How Not To Practice Prokofiev….

Recently, I was practicing the Prokofiev Concerto No.1 with my 3 and 5 year old girls running around thinking they were on the Broadway set of their favorite musical, The Lion King. This definitely goes under the title of the absurd-trying to concentrate and practice the wicked cadenza of the concerto while they were busy being Nala. Just another beautiful day in this mommy/concert violinist’s life that I love so dearly….!!

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The Epic Leipzig-Austin Journey…..

5 flight cancellations, 3 plane rides, 3 taxi rides, a bleary 4 AM wakeup call and I’m still not even close to the finish line. I have been traveling a very very long time. (26 hours so far) My day started at 4 AM in Leipzig and as I was in the taxi to the airport, I got a text that my flights were severely delayed from Frankfurt-Dallas-Austin.  I was desperate to see my family as I have been touring for 2 weeks, so I got on an earlier flight through Chicago on United.  After my 2 flights from Leipzig and Frankfurt, I landed in Chicago and found out my connecting flight was cancelled. After going through security again, my ticket needed to be issued correctly to actually get onto a flight so I waited again in another long line. Ah, the tediousness of travel…(Mr. Arvo Pärt…where is your beautiful music to help soothe my soul?)

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I got onto another AA flight only to wait, wait and wait until we finally got onto the plane. We rushed to wait another hour while inhaling dangerous toxic fuel fumes that had spilled all over the left wing of the plane (how does this happen AFTER one has sat on the plane for an hour will forever be a mystery). Now we were surrounded by the fire department who were worried that the plane might explode with all the fuel spilled every which way. It started raining and the pilot informed us the runway ramp was now shut down (I really am not making this up!)…. we finally got off the plane and waited another hour to be told our flight was cancelled. That was flight cancellation number 1. I won’t not bore you with all the rest of the gory details but just as I got onto flight #3, that flight was cancelled as well…I was about to cry and scream at the same time, but decided a giant glass of beer would be much more productive in my state. At the bar, a rowdy bar hopper asked me to please play some Bazzini. I told him to keep drinking…..26 hours later and after my 5th plane cancellation, I found the last remaining room in all of Chicago to stay for the night. If you find me at Chicago’s O’Hare busking in front of McDonald’s, you now know the entire sad story. Hopefully sometime tomorrow, I will be on my way home….

And to think just yesterday, I was performing Bach’s Concerto in A minor, Darf Ich, Passacaglia, Fratres and Air yesterday at the Gewandhaus with the amazing Kristjan Järvi and the MDR Leipzig Orchestra celebrating Arvo Pärt’s beautiful music….did this really happen or was it just a dream?

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Can You Play at Carnegie Hall This Weekend? (It’s a Trick Question…)

I was in the middle of preparing for my next monster recording with the London Symphony Orchestra less than 2 weeks away when I suddenly got a call on Wednesday morning from the Orpheus Orchestra. A conductor-less orchestra, they play with their ears and hearts, listening carefully and intensely to the musical line and dialogue of each voice, each phrase. Augustin Dumay had withdrawn from the rehearsal the following morning with concerts at Lafayette College in PA on Friday and Carnegie Hall on Saturday. Mendelssohn Concerto was on the marquis and it had been over 2 years since I performed it last, in Chautauqua, right after my second daughter was born. I was playing on Molly then too (the Molitor Strad) and never performed it on V (the ‘Vieuxtemps’ Del Gesu). The voice on the other end was asking, ‘Can you do it? Please save us?’ And before I could blink my eyes, I said YES!!! I will be there!! Less than 24 hours later, I was standing in front of Orpheus….Amazing how traveling in super-sonic warped speed mentally and emotionally and completely out of your comfort zone can challenge every one of your molecules but it was so incredible to work again with such passionate colleagues. The moment I stepped onto both stages, I knew I made the right decision….

 

Photo by Kevin Hagen for the New York Times

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My sweet girlies

On stage at Carnegie Hall

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In my dressing room

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With the amazing Orpheus Orchestra

Working it

 

Smooching my hero, Wynton Marsalis

Smooching my hero, Wynton Marsalis

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Wynton Marsalis

Um, Just call me Maestro

Thank you Orpheus Orchestra for 2 beautiful evenings of Mendelssohn!

 

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A Musical Sunday…

Really excited to appear on CBS Sunday Morning with esteemed journalist, Dean Reynolds this Sunday at 9 AM EST. Here are a couple of pics from the day I was interviewed about genius violin maker, Guarneri del Gesu. The violin I play on was made in 1741 and has had no face-lifts or tummy tucks in 274 years! Incredible!!

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Let’s Party Like It’s 2015!!

I have much to be thankful for and am so grateful for your support and interest in my music. I am thrilled to discover that I was the top-selling instrumentalist of 2014 on the traditional classical Billboard charts.  Looking forward to seeing you in the new year and wishing all of you a wonderful 2015!

Google Play listed The American Masters as one of the Best of 2014:

 

My performance of Mason Bates’ Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin was chosen as John von Rhein’s Most noteworthy new-music encounters at the CSO of 2014.

The 2 winners of Genero.tv’s ‘Lullaby for Natalie’ was a global competition held to produce a video showcasing John Corigliano’s gorgeous lullaby from the American Masters album:

Get your free download of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ and watch exclusive behind the scenes video footage.

The Vivaldi Triple Concerto (From Just Don’t Call Me Swamp Thing blog entry):

 

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Destination, Paradise Bakery, Aspen, CO

DD and me in Aspen

DD and me in Aspen

I was 14 years old when I first played for Dorothy DeLay at the Aspen Music School. I met her years before when I performed with the New York Philharmonic and she was sitting backstage waiting for a student of hers. I had heard so much about her- I think I saw a halo around her entire person-I was in awe.
I sent her a cassette tape and she invited me to play for her in Aspen-I will never forget that moment when I stepped into the church and saw her waiting for me. I brought the Wieniawski Concerto No.2 and was incredibly nervous-I am not sure how my fingers moved. After a little bit of time, she smiled so widely and was like a loving grandmother to me. After spending my first summer here, she invited me to go to the Juilliard School. I remember many lessons, eating perpetually at Paradise Bakery, going to the music school in the beautiful mountains, meeting so many new friends and going to many concerts. It was the start of a beautiful relationship that deeply informed my teenage years and continued till she passed away. Coming back now with my young daughters and husband by my side, on the cusp of giving a recital including 3 world premieres with fabulous pianist, Anton Nel, I cannot help but remember her knowing smile, her love for all of us violin kiddos, and my dreams of becoming a concert violinist.

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The Soul of the World’s Most Expensive Violin

Recently, I spoke and performed some Vivaldi excerpts with Linda Wertheimer at the NPR Studios in Washington D.C. for Morning Edition.

March 07, 2014 3:15 AM

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR's Studio 1.

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR’s Studio 1.

Jim Tuttle/NPR

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

Meyers joined Morning Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer in NPR’s studios to demonstrate the historic instrument’s unique character and the extraordinary gamut of color it is able to produce.

“I had to try it, and instantly fell in love,” Meyers says. “It was an incredible chemistry that occurred.”

The violin is named for its most famous owner, the leading 19th-century Belgian virtuoso and composer Henri Vieuxtemps, who loved it so much he wanted to be buried with it. “I think every violin has its own soul, and the soul has been imprinted by a previous performer,” Meyers says. “So I definitely feel the soul of Vieuxtemps on this violin.”

Luckily, it’s still with us. After being played by some of the most pre-eminent violinists — and, for the past five decades, stored under the bed of its previous owner — the violin is making its 21st-century recording debut. Meyers and the violin are part of the new recording The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album.

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“You know, I’m so honored to be playing this instrument, to hold history in my hands, but also to know how to use it,” Meyers says. “You could be given a Lamborghini or a Ferrari and not know how to drive it. But I’m lucky, you know, to have been performing my whole life, and been working with these instruments. So it’s just so inspirational to me.”

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Just Don’t Call Me Swamp Thing…

I knew I was in trouble when the director of the Triple Video sat me down and told me to just hear him out. “What we want you to do is go underwater with the violin. We want to see bubbles coming from your mouth once you are completely submerged in the water. Obviously, we will have to do this in one take.”

Really?

After scouring Ebay, I found my accomplice-a $140+$60 for shipping stunt double “Guarneri model” made in China. Yes, that’s right…$60 for shipping.  Well, it was coming all the way from China!

When it arrived, I heard a large rattling sound and saw that the sound post was loose and rolling around the entire belly of the violin.  When I asked the maker (factory rep) what to do to correct it, they answered briskly, “Get a professional or teacher to insert tweezers into the violin and position the sound post.” Hmmm.  Suddenly I was a dentist? For some strange reason, I was determined to make this rattling piece of spruce sing but surrendered after the director said he needed to tape it to help seal out the water when it was to be ‘Excalibured’ over and over.

I hesitantly put on a beautiful gown made by the beautiful Parisian fashion house, J Mendel, and knew I would emerge a different woman after my one and only shot at water submersion. After spending the day in the cold water shooting many scenes all while fearing water snakes might make their way up my gown, here is the one and only take!

The 3 solo voices of the Triple Concerto are symbolized as water, fog and ice.

PS I did send the dress to the cleaners but it sadly never made it back the same a la Stephen King’s ‘Pet Semetary’.

 

 

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Recipe: How to Make a CD

Well, you must be 2 parts crazy and 2 parts insane. What got me started was finding out that Vivaldi died in 1741 and the Ex-‘Vieuxtemps’ Guarneri was born in 1741-one of the most incredible coincidences ever. Along the way, I also discovered this would be the debut recording of this legendary instrument-preserved for the last 50 years under a very discriminating bed in London. The violin that master violinist and composer, Henri Vieuxtemps would have liked to have been buried with.

This past August, I not only recorded the Four Seasons in London with the awesome English Chamber Orchestra, but decided to one up my last recording by playing all the parts of the Triple Concerto. On my way to London the second time in September to record Barber, Bates and Corigliano with the London Symphony, I donned headphones and put down Vivaldi violin parts two and three in New York. I also learned and recorded Arvo Part’s beautiful ‘Passacaglia’, which I performed in Estonia a few weeks prior with the composer close by…

my piles of music...

my piles of music…

There was the editing of the music, arranging for a photography team to come to Austin to shoot the album cover (all the while getting eaten ALIVE by mosquitoes), writing the liner notes, making a new website (will let you know when that is ready), new video and multimedia features, travel, concerts, practice, and lots of runny noses later, here we are! A pre-order link! The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album

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Jingle Bells 2013

Happy Holidays…..What an incredible year it has been and I want to thank every audience member, fan, colleague, family member and friend for making my year so worthwhile. I was in so many wonderful places this year-Taiwan, Latvia, Estonia, New York, London, Scottsdale, Nashville, Buffalo, Detroit, San Luis Obispo, Pasadena the list goes on and on.

What made all these cities so incredibly memorable was the audience’s reactions to the concerts and their precious comments after each concert. Signing autographs for little children and adults who decided to try a classical music concert for the first time in their lives. They all left me with a giant impression and memory….thank you to all for coming out and listening..I so look forward to the places I will visit in 2014.…I am so thankful to all of you for listening and feeling the music. See you in 2014! Anne

 

Backstage in Reno with my 2 bambino's...

Backstage in Reno with my 2 bambino’s…

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