Studio Trip to NYC

TTU Clarinet Studio at Lincoln Center

I worked very hard with some of my exceptional students and officers of the TTU Clarinet Studio to plan for our 3-day trip to New York City during the spring break of 2015. Our proposal for TTU's URECA Grant was approved, and we received $5,000 to cover our students' airfare, hotel lodging and other expenses. In addition, our students successfully carried out various successful fund-raising campaigns, virtually making the trip fully funded. In the end, twelve students from TTU Clarinet Studio joined in the trip, made of whom have never been to NYC. Thanks to additional sponsorship and support by my colleagues at Buffet Crampon and Vandoren, our students had some tremendous musical opportunities during their stay. 

Freshman Clarinet Quartet performing at the Buffet Showroom NYC

Boris Allakhverdyan Master Class

Listening to a presentation by David Gould

Vandoren Musician's Advisory Studio

Boris Allakhverdyan, the principal clarinetist of Met Opera and newly appointed principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, spent two hours with several of our students giving master classes and coaching at the Buffet Crampon Showroom NYC. Not only we enjoyed many insights Boris shared with us, our students were thrilled to hear him later that evening at Met Opera's production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. I also took the studio to Vandoren's Studio on the 54th St., where students got to learn a great deal about the production process of reeds and mouthpieces and try them out. The final evening was spent on attending NY Philharmonic concert where they performed Brahms's German Requiem. What a musically enriching spring break for everyone it was!

A short stop by at Carnegie Hall

Students getting ready to see Mozart's Marriage of Figaro at Met

Our students after NY Phil Concert at David Geffen Hall

In numerous occasions, I served as a tour guide to our students, taking them to various landmarks of NYC and fun. More importantly, we ventured into some of my favorite stops to eat in Manhattan, including Shake Shack and Totto Ramen. 

Being happy at Shake Shack!

Some struggle in using chopsticks at Totto Ramen where they don't have forks, etc.

TTU Clarinet Studio's last minute lunch together in NYC before heading back to La Guardia

ICA ClarinetFest 2015 Madrid, Spain

It was a great privilege to be invited to perform at the 2015 ClarinetFest in Madrid, Spain. I spent a week of July in this beautiful city, meeting some amazing clarinetists and friends, playing great music, and enjoying plenty of sightseeing. My recital featured two American works for clarinet and piano: Leonard Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata and Peter Lieuwen's new work, Bright River (2014), with this performance being the official European Premiere. I was thrilled to be joined by my friend Sasha from London. 

After the recital with pianist Sasha

Excerpts from my ClarinetFest recital prepared by Silverstein Works

Grand Entrance to Conde Duque

I was also delighted that Peter (the composer) flew all the way with his wonderful wife attended our concert with his nephew who happened to be living in Madrid. It was the first time Peter heard Bright River being performed. I am looking forward to see him again during my residency at Texas A&M University in College Station, TN in September where I will perform this work again. 

Post recital dinner at a local restaurant, where I had a kangaroo burger!

Despite my unfamiliarity with this part of Europe, there was something very elegant yet approachable in this city. A great deal of vibrancy and wonderful foods...

View from my room in Madrid

Due to a last-minute absence by a clarinetist in KoMo Clarinet Quartet, I was invited to fill in the spot for their concert at the end of the week. I not only got to play some fun music, but was very fortunate to become good friends with Useon, Geonju and Maxine, all wonderful musicians and people!

@Madrid Conservatory with the members of Komo Quartet

Dinner at an extremely fancy restaurant in downtown with my friends from Silverstein Works, Calvin and BK (CEO and President) 

with Karl Leister

Among many other things I got to do in Madrid, the visit to Muso Prado singularly stands out. The museum houses some of the greatest works that are familiar to us. I was more impressed by its unique organization and distinct taste of the Spanish monarchs who curated the selections throughout past many centuries.

Muso Nacional del Prado

Special 10-piece Picasso Exhibit @ Museo Prado 

Izakaya and Ice Cream in East Nashville

I and Grace wanted to visit Two Ten Jack since we first spotted it few months ago (we were then with the Larchmere String Quartet and having lunch with them at nearby vegan restaurant Wild Cow just after performing at WPLN Classical 90.1). It was quite good, and we plan to come back!

Two Ten Jack Entrance

A nice mix of contemporary and mid 1900s decoration

A great appetizer!

Chicken Ramen

Pork Ramen

Fancy Bar

Cute Menu

Jenis Ice Cream, Nashville

Eclectic Food Adventure in Atlanta

Here is the first of my food adventure blogpost:

I and Grace spent a night in Atlanta for our second wedding anniversary(!) on our way back home from my orchestra weekend in GA. Atlanta is not an unfamiliar city for either of us, and we decided to focus on food adventures during our stay. I already made a dinner reservation at Nan Thai Fine Dining in Midtown few days earlier, so all we had to do was to find a place to eat lunch and hang out. Thanks to our friend Jessica's suggestion, we decided to check out the Atlanta Food Truck Park. We came with high hopes, but we were a bit disappointed with the limited food selections. They also had small number of merchants carrying various products by local craftsmen. It was a fun afternoon (especially when Grace spilled my lemonade on my loaded cheese fries--and yes, we settled on some hot dogs and fries in the end), but the food was rather subpar. However, a photographer from Jezebel happen to come by and take our photo so perhaps our presence at the Food Truck Park will be permanently documented...

Our evening at Nan Thai Fine Dining was much for satisfying. The place looked fantastic and had complimentary valet parking. The menu was sleek and easy to navigate. Most importantly, the food tasted really good and very reasonably priced. 

It is remarkable how time flies so fast. For us, it was a perfect place for us to reminisce our past two years of high-paced but extremely fulfilling life together. Our choices: Pla Muk Thod (crispy calamari) for appetizer; Grace ordered a special pork dish (the best choice of all), I got a chicken Panang curry, and we both got Singha. We would certainly come back here and recommend the place to anyone who happen to pass by Atlanta for some delicious Thai food. 

Pla Muk Thod