Montana, Texas, Florida, London  (February)
Charlotte, Florida

Dear Readers,

Welcome back and thanks for visiting my journal. For this entry, I thought I'd try something a little different - I've combined several cities into one entry, mainly because of the similarities between the concerts. For one, I was scheduled to do the same program for each. This month I've been performing the new John Williams saxophone concerto, "Escapades," with various orchestras in Montana, Texas, and Florida.

To tell you a little about this piece, it's a terrifically fun work based on the Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me if You Can." Each movement represents a different aspect of the film, and being one of my favorite movies, has been an absolute blast to do. I remember seeing the film in a theatre back in 2002 and loving it, as well as the score, and only then afterwards found out he was interested in turning the music into a saxophone feature. I've always had a love for film music, especially John Williams's scores, so it's been a thrill to stand in front of a John Williams-sized orchestra (typically uses every instrument available, and more) and perform this beautiful piece.

For the concert in Montana (with the Great Falls Symphony), it was an all-Williams program entitled "Down the Red Carpet with John Williams" (the orchestra performed Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Harry Potter, etc). Needless to say, all 2,500 seats were packed and the hall was electrified. As a bonus, they used a drop-down movie screen to introduce each piece with a clip montage of the movie - a real hit with the audience. The performance went great and the conductor was a treat to work with. They also had me do a second piece (as all the orchestras this month did) - a recent orchestration I did of the Fantaisie Original by Demersseman - which was extremely well received. One other thing I started doing this month is talking to the audience before my second piece -- I've always done it in recitals (particularly in more intimate venues), but I decided to try it here anyway (with a mic, of course) - and it was a huge hit with the audience. It always seems to break down any audience-performer barrier a little, they get to know you better, and plus it's just fun. I think I may just keep doing this.

Typically each concert this month followed a similar routine: I fly into the city at night, the next morning I visit an area high school or college to give a masterclass (or just talk/play a little), followed by a private rehearsal with the conductor, and finally at night rehearse with the orchestra. Usually there will be a second "dress" rehearsal the next day before the concert, but not always (as the case in Florida). In Florida, however, I had some extra time to sight-see and take pictures (which explains the extra photos).

I'm now in Texas (to perform with the Symphony of Southeast TX), the last of my "Escapades" concerts this month. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do a live TV interview on CBS, which I find incredibly fun. Something about being in front of a video camera live is very thrilling - I suppose really just like performing on stage. The conductor here is one of the most humble I've met, eating out all our meals together. I'll be doing my Demersseman orchestration again tonight as an encore, a real virtuosic piece that is a blast to perform and audiences have been very enthusiastic for. I'll make sure to take more photos and post them as soon as I can. Thanks again for visiting my journal and until next time...

Yours truly,


At sunset
Pier under the sun
Three trees
Outside the concert hall
Inside the hall
On Stage
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Florida trees
Shells on the beach
Evening in Punta Gorda
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View from the hotel
View of the hotel
Palm trees
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Seaweed on the beach
Sun on the water
Beach at sunset
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Windy trees
No rollerblading
Bridge over water
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Park trees
Pier at dusk
Another view
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Park outside the hotel
My shadow
Rocky beach
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Sun reflecting on water Me in my hotel

Great Falls, Montana
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Tree in a rock
Great Falls bench
Snowy bike
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Snowy streets at night Quiet roads More snow
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Dinosaur art The concert hall Another view
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View from the stage View of the stage My dressing room
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Dressing room with me Outside the concert hall Streets at dawn
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My hotel room View from above
Beaumont, Texas
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Outside the concert hall Live on CBS Another pic
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Dressing room sign Before the concert The stage
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Side view of the hall Concert hall lobby View of the balcony
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Balcony foyer Hall's fire escape My hotel room
London, England
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Streets of London The London Eye
Piccadilly Circus Fountain
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London Eye and Big Ben The Underground Tube
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