A good rehearsal this morning - we began work on the Lady Gaga fugue! It's an innocuous educational piece written for strings, that uses the chorus from her song "Bad Romance" as the fugue subject, or main melody. Cool though, and my first introduction to Lady Gaga! Some more work on Szewczyk, Mozart and Bach... the Bach Air, with its slowly moving melodic lines, is very difficult - when one of the students told me "Kurdish students find slow music really difficult to play without mistakes," I told him the truth - ALL students find slow music difficult. But it's coming along! I know that this music is quite demanding, and that I can be, too. But I believe the group is aware of the musical rewards we're already achieving with these pieces. (I'm told that "Air" means something rude in Arabic... so I have to figure out what else to call the piece... uh oh.)
Lunch outside - it's a lot like Miami in August, but drier... One feels sorry for the fellow who brews the delicious cardamon tea. However, with generous clumps of sugar, it's hard not order another cup. They drink it without milk, so it's very hot. Instead of waiting, they pour some tea into the saucer, drinking from there until the tea-glass has cooled down! It's very sensible!
I think this might be the first year there are two violinists on faculty (the other is Marc Thayer, still a fantastic violinist, even after becoming national treasure/guru in the US world of orchestral community partnerships). SO, we're playing the first movement of the Brahms A Minor String Quartet. The last time I played it was with the same cellist, Bruce Walker, back at the Monteux School. It's GREAT to be playing with him, Marc, and Greg Hurley the violist and also a conductor.
Afternoon conducting class was good, and followed by some more chamber music. Dinner was a large gathering at the Divan restaurant near the hotel, and included some past students. One of them, from here in Suli, has a younger brother who's studying violin at the same festival where my wife teaches. (Karen is Principal English Horn at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC.) I may be able to keep up on my Kurdish, and it just proves how TINY the musical world can be!