Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meet Erin R. Freeman

Hi! I’m Erin, and I’m the Associate Conductor of the Richmond Symphony!

Generally, my job is to conduct a lot of concerts with the Richmond Symphony, lead the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, and conduct and prepare the Richmond Symphony Chorus. Also, I spend a lot of my time sitting in rehearsals, watching and listening while the music director conducts. Officially, I’m “covering” – waiting for that moment when the conductor on the podium gets sick and I have to dramatically step in and save the day. (I like Steven, however, so I would never wish him unwell.)

Our recent production of Beethoven Lives Upstairs – part of our 2009-2010 Lollipops series. This year, we kick off the series with “Phantoms of the Orchestra.”

But, enough of what I do while I’m at CenterStage. You can just come to a concert and check it out in person! Here’s what I do in my off time:

I study – According to one teacher I had, it takes one hour of study time to learn one minute of music – and that’s if the music is straight forward, has no solo part, and doesn’t have words to learn. So, a typical Beethoven symphony would take about 40 full hours to learn. A Masterworks concert would take a minimum 90 hours to learn. If you have a 40-minute complex high Romantic or Modern piece (think Strauss or Mahler), add at least 20 hours. If you have text, add 10 – 20 hours depending on the language and number of words, etc.

Me studying Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for our May 2011 performance. You see my iPhone (it’s never far from my side) and two scores. The small one is mine. The large one is the one Robert Shaw used when he conducted the first performance of the Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971!

I cook – a lot – for a lot of people. My favorites are spicy sausage and broccoli rabe pasta, salmon with couscous, and anything with Swiss Chard (see below). I particularly enjoy the local produce that is available here in Virginia!

Here’s a dinner I cooked a while ago. Notice: it’s served on a stack of music. (I think that’s Brahms in the orange!)

And… I kick people – no, not the patrons or the musicians – but my fellow practitioners of taekwondo. I workout with the George Washington University club in DC, and I help teach a class here at VCU when I have time. I actually find a lot of similarities between the two arts – conducting and taekwondo, but perhaps I’ll save that for another post. In fact, a paper I wrote on that very idea is about to be published in the University of California at Berkeley Martial Arts Monograph!

Here I am in my other world: doing a flying kick in West Virginia a while back, and in the George Washington University gym celebrating receiving my black belt. (With me are a business woman, a structural engineer, and a lawyer. That’s a scary group!)

So, that’s about all. Now, I’m off to hear some Youth Orchestra auditions and prepare for the second rehearsal of the Symphony Chorus. Oh, and I have to finish that Chicken I’m cooking.

homepage sweet homepage: http://www.richmondsymphony.com/

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