. But it’s more than that. She doesn’t try to fit into the typical play-it-safe singer look. She relied on her natural beauty, no false eyelashes here. Her jewelry was sparse and understated while most singers are encouraged to have a big, flashy piece to draw the audience’s eye. Her dress wasn’t even typical, arguably not quite professional, BUT YET IT WORKED! The audience wasn’t in their seat listening to a teeter-tottering singer sing normal repertoire with a good natural gift. They were having a conversation with a woman who could have been a fashionista walking down the street.

Why she matters in the larger sense: If you’ve watched Joyce Di Donato’s masterclass at J-yard (of course you have), she asks “What do you have to say?”. It may seem like a weird question to ask. With all the technical aspects of singing, all the networking, all the fear about job security, it can be hard to remember that the point of performing is to SAY SOMETHING. Well, this woman has something to say. She doesn’t dress like a typical singer, or sing what everyone else is singing. She is her own entity, who happens to sing.  She walks out there and sings every song like she’s wearing every piece of her soul on her skin and she should walk off happy, no matter what weird vocal moments happened, because she sang something that mattered.

I really hope she gains a lot of publicity soon. Julia Bollock is a singer which should be well known for being an artist and serve as an inspiration and reminder of which parts of singing are the most important.

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My thoughts on Giulio Cesare at the Met Opera


Giulio Cesare as an overall production was AMAZING! It showed that opera can be both entertaining and emotional! The dancing was cute and fun and although it seemed weird plot wise, it went with the music quite well. The entertainment aspect was kind of needed to keep the audience engaged for a 4 hour da capo fest so I welcomed the funny staging with open arms. 



Just as Cleopatra stole Giulio Cesare’s heart with “V’adoro pupille”, so Natalie Dessay stole mine! Her phrasing made every aria fresh and painfully beautiful. Her amazing ornamentation turned every di capo aria into a never ending journey and showed off her voice while expanding on the emotions Cleopatra was feeling. After hearing “V’adoro pupille” so many times, I thought I would be immune to it’s emotional effects. Instead I CRIED! She was the definition of why more is more when it comes to ornaments as long as they are done completely right. 


I am ashamed to be jumping on the Dessay train so late! BUT IT’S TRUE, I LOVE HER!

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