23 March 2006

NKU String Quartet Stays Alive Thanks to Donors

NKU’s Azmari String Quartet was funded by a gift from [Cincinnati’s legendary music patron] Patrica Corbett but that gift has run out. The group’s residence was slated to end this summer, but it will be able to continue thanks to new donors.

It’s good news that the quartet is funded for another term, but it’s also bad news that an institution of higher learning wouldn’t have funding available to preserve it on its own. Educational spending is a low priority in this country, and America’s underappreciation of the importance of education- all education, including art & music- is a nothing less than a grand scale shooting-in-the-foot.

And speaking of music, why is the french horn so hard to play?


Wes said...

The horn is so hard to play because of the nature of the Overtone Series. Basically, due to the design of the horn, there are many pitches close together that can be played with the same fingerings. This makes accuracy highly challenging. Put another way: Imagine having to pull things off of shelves that are very close together, while blindfolded on a ladder. It's very easy to reach too high or too low.

And that's great about the Azmari. As you know, I taught at NKU's Department of Music for 7 years (6 adjunct, 1 full-time lecturer), and there's some weirdness going on over there. I won't say more, because I have friends still there and I don't want them to suffer for what I've said, but it's kind of ugly this year.


WestEnder said...

That's too bad about NKU and weirdness. I suppose that's true of every academic setting. I found it to be the case scientific research departments as well. It takes a good chairperson to run a smooth ship, that's what I learned.

I heard the french horn and oboe are the two toughest instruments to master. But they sure sound great. Doesn't the oboe play a part in Peter and the Wolf?

I like the baritone sax, too. But it's a lot more sleazy and wouldn't be seen in the same company as the other two.

Ohio 2nd said...

What's really hard about the horn is that it's like a chinese finger puzzle. The harder you try the worst you play. One you just give up and feel it it happens. It's very Zen.

(For the record, in my past life I was a horn player. Credits include subbing with the SFO and Baltimore SO.)

Personally I think that the Oboe is 1000x times harder than the horn. The problem with the horn is that it's too easy... like getting somewhere on ice.

WestEnder said...

You played with SF and Baltimore? Holy crap, that is big time. The musical equivalent of pro sports, except without the steroids.

Wes said...

I wouldn't be too sure about the steroid thing. You should have seen the viola section in Chicago over the past four or five years. No one gains that kind of power in the clutch naturally.