16 March, 2010

Confessions of a Workaholic

The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, which explains why I haven't been able to post here as regularly as I would have liked. That said, I'm happy to report that everything has gone really well.

My opera Vinkensport was a success, I think, both as a piece and in terms of its reception. Newspeak's residency at Princeton went very well, and only a week later we went into the studio to record our first CD, which was hard work, but very fun, and what I've heard of the tracks sound really great (and heavy!) (Pictures here.) I just got back from Chicago where I had the privilege to perform Corey Dargel's 13 Near-Death Experiences with ICE. I haven't composed any music since January...(I have done some orchestrations)...but I did turn in my dissertation.

Now, I love what I do...well, I wouldn't say that I "loved" writing the dissertation...and have learned an amazing amount from the diversity of my opportunities, especially from performing the music of other composers. But having just weathered three months of pure craziness does raise the question of how one balances a life like this. Throughout this whole period, as I was constantly unable to attend friend's shows, or see family, or, you know, eat dinner, I kept finding myself softly chanting "koyaanisqatsi". I definitely felt a sense of imbalance.

So far my approach to dealing with periods like this has been: get as much done as you can when you can, never really take too long a break, and sacrifice things like sleep, health, family, etc. Clearly, this is stupid. It's a very undergraduate way of living, and I really can't do it anymore. In fact, I think when you're an adult, the word for this kind of approach is "workaholic," and most things that end in "-aholic" aren't especially tenable. This, then, is to be my goal moving forward: To continue to produce as much as possible, but not to over-commit or over-extend myself.

I'll be sure to let you know how all this goes. But for now, it's off to Baltimore for a run of performances with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and then to plan a donor appreciation event for Newspeak, and write a sax quartet. But then that's it for a while. Really. I promise. I can stop anytime I want. I swear.