Thanksgiving Week

11/24/2010 Wednesday 7:05 am

This week has been packed – and we’re just getting started!

Things began Monday with a terrific coffee I had at Dominican Joe’s on South Congress with the Director of the Long Center: Paul Beutel.  Paul, who ran the Paramount Theater in Austin for 17 years, is doing an enormous job of directing the Long Center and he asked me to coffee to discuss a 2012 collaboration?  I’m not at liberty to disclose the idea, I’m afraid, but suffice to say it’s big, and it’s flamenco.  I’m pretty sure the whole thing is “in the bag” as it were, and I look forward to sharing news as soon as I have it.

I raced from coffee with Paul, to lunch at Eastside Cafe with Robert Floyd who is the Executive Director of texas Music Educator’s Association and managing editor of Southwestern Musician Magazine.  I’ve been wanting to meet Robert for a long time, TMEA’s convention is the largest gathering of music educators in the nation – with over 20,000 in attendance each February – and it’s Robert’s organization that’s responsible for putting it on each year.  Among many other things.  It was a real pleasure to hear about those other things and, of course, to have a discussion about the state of guitar education and, specifically, our contributions to it!

Tuesday began with an early meeting at Austin Asset Management Company with Chuck Lutke – our new Director of Development and Communications at ACGS – and Liz Pyeatt, Community Relations for AAMC.  Liz is helping us with our giant February Gala at One World Theater and boy am I glad for her help!  She had a host of ideas that we went over at the meeting and I feel we’re in really good hands for this one.

After that I went back to the office to have my first-ever Skype session.  And not only was it a Skype chat, it was actually a recorded Skype interview!  The whole interview will be posted next week: I’ve seen the edited videos already and I’m really excited about them.

Then it was off to lunch with one of our major donors.  She gives anonymously to ACGS, so she’ll remain anonymous, but we talked alternately, for two hours, about her recent trip to eastern Europe and the work we’re doing here at ACGS.  It was absolutely marvelous to spend time with her.

Today I’ll spend in the office until 11 when I meet with Ken Lewin of Shoot First Productions who is doing our video capture this year for our online training program.  He’s going to show me some of the video they’ve done already and I can’t wait to see it.  Then, after a few hours of teaching, Glenda and I will drive out to Marble Falls on Lake Travis to spend a few days – including Thanksgiving of course, with our dear friends Mike and Linda.

Happy Thanksgiving!


11/22/2010 Monday 8:06 am

Sunday was a big day, but two things we did really stood out.

For brunch we met some of Glenda’s high school friends who were visiting from Houston at Jaun in a Million.  We’d never been, but we’d heard about it, so we were excited to go.  There are several important things to know about Juan in a Million.  First, juan stands by the door and greets everyone in an out. Every man who enters or exits gets a Juan handshake which Juan begins well above his head with his right hand, and then comes smacking down onto the outstretched hand of the customer.  It’s a BIG handshake.  The place is packed, there are a lot of hands to shake and know matter where you are you can hear the loud “smacks” of customers getting the Juan handshake.

The other important thing to know is that the “Don Juan” taco is enormous. Here’s Glenda with the Don Juan.  Yes, that’s one taco!  It’s piled so high you can’t even see the tortilla beneath it!  Pure artistry…

Now THAT's a taco!

The next great thing to happen yesterday was Ethan Matthew’s recital. Ethan is a boy I’ve had the great pleasure to work with for 4 years now or so.  He plays beautifully, and this was his first recital.  They hosted it in their home (Brian and Leslee, Ethan’s parents) and invited their friends.  They live a good bit south of Austin in a idyllic place full of light and land.  Ethan did a tremendous job, I am very proud of him.

I like this picture for his concentration... and you can see the concert program in his mom's hand in the foreground!

From St. Louis, to Fort Worth to France…

11/22/2010 Monday 7:46 am

I’ve had a lot of fun telling people about my book lately.  After Kai Narezo of Guitar Salon International blogged about it I got an email from Chris Davis (Fort Worth) who has his own guitar blog asking is I would do a Skype video interview for his blog.  We’re doing it tomorrow at 11 and I’ll place a link once it’s up!

Then last night, my dear friend Benoit Albert (who is in a duo with Randall Avers called Les Freres Meduses) decided to place a notice of the book on his home page, in French!

And yesterday also, Bill Ash, my new friend who runs the St. Louis Guitar Society, sent me a letter of recommendation in response to getting notice of the book!  Bill and I met over email, in person at our giant international festival last June, and then he came down to spend a day with me and talk arts management earlier this fall.  I’ll let him tell the story:

Letter from Bill Ash

Callobre, Moorhead, Miro and more

11/20/2010 Saturday 9:19 am

Things continue to fly along.  Last weekend Tim Callobre (17 year old prodigy pianist, composer, guitarist) played on our major series.  The very next day Austin Moorhead arrived for a 10 concert residency with us that he finished last night (!), and on Monday my new book was published (yay!).  That amidst so much more!

Here's Tim Callobre's Concert - we had about 500 in the audience!

Last night Austin Moorhead’s residency came to a close with his only public recital.  He played 10 concerts in 4 days for us, but the first 9 were all in schools.  This show, last night at Grace United Methodist Church had about 100 in the audience.

Austin Moorhead is a terrific guitarist who makes his living playing multiple styles of guitar in New York City. He's currently on a North American tour with a broadway company playing 6 nights a week. They're on break now, but begin again January through May!

Thursday night was a very special treat for Glenda and I.  We went to see the fabulous Miro String Quartet perform three Beethoven quartets.  Afterward we enjoyed a nice visit at Bess Bistro downtown until… too late!  The quartet is unbelievable.  I went to school at Oberlin with two of the members – Josh and Daniel – and we’ve become good friends with the quartet since they arrived over 5 years ago in Austin to be the UT school of music’s resident quartet.  They’re incredible.  Here’s a shot of their standing ovation Thursday night in a packed bates Recital Hall!

From left to right that's Daniel Ching, Sandy Yamamoto, Josh Ginidele and John Largess

The Tuesday before Tim’s arrival I had the honor of presenting a performance and talk to close the Leadership Austin “Experience Austin” Fall 2010 class.  This fabulous organization, led by Heather McKissick, connects Austin civic leaders with nonprofit and other community service opportunities.  For the past 5 years or so, I’ve been their closing act – which gives me an opportunity to talk to the class about community service and the arts and, of course, play guitar!

Here's Heather talking to the group! We're at the Whole Foods Culinary center - the group got dinner and a cooking lesson too!

So much more is happening!  But that’s at least a start.  Response on the book has been wonderful.  With our last major events of 2010 behind us, we’re now focusing on development and our February gala at ACGS.  I personally will spend the month of December, whenever possible, writing our massive online training program we have to create for educational outreach – that’s gonna be a big project.  We’re already well under way, of course, and have been in meetings weekly with web developers and film crews to capture what we need to capture.

Outside of ACGS, the spring is looking really huge.  Lot’s of travel.  I’l be doing seminars on management in Boston and Sacramento and things begin with a trip to New Mexico on January 5th where I’ll conduct the New Mexico All State Guitar Ensemble (!), gotta dust off those conducting skills! Also looking to play a bit more, and a few concerts are lined up.

But before any of that… comes Thanksgiving!  We’re spending it with our friends Mike and Linda and while this coming week is packed through Wednesday, I can practically taste the drive out to see them at the lake on Wednesday afternoon when we’ll have a few glorious days of peace and quiet together.

My New Book Is Done!

11/16/2010 Tuesday 8:17 am

Last night I finished the final proof of my new book.  It’s done!

You can buy a copy here!

I’m very excited about this project – it was actually a real joy to read the book this weekend.