Vermont In August

This August, I will begin a three-year Music Alive Residency with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, made possible by a grant from Meet The Composer and the League of American Orchestras. I am really looking forward to working with everyone and exploring some of my old haunts in Burlington. The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association consists of one of the most accomplished youth orchestras in the North America, along with a few other excellent orchestras, chamber groups, choirs and an annual music festival in Burlington called the Reveille! Music Festival. They even just completed a tour of Quebec and France with their out-going Music Director Troy Peters. After a highly successful fourteen years with VYOA, Troy accepted a new position as Music Director of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio. Although he is much-loved by everyone in VT, and brought the association to new and higher levels, this will be an exciting year as VYOA embarks on a search for a new director. I lived in Vermont long enough to know that although great people sometimes leave, they often come back, and fresh, new faces will also arrive.

Back in the mid-90s, Victoria and I lived in Burlington on the corner of Church and Main, right next to Nectar's, the bar and  restaurant where thousands of bands have played and Phish played some of its first gigs. We moved there right after we left undergraduate school at Eastman and the University of Rochester. I can still remember the smell of gravy fries wafting over from Nectar's, roasting coffee beans at Muddy Waters, and the freshly made pizza and bagels from across the street and down the block.

While we lived in Burlington, Victoria had a violin studio of ca. 20 students, and we gigged in just about every classical group in the state, including the Vermont Symphony OrchestraUVM Symphony Orchestra and with the Lyric Theater Company. We even played West Side Story at the Flynn in 1995, which is an amazing coincidence, since Victoria is now playing in West Side Story on Broadway. I played in Vermont Composers Consortium concerts and worked with interesting musicians like Michael Arnowitt and Gordon Stone. These are all great memories.

Before gigs and commissions started trickling in, I worked at Kinko's in Burlington, which I think still has the distinction of being the only Kinko's in Vermont. For a young musician trying to meet people, it was a great place to work: it seems like just about everyone in town made copies there. I would strike up conversations and try to get to know everyone in the music scene. Burlington is a major city, but cozy enough that you will probably eventually run into every classical musician in town—and even in the state—if you stick around for a while.

Anyway, I am very excited, both to work with the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association and interim conductor Andrew Massey, and to be in Vermont in August. As time goes on, I may either blog about my experiences with the orchestra here, contribute to the VYOA Blog or even create a new one, but either way, I hope you will continue to read about my experiences with this wonderful organization.

Wind Beneath My Wings

victoria_paterson-large-1 Valentine's Day just passed, and like an idiot, I forgot to get Victoria flowers, or anything else Romantic. Deservedly, I am in the doghouse, at least a little, so this week I am trying to make up for it.

Sometimes it is easy to forget the friends and family in our lives that keep us going, those that make us want to get up every morning and continue working, which is particularly important if you are a self-employed freelance artist, as I am. Victoria witnesses everything I go through and have to deal with.

Few people probably realize how hard Victoria works. She is an amazing wife and a fantastic mother. Anyone with kids knows that being a mom—or at least a good one—is an all-encompassing job. I don't think Dylan will truly realize how wonderful she is until he is much older.

She is the Managing Director for our group, the American Modern Ensemble, which is an incredibly demanding job, especially in this economy. Are there many other jobs that are more stressful? Perhaps being an air traffic controller, which is basically the same thing, when you think about it, but with great pay. (Just kidding, of course, there's really no comparison.)

Victoria also founded and runs Lumiere Records, an indie record company that also encompasses a thriving wedding gig business. Her String Quartet Wedding Music CD does very well on Amazon and iTunes, and she is always coming up with more ideas for new projects.

Every evening, when most people are winding down, she plays in West Side Story on Broadway and gets home at 11:15 PM. She does a ton work on the side, everything from gigs at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to run-outs to other states, and even other countries.

On top of all this, she helps me with my career and acts as my unofficial manager. She is always talking me up to everyone, and I feel incredibly lucky to be married to someone who actually loves my music.

The whole time, she manages to stay unbelievably healthy, beautiful and high-spirited. We have been together for almost eighteen years and married for almost eleven, and to this day I cannot think of a more amazing women who I would want to spend the rest of my life with.