More good progress in the pieces with the orchestra. There are also even more new members from today, and I think there will be no new members from now on. I may still need to remind folks "the Bach is in 8," but it won't be news to them.
At lunch (trying the Italian restaurant in the mall - pretty good, though not dirt-cheap like everywhere else), the incoming Chair of the Music Department of the American University here came over to talk: we were going to meet tomorrow but it worked out to meet today instead. It sounds like they've got great facilities (the best in the Middle East, it was said), and they've opened up some new faculty positions. Really fascinating scenario, and a few of us are planning to visit the University tomorrow. (Don't worry, I'm not jumping ship!)
Some Brahms quartet rehearsal, then conducting class. Having taught 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 on successive days, I think we'll now expand on the rhythmic dictation exercises, and work on studying some terms. Arum, a very capable violinist and student/administrator, is helping with Kurdish translations for common tempo markings, which we'll distribute to the conducting students. Seeing definitions in Kurdish (which uses Arabic script) is WILD! I will certainly keep a copy.
Very detailed, and intriguing, questions... I talked about how a conductor should have a plan (including physically) in order to lead effectively. "But Mr. Reuben, what if the conductor is moved by the music?" "Changing the plan as you go can be wonderful, as well as necessary to assist musicians, or even correct mistakes. But you need the plan to have something to change from, and return to." Very good question, with the answer translated back into Kurdish (Sorani and Kurmanji dialects) and Arabic.
I ended class five minutes early, so I could attend the Sulymaniyah Symphony rehearsal. They rehearsed Mozart Symphony No. 25 and the Suite from Peer Gynt by Grieg. It's clear that they are a talented and dedicated group, with a lot of musicality and potential. Some of the teachers from the Fin (and several of the students at the YES Academy) are playing in the orchestra. Their conductor, too, was very friendly. When not conducting, he's teaching violin, viola, cello, piano, oud, and mentioned several other instruments. Whew!
Today was the birthday of the school director, John Ferguson, so we celebrated on top of the mountain, with cake, chicken sandwiches, and light libations. Given the timing of when these academies are normally held, he's had a lot of birthdays in exotic locations!
I got to talk with Karen twice today, making up for yesterday when she had auditions and meetings all day. It's hard to consider how tough things were before cheap and convenient phone-calls!
Bed before midnight! As long as I don't read too much of my current book (Frederic Morton: Thunder at Twilight, Vienna 1913/1914), I may yet get enough sleep!