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Jan 4 11

almost ready for CD release!

by alberstrio

We have seen quite a bit of each other recently and will continue the trend over the next couple of months. It is rare that we all spend the holidays in the same place, but since Mom lives in Hawaii and she’s turning 60 in January, we three plus spouses found our way to the tropics to celebrate Christmas and an early birthday! We even performed a movement of a Brahms quartet as a birthday toast (with Becca on violin!). On the 27th, we began our journeys home/to the next destination. Becca made it back to Minnesota and Julie and I got to New York in no less than three days. Whew!

As I write this, I am on a plane home from NY. After being away since the beginning of December, I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed, ride my bike and see my friends! I’ll make a quick turnaround, since we begin this season’s Trio rehearsals on Sunday in Minnesota. I hope our CD will be ready to release during the days we are together in Minnesota. It has been a long time in coming and as I prepare our first Trio newsletter of 2011, I am looking back on the one I wrote at the beginning of 2010. We had, at the time, hoped to be done with our CD by summer. In fact, the one thing that only took the amount of time we thought it would was the actual recording. We booked three days in a studio and by the end of the three days, our recording had to be finished. Now, several months after our hoped-for summer release, we are finally almost done! Trying to find the time for this sort of project in our busy year, which included two weddings and a new job, among other things, was a surprising challenge. Each edit had to be listened to by all three of us, then after thorough discussion of each point, we’d send an e-mail back to our engineer. Andreas would then work on what we’d discussed and send it back to us. Then we’d repeat the entire process. During the actual recording session, there were microphones on each of us and also in the room to pick up the group sound. Andreas worked with different mixes of our sound to create the final mastered CD. He initially mixed a movement of each the Martinu and the Mozart and sent us these files through an FTP server, which I then download into our shared Dropbox for easier access. Each of us listened on several types of speakers- including home stereos, car stereos, computers, noise canceling headphones and friend’s sound systems. It was amazing how not only the sound changed, but the instruments had different “positions in the room” depending on each setup. By the time we’d decided on our final mastering, we were all in Hawaii and Andreas fed-exed us a copy of the entire CD for approval before he uploaded the files on to Oasis’s website. In the midst of these musical discussions, our designer was furiously working on a CD design which met all three of our approval and upheld his design integrity. Kai had endless patience with us and my husband acted as our go-between, translating all of our jumbled e-mails to Kai in design terms. There were lengthy video chat discussions, tears of frustration, excitement at seeing each new design, and hours spent fixing up the wording for our CD booklet. The only words in order long before the design process began were the great program notes written by Beeri. The CD design and CD mastering were completed right about the time I realized there were more legal papers to put in order. I scrambled during my free time in Hawaii, making phone calls and filling out forms. Miraculously, when Julie arrived home in NY, most of her mail had been held, but the one paper we needed was sitting in her box. She and I looked over our CD album proofs to check for coloring today and they are now in the mail for Becca’s final approval. Once this is done, I will call Oasis and the production of our CD will be begin!

Our newsletter will go out as soon as the CD is finished. You’ll hear about our upcoming season, Concerts in Motion (the musical charity we are working with), and find out how to purchase the Albers Trio CD. Be sure to subscribe via our  newly remodeled website if you haven’t already. Cheers to 2011, a new year full of health, wealth and happiness!

Apr 8 10

the recording process

by laura

We began our recording session three weeks ago today, although it feels like much more time has passed.  We have collectively flow about 22,000 miles since then and currently I’m the only one not on the road.

Our three days in the recording studio are documented in this final video of our “CD-in-the-works” series.   It is the longest movie yet, but fitting three days into eight minutes was no easy feat!  Please click here to be directed to the Vimeo webpage and use the password alberstrio.  Near the end of the movie, we all give our thoughts on the entire recording process.  Looking back on it now, it is easy to see the exhaustion and relief in each of us but also the simple joy of completing the most difficult step in this project, which had been in the planning for over a year.

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During the drive back to the city, we took turns exclaiming, “Wow, it’s really over!” and “I can’t believe we actually did it!” and “I never thought this day would come!”.  I think what surprised us the most was, upon going our separate ways, we actually decided we’d meet up later for dinner and celebratory drinks.  More fun pictures will soon be posted on our facebook page.

Finally, we want to thank Andreas Meyer of Meyer Media and the Clubhouse’s engineer, Matt, for keeping the entire process running smoothly.  Andreas was tolerant, funny, full of very helpfully insights and generally the best producer we could have found anywhere.   Matt assisted with anything and everything, and, most importantly, kept us happily fed!

Mar 21 10

CD prep

by laura

I’m pretty behind on all of these movies but there hasn’t been a ton of extra time between travel, trio concerts and recording.  We finished up the recording session yesterday evening and after a celebratory night back in NYC, we went our separate ways.  Becca is teaching tomorrow in Michigan then finally heading home, Julie already left for her much belated tropical honeymoon and I’ll be on an afternoon flight to Ireland.

The recording session was fun at times and completely exhausting.  We gave it everything we had and now excitedly anticipate a mid-June release date.  This next video clip is five minutes of  Mozart rehearsal, a short bit of Martinu and some funny conversation from the weeks preceding our recording.  Please click here to watch it and type in the password alberstrio.

When I return to San Francisco I will be working on the final video for our “CD in the works” collection… the actual recording process.  We’ve got footage of our time in the studio, our producer and assistant engineer hard at work and our thoughts on the entire process!img_2633

Mar 17 10

photo shoot

by laura

We begin recording our CD tomorrow and I  finally finished putting together a short, fun video documenting our photo shoot in San Francisco.  This took place at the beginning of the month and since then we have performed in Carmel, California, Lawrence, Kansas and Boston.  All three concerts allowed us the opportunity to play either Mozart or Martinu, both of which are going on our CD.  If you’d like to watch our photo shoot video, click here.  The password is alberstrio.  Please check back soon for our next “CD in-the-works” video!

Jan 29 10

January conclusion

by laura

What a whirlwind week we just had!  We visited Colorado, Texas and Santa Fe, and it feels like we spent more time traveling than in any one place.  Although we were going to and from the same places, we still managed to fly different airlines at different hours (one of our travel specialties!).  Miraculously nobody had delays and we always met up as planned.

Some highlights of this tour…

We filled all three auditoriums and received standing ovations each night.

We had the opportunity to work with Yeol Eum Son in Corpus Christi and Santa Fe, performing the Dvorak E flat major piano quartet.   We look forward to seeing her again in New York!

The presenters, chamber music society board members, drivers and everyone else we had contact with were so nice and wonderfully helpful in every way.

Becca, Julie and I ran together, in shorts, in the Texas sunshine.  Because of them I began a virtual training buddy blog and am working on a website for my new business.  We also spent our freimg_29152e day at the Padre Island National Seashore.  The picture was a lucky shot I took of them!

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Our music-making is becoming more spontaneous, creative and fun by the concert!

We have a month off from Trio concerts but CD preparation continues individually…

Jan 20 10

Advertising

by laura

img_0711Last weekend we sold out our two concerts at the Mondavi Center in Davis, California, and were left wondering if this was more a result of inspiring kids from our school outreach programs to bring their parents or the enormous picture advertising the Albers Trio in the lobby.  The picture snapped with my phone really doesn’t do it justice but it’s here for entertainment purposes nonetheless.

We began 2010 in California, with a week of rehearsals then a concert at the gorgeous Villa Montalvo in Saratoga.  We then headed the opposite direction for a week in Davis.  Our days were filled with wonderful volunteers driving us to and from events.  We did school outreach programs, played a house concert and had the opportunity to work with composer Ross Bauer before we tour with his trio, Tathata.

We visited six schools and the programs we saw left me with the optimistic view that music is indeed still valued and well taught in some public schools!  We approached these outreach with a scripted program, which we varied according to age and classroom interest.  We wanted to share the likeness of communication in music to spoken conversation and discuss the many venues of musical expression.  In doing so, I was inspired to really examine my own playing and communication, both with my sisters and our audiences.

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Our week in Davis was more than music!  We made friends with a group of hydraulic engineers thanks to our hotel’s free nightly happy hour and were that obnoxious “group of ten” for Thai food one evening.  We also made good use of the Hallmark Inn’s cruiser bicycles and did some good advertising for them in the process.  Check out those flags!  Mostly we biked with a final food destination, like the Austrian pastry shop. Saturday morning included a sneaked visit (the guard let us stay) to UC Davis’s delightful outdoor lap pool and an oogling of Davis’s finest produce at their amazing farmers market.

We seperated for two days and, collectively, fit in several hours of teaching at U of M, three video game recording sessions at Skywalker ranch, long dog walks in the NYC cold, and everything else that needs to happen when one passes briefly through home base. We meet in Colorado this evening!

Dec 21 09

Adventures in MI

by laura

We began our trio season last week in Ann Arbor, where Becca rented us the charming Washington House.  We caught up on much-needed sleep, got a head start on this season’s trio rehearsals and practiced individually.   We also found time to visit with friends and play Beatles Rock Band at Best Buy.   We were miserably bad at it and scored bonus points for “playing” together only when we all gave up at the same time!

We performed at U of M Friday night to a nice last minute crowd of students and friends.  Our big change for this year is performing standing.  Julie is, of course, on a podium and Becca and I stand for more freedom of music and movement.  Our first experiment with this setup was quite enjoyable and we received many positive comments.

The week went smoothly until Saturday morning when we attempted our journey to Cleveland.  Julie was out scraping the car way before dawn while Becca and I dragged ourselves out of bed. I got a nose bleed as we were walking out the door, then the car got stuck at a stop sign as it tried to climb a hill in the ice.  The windshield wipers were working to clear all spots except directly where Julie needed to see and the first two gas pumps we tried were out of order- with no sign.   Besides the drive taking us an extra hour, we made it to Cleveland in one piece and had an excellent coaching with our dear friend and mentor Annie Fullard.  All three of us have worked with the Cavani String Quartet at different points in our life and we were thrilled that Annie was willing to hear our Mozart Saturday morning.  I am excited to take many of Annie’s ideas and experiment with them over the next few weeks on my own.  I am inspired to practice and after the week in Ann Arbor, have for myself a clear musical direction.

As a side note, we all went our separate ways Saturday afternoon.   Julie was the lucky one who stayed put, I was fortunate to get to NYC on the only flight not cancelled and Becca will hopefully be in the tropics by tonight!

We also have a new mailing list, which can be found on our “contact us” page.  Happy Holidays and please look for another posting in January!

Nov 14 09

Up Next…

by laura

Trio season begins in a month. It’s going to be a busy month for all of us, including trio music preparation, other work and, for two of us, a Honolulu vacation to visit our parents. Trio preparation involves studying both our own parts and the score of all three parts to see how they are put together. We also listen to various recordings, exploring musical ideas and interpretation. YouTube is a fun resource because it’s easily shared and at least for me, I tend to have a better attention span when I’m watching rather than just listening. This year we are touring with a string trio by Ross Bauer, a composer at UC Davis. In works like his “Tathata” it is especially beneficial for us to know both our own part and every complexity of how it fits with the other two. This drastically improves our efficiency in the initial rehearsals. We will begin our rehearsal cycle in Ann Arbor so Becca can split her time between trio and U of M juries. I’ll arrive straight from Hawaii (cheering Mom on as she runs her first marathon!) and Julie from teaching in Atlanta. This weekend I’m heading to Colorado with my fiancé to meet with caterers and sample wedding cake. I’m hoping to enjoy a little snow also! I’ll fly from Denver to Las Vegas for a recital with Julie. As the month progresses, I’ll wrap up opera season and the last few performances of Othello. Julie and Becca will go about their daily lives, performing, teaching and spending free moments with significant others and pets. Becca has two new adorable cats and Julie’s puppy still gets four walks a day! Our lives individually are full and wonderful but we’re all looking forward to sister time!

Aug 11 09

Champagne for Beethoven

by laura

Our final concert of the season took place a few weeks ago in Colorado.  It was the first time we performed the Mozart Divertimento and all of us were pleased by the performance.  Usually there are mixed reviews but this time we all thoroughly enjoyed the creativity and spontaneity of it.   After a year of programming the work, it started feeling like “home” to me.   I don’t know how else to describe it, but we were in the zone!

We also performed our newest Beethoven and after my short talk about the piece, the girls were trying their best to hold it together.   It never ceases to amaze me how silly I can sound when I speak in front of an audience.   I credit that to dropping my highschool speech class.   I am practicing, hopefully improving, by the performance but after one of those speeches it usually takes me a few minutes to settle into the music.   What else can I say about our Beethoven performance?  Celebratory cocktails!  Our first Beethoven rehearsal was interrupted midway by somebody suggesting that we “take a break” for champagne and St. Germain.  I had gotten engaged two days before and Julie showed up in Colorado with the makings of my favorite girly drink!  Needless to say, the second half of Beethoven rehearsal didn’t happen that day.  This is not to say we didn’t rehearse more before the concert; we did find more rehearsal time between frequenting the coffee houses and hiking in the national park.

One of my favorite things about being a musician is traveling to a great location and enjoying what it has to offer.  One of my favorite things about being part of the Albers Trio is doing this with my sisters!

Jul 13 09

Finding Balance

by laura

I am sitting on another plane, contemplating life and schedule and balance. Over a year ago our trio gave a talk together at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference. One of the things we were asked to speak about was finding balance. It was very interesting for me to hear how balance meant something totally different to each of us.
Read on to see how I am attempting to find balance these days…
At the moment I’m heading towards New Mexico for a few days of vacation. I love to roadtrip through the Southwest and end up in Colorado but this year I decided to save time and my back from so many hours of sitting. Opera season ended last week and I just finished an extra optional week of work. It was fun playing with a different group of people than usual and sitting concertmaster for the week. We performed twice, all opera excepts, including some from shows I haven’t played and I enjoyed a my few solos. I generally don’t take the extra work because I like to get out of town as soon as regular season ends. This year I experimented with not leaving immediately, in the interest of being home with my boyfriend and actually making money before spending it the rest of the summer! It was a successful and thoroughly enjoyable experiment. In addition to the previously stated benefits, I had time to run, see friends, practice, make dinner (and cinnamon rolls for Saturday brunch!) and collect myself before taking off. I have only fun summer travels ahead of me and think I found a good balance: one trio concert, one race, one new baby visit and a possible overseas friend visit.
I have barely spoken with Julie or Becca in the past month but we’ll see each other again in a little over a week and I’m looking forward to hearing about all of their summer adventures! Stay tuned for an update from the Colorado Rockies!