So, it has been a while! The new school year has been keeping me busy but in a much more controlled and I-know-what-to-expect kind of way than last year. My counterpart is pregnant and has some other family medical concerns so there has been some last-minute solo teaching, which I actually enjoy quite a bit: using only English and the students manage that remarkably well. Next semester my counterpart will be on maternity leave creating an interesting teaching situation. I will likely teach with the high school English teacher from my school and the training manager, but time will tell. Will be an interesting loop, getting acquainted with new teaching styles and personalities during the last semester here.
Crazy! The last semester here, coming before long. While shopping at Mercury market (a place to buy cheese! Yum!) with Leslie we were talking about how different the second year here is feeling: so much more home-like, calm, and enjoyable. The Chamberlains are back from the States and full of stories about delicious foods that they have eaten, it's like listening to Marco Polo after a return journey. Only a Marco Polo with very focused interests: culinary ones. The three of us will be heading back to Bayankhongor tomorrow (Friday) so that I can get home in time for my school's Halloween party (I will be going as a Roman, reusing the white bed sheet I bought last year as a ghost costume).
I seem to be writing this post in a chronologically backwards fashion. I have been in UB/Darkhan working on music school applications. I went to Darkhan and made a recording there with a Mongolian friend of a former volunteer who is extremely helpful and full of creative project ideas, then headed to the capital to the national radio studio to make another recording. Sat down this morning and picked the pieces to submit, made CD's and mailed them. They should arrive in the States by mid November, I sent them with a little buffer time: the deadline is December 1. Feeling relatively good about the recording and thus my chances, but time will tell. School list looks like this:
New England Conservatory Northwestern Indiana University Bloomington University of Nebraska Lincoln University of Wisconsin Madison
The recording process was a new one for me. Very interesting how differently your mind works depending on whether you are performing for a live audience or making a recording. I found that my "recording" mind is much more critical and analytically involved in the pieces because I know I can go back and do the whole piece again. There's a bit more detachment in that respect. At the same time it's just you and a sound technician in an adjacent room making it more personal than a live performance. I can appreciate Glen Gould's reclusive recording making obsession a bit more now.
[Check out this wonderful interview with Glen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30VH1Messq0, he sums it up nicely when he describes the recording process as both "clinical" and "intimate"]
A bit more work to do on the applications this evening, then out with friends to hear Altan Urag (a terribly enjoyable mix of traditional and contemporary Mongolian music) at Ikh Mongol. Check out their work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SQ9bp09s_w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkgASuVdnM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6M6icVHZsM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNBgBCqrQrc&feature=related
The next big thing: starting new repertoire! Thinking some Satie is in order, possibly the Italian Concerto by Bach as well. Definitely Schubert's D. 946 and John Adam's China Gates.