The past few days have been a blur. I locked up my apartment in New Haven, took my last few boxes to storage and drove up to Bennington, Vermont where I will spend the next week as the Composer Fellow for Chamber Music Conference East. After a wonderful but exhausting few days, I finally slept enough last night (twelve hours) to feel like my usual self.
Vermont has been really fantastic. The participants in the conference are talented amateur musicians who come for a very intense chamber music experience. They are really dedicated and excited, so the festival has a wonderful positive energy.
I’m here with Susan Botti, the Composer in Residence, who I studied with before I went to Yale. Besides just enjoying spending time with her, it has occurred to me over the past few days how much the development of many of the ideas I explore in my music now started when I studied with her in 2008-9. It is kind of perfect timing to be spending the week before I leave for India with her – even two days into the festival, I am charged with so many new ideas that I can’t write them down fast enough.
It may sound funny to say this, but I’ve really been enjoying the feeling of being a composer these last few days. Since May, I haven’t written or worked with ensembles very much: most of my energy has been focused on traveling, packing and planning. While it was necessary to stop writing so I could pour my energy into making sure everything was in place for my trip, it’s really nice to be back in my element – working with an ensemble on one of my pieces, thinking quickly, making changes on the fly, just following the line of the music and letting the piece take shape… I love this part of the process.
I tried, a few days ago, to write about leaving New Haven. I feel like I should be saying something more nostalgic about it, but whatever I say doesn’t really resonate correctly or make sense to me. It’s funny, every year older I get, the years just seem shorter and shorter. The last two years at Yale were filled with so much that I barely noticed their passing. I think this coming year will be even quicker. So in a way, sadness or nostalgia just doesn’t make sense to me. Right now, my mind is focused forward, on making every moment in India count.
Also, though, I feel fortunate that my closest relationships really transcend location and circumstance. Most of the people I am close to either don’t live where I do or know what it’s like to have close friends/family who live very far away. I think it will only be the mode and frequency of our communication that changes – there is no doubt in my mind that the substance will stay the same.