Holidays 2009 – Where Has This Year Gone?!

December 15th, 2009

It’s that time of year again – we are checking our Christmas lists, stuffing ourselves with food, and having a brief respite from the fall’s hectic schedule. 2009 was a busy year, and it feels strange not needing to pack my bags and hop on a plane while hurriedly relearning something from the standard repertoire. It’s hard for me to enjoy being in one place, but I think I can manage – especially with food, family, and friends all around!

Early 2010, I will be in Reno, Tahoe, northern California, Austin, Twin Falls, central Ohio, Dallas, Kansas, and Cleveland for concerts, playing a smorgasbord of old and new repertoire (including Bach concerti, a 20th century recital program, and others). I also have upped the number of concerts I willing attend (it’s sometimes hard to enjoy seeing many different concerts when you are constantly in an auditorium). In fact, seeing Mr. Perlman play Schindler’s List in Avery Fisher Hall last week was unforgettable. Talk about charisma and melting tone. Wow.

This week and next, I have holiday-oriented concerts in Ohio. For some reason, I never tire of the feel-good melodies and good cheer shared by everyone. I do, however, have to curb my appetite. I’ve been eating and eating, and my time on the treadmill should increase proportionately!

So, a musical resolution for next season is to add more unfamiliar repertoire to the schedule – Bruch 2 (listening to James Ehnes play this now), Schumann concerto and Fantasy, Elgar, the Red Violin Chaconne, and Shostakovich. Hopefully orchestras will agree with me on this. Obviously, the Mendelssohn’s and Beethoven’s of the world aren’t going anywhere, but I believe a week of Joan Tower’s concerto would be thrilling! I’m doing my first 20th century recital program EVER this coming spring, and even that repertoire (Ravel/Stravinsky/Ysaye/others) is relatively tame. Any ideas?

I hope everyone is staying warm, wherever you may be, and making the most of the season. Us musicians are so lucky, and we have so much to be thankful for. As Confucius stated: “Find what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” Well, I’m here to tell you that there are many many “work” days, but there is a lot of truth to that statement. Oh, speaking of work…look out for a new recording arriving soon…details to come later…I’m allowed to tease, right?

Anyways, enough rambling, and I promise it won’t be another eight weeks before the next blog update…

Hope everyone is enjoying the new website!

~A

Winter? In October?

October 14th, 2009

This morning, there was frost on my car. We are halfway through October – I was a little surprised and more than a little disheartened! I should start buckling down for the six months of winter Cleveland is destined to have. Oh well…

It has been a chaotic last month. Since my season started a mere four weeks ago, I have played nine times (ten including this week), and much of the rep has been different. This week, I am back in Ohio playing Mendelssohn – a familiar piece in a familiar place. Finally, I have a moment to breathe. Oh wait, I have to learn two all-Ravel programs for the end of this month – yikes! I was in Boise last month as guest concertmaster for the Boise Philharmonic and had a lovely time meeting cellist Zuill Bailey. Next month, I travel to warmer weather (Houston and St. Louis) for Mendelssohn and Beethoven, and then make my New York City recital debut in December.

I hope everyone enjoys the new site, courtesy of DE Web Design. I will have the concert page updated soon, as there are several additions. Any ideas for a fun photo shoot?

Will write more next time – going to warm up a glass of cider and learn the Mendelssohn concerto (in e minor, right?) for this weekend.

Best,
A

Tchaikovsky, or…

August 2nd, 2009

After checking my reflection in the bright lights of the dressing room mirror, I retune.  I didn’t particularly need to, but I figured I should check the strings before going onstage for 40 minutes.  A-D, D-G, A-E.  Yup, all good.  I start the first movement of the Tchaikovsky, jump to the sixths in the cadenza, begin the third movement, and run through the final scale at half tempo.  I felt good, the instrument sounded good, and I was looking forward to launching into Mr. Tchaikovsky’s Opus 35 again.  A knock at the door:  “Five minutes…five minutes.  Overture’s almost through.”  I follow the portly man to the stage door, and smooth out my sweaty palms on the ebony Klein dress pants.  The familiar feeling of adrenaline started to pulse through me, and I plucked the strings absent-mindedly, hoping the finger slip I had with the concerto in California wouldn’t return tonight.  How many times had I played the Tchaikovsky now?  A lot – I had no reason to be nervous…yet, those demons occasionally come back.  A board member approaches me, and gives a little smile.  “We are so excited for tonight!  Isn’t the orchestra fun?”  “Yes,” I respond politely, “I can’t wait to be onstage with them again.”  “Well, we can’t wait, either,” she enthuses.  “Everyone here LOVES the Sibelius concerto.”

Excuse me?  Sibelius?  With the tenths and fingered octaves and rapid passagework and I have approximately 3 minutes until I go onstage?  The Sibelius, after I’ve been working up the Tchaikovsky for the last two weeks?  I would be digging my own grave onstage in front of a thousand people…

That was my nightmare a couple of evenings ago.  It was so vivid, I could feel the backstage adrenaline, sweaty palms, and fear.  I woke up in a cold sweat.  About once or twice a year, I have these nightmares where I’m about to walk onstage and it’s a different concerto than the one I’m expecting.  I mean, it could be worse…I could ACTUALLY walk onstage (a la David Oistrakh’s famous story), stand there convinced I have three minutes of the Beethoven introduction before my entrance, and realize that the orchestra began the Mendelssohn and I have six beats to be ready.  Sigh.  I’ve heard many artists have various forms of paranoia – this is mine.

Anyways, summer 2009 is almost over, and I haven’t blogged once!  This has been the first summer since I was 12 that I haven’t attended or performed at a festival.  It was quite a nice break, and after the past year, I certainly needed to recharge.   I spent a couple of weeks in Canada vegging out, listened to some area students, and this month, I fly to Delaware and California to visit family and friends.  Then, the madness begins in September.  I’m playing the Mendelssohn concerto again for the first time in what feels like decades;  returning to works of Beethoven, Grieg, and Franck for recitals;  rehashing the Beethoven, Bruch, Mozart 5, and Tchaikovsky concerti;  and going to a foreign genre for me – the baroque concerti of Vivaldi and Bach.  I’m looking forward to it.  I may not have the same sentiments come November, but for now, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine!

Though it has felt like spring in Cleveland since April, today is shaping up to be a pleasant day outside.  I’m thinking the dog park is a must, as well as Starbucks and outdoor reading.  This summer, I’ve read my standard Follett and Patterson novels, knocked away another Shakespeare, and thoroughly endorse Barbara Walters’ autobiography.  Today, I’ll probably relax with a People or GQ magazine…I’m in the mood for some shallow reading!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer, and looking forward to seeing you at the fall concerts!

Yours from the Midwest (today),

Andrew


Mozart, Grieg, and Franck Program Notes for May 2nd Recital

May 10th, 2009

Today, there are nineteen standard sonatas for “piano and violin” left by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). Eighteen of them are straightforward, classical in nature, and each in a major key. The lone sonata written in minor, his e minor K. 304, was composed under somber circumstances.

During the concert season of 1777-1778, Mozart was engaged to play a tour of Paris with his sister, premiering many of his earlier violin sonatas, and certainly playing at least one of his concerti (composed about three years prior). His K. 301-306 sonatas are now referred to as his Paris-Mannheim sonatas, and commence a new chapter in his maturity. During this tour, Mozart’s mother, Anna Maria Pertl, actually was reported to have accompanied her children, even though she was not recognized for her abilities. In July of 1778, Frau Mozart died of fever, and Mozart immediately set to work composing this sonata for he and sister Maria Anna “Nannerl” to play, and thus this sonata is very significant in Mozart’s maturing from adolescence to adulthood. Though the two movements (Allegro and Tempo di Menuetto) are quite clearly classical in form, the somberness and melancholic feelings pervading the work had rarely been heard from by the talented composer, and certainly would not appear in his violin catalogue until the second movement of his Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola a year later.

This sonata has special significance for me as well. The first weekend in April 2005, I was to play two recitals, each opening with the Mozart e minor. The day of the first recital, I learned of my grandfather’s passing. Each recital, I dedicated this sonata to his memory, and since then I have had a personal connection with this work.

The c minor sonata by Edvard Grieg, Op. 45 (1843-1907) remains the most popular of his three sonatas, and was completed while Grieg was residing in Troldhaugen, Norway. Occupying a standard place in the violin repertoire, this sonata has memorable themes, a sense of drama throughout, and shows off the instrument well. Written in c minor, a key well remembered for heroicism (Beethoven Sonata Op. 30 No. 2, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the second movement of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony), there is a sense of virility and conquest in the opening movement. There is a feeling of uneasiness and nervousness, as portrayed by the consistent syncopations. The second movement, opening eerily like a contemporary pop ballad, has a gorgeous theme in E major, and a rustic secondary theme that hints at the playful. The Finale opens with a Nordic theme, emphasizing the interval of the fifth throughout, and is demanding of both instruments. I became quickly enamored with the piece after hearing the energetic Leila Josefowicz perform it, and programmatically, the sonata usually fits very well.

Last summer, I was asked to play the Franck A major sonata on very short notice. Never having played this work before, as I held a great deal of reverence and awe for its emotional range and reputation as a pinnacle of the repertoire, I approached it with trepidation. After a couple days of stalling and avoiding the work at all costs, I turned to an invaluable aid: Anita Pontremoli. I had already worked on many concerti and sonatas with Anita, and learned so much each time. Patiently, she worked through the sonata with me over the course of a week, and we have since performed it a couple of times. It is with a great deal of gratitude that I culminate my senior recital by collaborating with Anita on the Cesar Franck Sonata.

Cesar Franck (1822-1890) was born in Liege, Belgium (not France, as so many will state), to German parents who coerced him into a piano career. Befriending the Olympian-talented (and sized) violinist Eugene Ysaye, this sonata was written for his wedding. Like Ysaye’s six Op. 27 unaccompanied violin sonatas, the Franck sonata has a feeling of rhythmic flexibility, and is clearly written with the violinist in mind. A autobiographical sense surrounds this work, with the leisurely, innocent opening movement representing youth; a hormonal, highly-charged second movement as young adulthood; the Recitativo-Fantasia movement representing older age and reflection; and the final Allegro (in a canon between the two instruments) looking back on a life well-lived. I never tire of this sonata, and though it is rather emotionally draining, I am honored to share the stage with Anita Pontremoli for its duration.

A special thanks to Pi-Ju Chiang for her willingness to rehearse and collaborate; to Linda Cerone and David Russell for reining me in and helping this recital come together; to Charlie Tyler for relentlessly (albeit sometimes reluctantly) lending a pair of ears to this learning process; to Virginia Weckstrom, for listening to so much collaborative rep over the years; to Anita Pontremoli, for an exorbitant amount of hours of help and collaboration; and to my family, for always coming to this soirees.

Greetings from Lerner Tower

April 24th, 2009

Hello from University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio on a balmy April day.  No, I’m not the one laying in a hospital bed–I am visiting a good family friend who just had double bypass surgery.  Actually, this generous woman has hosted a number of private recitals at her residence.  I bring Chinese food and laughter to the unit, and it serves as a good practice break.

The last four weeks have been insane.  I had a rough bout with food poisoning the day of a recital, flew to the South for a concerto performance, had two subsequent weeks with multiple performances, and am feeling sorry for myself now with incoming allergies.  Ah, well.  Plus, I misplaced my sheet music to the Beethoven concerto cadenzas – yikes!  Next month, I have Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and then I’m finally done for the season!  What a season it’s been, too – twelve months ago, I was in the Cayman Islands, and since then, I’ve performed Brahms, Bruch, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, numerous chamber performances, several recitals, changed residences, served as concertmaster for several weeks…I’m looking forward to a summer of relaxation and vacationing.  I will be in northern Ontario for four weeks, and the respite will be well worth it.

The next Cleveland concert is the Beethoven Concerto with the Suburban Symphony on May 17th.  This concert will be special for me – not only because it’s a “hometown” concert, but because I will have family, friends, former teachers, and colleagues there.  After many concerts where you don’t recognize anyone in the audience, I can’t help but grin when I walk out and see friends and family.  Martin Kessler (conductor) has been a standard name in the area, and I look forward to collaborating with him!

***pause***

I was just discussing next year’s schedule with a family friend here in the unit who just remarked….”So you were in Idaho this year?  Isn’t that, like, just east of the Dakotas???”  I never fail to be entertained here.  Holy moly.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful spring!  I’m loving this warm weather…the oppressive six months of winter in the Midwest finally seems to be giving way to outdoor pool and sunning temperatures.  Finally!

Lots of errands to run…I need to get the fiddle repolished, purchase new strings, rehair the bow…the whole kit and kaboodle.    Tonight, I’m seeing a preview of a theatrical show, and I have some work this weekend ahead of me.  Hoping everyone is have a safe, happy, and productive spring 2009!!!

xo,

Andrew


Spring 2009 – Reflections

March 22nd, 2009

The first weekend of spring 2009.  Wow.  Remember when all the concern and hoopla surrounding Y2k was in the media – and now it is 2009.   Many of my high school classmates are married or starting families;  we have a new administration;  the recession is affecting everyone;  yet ticket sales are up more than ever for concerts.  It’s a strange time we’re in.

I look back over the last two years, and I feel very lucky.  2 years ago this weekend I played Brahms concerto for the first time with orchestra (albeit with strep throat, a lymph node infection, and a high fever), was making my first trip to Asia, preparing to play Beethoven for the first time, and thinking I was busy.  Now, with a different program to play almost every week, I wish I were less busy!  Studying with Chee-Yun (post CIM days) changed my life and outlook on music.  The occasional collaboration with Robert Franz turned into a new post and monthly concerts.  The very women from the Collaborative Department at the Cleveland Institute of Music who taught me the sonata repertoire are playing recitals and chamber music with me – a dream come true.  And yet, I find the outreach performances the most rewarding – the inspiring letters and pictures from Webster Elementary School in St. Augustine, Florida recently were very touching!

Speaking of St. Augustine, I spent a week there in February for 2 Bruch performances, an outreach, and a very fun interview with WFCF – I miss my hosts and the musicians a great deal.  Warm, charming, and incredibly hospitable people.  The orchestra was also very accommodating during my disastrous travel home (all part and parcel of this job).  Blizzards shut down the airports in the Southeast…I ended up staying an extra night and taking six flights for 1200 miles the following day.  Without luggage.  Sigh.

Additionally, I have played a couple recitals, Tchaikovsky concerto, orchestral performances, and just played a fun Brahms chamber music concert last night.  This upcoming week, I am preparing for a Cleveland area recital, Mozart 4 in Austin, a Rock&Roll inspired photo shoot, and a radio interview on the necessity of classical music in today’s uncertain times.  Not to mention, my taxes need to be completed soon.  It’s been nice rehearsing in Cleveland for the chamber concert – catching up with CIM friends, family, and area musicians has been a blast.  I’m enjoying this Sunday off – I’m probably taking my Lab to the park (don’t tell him that…), and starting work on this next program.  In fact, I’m still in pajamas as I type this!   Not to mention, there is a very exciting Desperate Housewives on tonight.  I know, I know…we all have our vices!

I will start updating more regularly – I think it’s been about 10 weeks since the last blog.  However, for now, I’m going to go memorize these showpieces for the upcoming recital.  I’m behind on that repertoire…

Happy Spring to all!

A


New Year’s – with the glass half full…

January 6th, 2009

I know, I know…it’s been forever since I’ve blogged…since last year, actually!   I needed to wait for many things to settle down and the dust to clear before penning thoughts, events, and stream-of-consciousness prose.  It has been a ridiculous holiday season, but one that’s (already) been memorable!

For starters, I must thank the Portsmouth Symphony in New Hampshire for a fabulous time last November.  Our Brahms concerto collaboration was exciting, intimate and enjoyable, and Christopher Hill was a pleasure to work with.  I especially enjoyed giving the masterclasses and hearing some of the talent New England has to offer.  An added perk of that trip was the journey back to Cleveland on a private plane…story for another time…:)

Also, recent collaborations with Robert Franz, Jodi Benson, Robert Burian and Evan Fein have each been special, and once again, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to have my passion and my dream as my job.

This year, venues are celebrating the bi-centennial of the birth of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and I’m finding myself increasingly booked with his e-minor concerto.  It’s been years since I have played it, but as one of the most pristine gems of the literature, I’m not complaining.  I wonder if these “celebrations” will be akin to the Mozart jubilee from three years ago…it seems THAT anniversary JUST concluded.  Up next…Samuel Barber’s centennial in 2010.

Additionally, I’m dedicating 2009 to many Ohio-related concerts…Tchaikovsky with the Parma Symphony, Beethoven with the Suburban Symphony, Bruch with the Shaker Heights Symphony, Mendelssohn with Mansfield Symphony, various recitals…it’s nice to play in the area where one grew up and knows the environment, scene, and likewise.  I hope to see all of you Midwestern-ites at these performances!  :)  The next one is the Chagrin Valley Chamber Series recital on February 22nd with the lovely Eriko Izumida…one of my oldest (not literally) friends in the business, and a truly engaging pianist.  The program consists of Beethoven, Franck, Ravel and others.

This week, I’m braving the scattered flurries outside, a house recital at the end of the week, and the “Leningrad” symphony by Shostakovich at Severance Hall.  I don’t know which to fear the most…though I shouldn’t really be complaining about the Cleveland weather as it has been relatively mild this season.  I do have some resolutions, though, for this upcoming year…working out more consistently, spending more prudently, not procrastinating with some repertoire…wishing everyone luck for whatever resolutions they aim to keep!

Anyways, I should reacquaint myself with my 96-year-old four-stringed lover in preparation for an afternoon rehearsal…Happy 2009 everyone, and hope to meet you after the concerts!

Best,

A


Autumn – or, bridging different time zones each week…

November 15th, 2008

Greetings from Boise, Idaho!  It is a gorgeous day here – no clouds in the sky, visibility extremely clear, and everyone seeming in good spirits.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip to the Northwest, and the Boise Philharmonic members are extremely gregarious and play quite well together.  Not to mention, I’m here with one of my favorite people – conductor Robert Franz.  Life is never dull collaborating (and seeking out phenomenal restaurants) with him!

The last four weeks  have been a blur.  Concerts in Ohio, Texas, Idaho, and New England next week (Brahms concerto – I am excited!)  I must recount a story from Ohio two weeks ago, however.  At a concert in Mansfield, there were several hearing impaired children sitting in the front row.  Following the concert, I met them and (with the help of their teacher/companion as translator) proceeded to ask about their favorite instruments, their ages, etc.  I knelt in front of them, placed a girl’s hand on the scroll of the violin, and played some Bach.  Their reaction almost moved me to tears, and I was thankful that the charming students could be involved in the music-making through the vibrations from the instrument.   I’m STILL impacted by that today.  I feel so lucky to be a musician and bridge languages and other barriers through the simple joy of music.

I think most artists are breathing a sigh of relief after last week’s election results.  Finally, there is someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that cares about the NEA and arts programs in schools!  I’m very optimistic for the next four years.

The last two months, I have been very fortunate in taking in a number of excellent shows and performances–two comedies, a burlesque show, concerto performances by Midori, Karen Gomyo, and Horatio Gutierrez, several student recitals, and others.  My head is full of music–but refreshingly so!

My next four weeks aren’t slowing at all, as I’m continuing the pattern of a different state each week.  I am looking forward to a Thanksgiving break of relearning some unaccompanied Bach, Kreisler and Ysaye for a solo recital.  I suppose I’ll stuff myself full of good food that week as well!

I’m going to go sit in the outdoor hottub now before warming up for tonight’s concert…I fly back to Dallas tomorrow for 12 hours before heading up to New Hampshire first thing Monday.  I look forward to the masterclasses I’m giving in the Portsmouth area, and to meeting the violin students!

Best wishes for a safe and thankful November,

A


Words of Wisdom for Autumn 2008

September 24th, 2008

“Perhaps it is music that will save the world…” – Pablo Casals

“I consider music as the noblest language, bringing comfort, joy, inspiration and peace to mankind.  I think it is vital that music be preserved, and if music can help – then let’s have music!”  –  Henryk Szeryng

I Believe…

I believe-

that we don’t have to change friends

if we understand that friends change.

I believe-

that no matter how good a friend is,

they’re going to hurt you every

once in a while and you must forgive

them for that.

I believe-

that true friendship continues to grow,

even over the longest distance.

Same goes for true love.

I believe-

that you can do something in an instant

that will give you heartache for life.

I believe-

that it’s taking me a long time

to become the person I want to be.

I believe-

that you should always leave loved ones

with loving words. It may be the last

time you see them.

I believe-

that you can keep going

long after you can’t.

I believe-

that we are responsible for what we do,

no matter how we feel.

I believe-

that either you control your attitude

or it controls you.

I believe-

that regardless of how hot and

steamy a relationship is at first,

the passion fades and there had

better be something else to take

its place.

I believe-

that heroes are the people

who do what has to be done

when it needs to be done,

regardless of the consequences.

I believe-

that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe-

that my best friend and I can do anything

or nothing and have the best time.

I believe-

that sometimes the people you expect

to kick you when you’re down,

will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe-

that sometimes when I’m angry

I have the right to be angry,

but that doesn’t give me

the right to be cruel.

I believe-

that just because someone doesn’t love

you the way you want them to doesn’t

mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I believe-

that maturity has more to do with

what types of experiences you’ve had

and what you’ve learned from them

and less to do with how many

birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I believe-

that it isn’t always enough to be

forgiven by others. Sometimes you

have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe-

that no matter how bad your heart is broken

the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I believe-

that our background and circumstances

may have influenced who we are,

but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe-

that just because two people argue,

it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other

And just because they don’t argue,

it doesn’t mean they do.

I believe-

that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a

secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe-

that two people can look at the exact

same thing and see something totally.

different.

I believe-

that your life can be changed in a matter of

hours by people who don’t even know you.

I believe-

that even when you think you have no more

to give, when a friend cries out to you

you will find the strength to help.

I believe-

that credentials on the wall

do not make you a decent human being.

I believe-

that the people you care about most in life

are taken from you too soon.


Texas Travels

September 6th, 2008

Greetings from the sky-lounge of DFW International Airport!  It is a hot, humid day as Dallas has been relatively cool due to Hurricane Gustav last week.  I am on my way to Abilene, Texas…on Monday, I am playing a recital at Abilene Christian University, opening their 2008-2009 series with pianist Cheryl Lemmons.  I have extra adrenaline for this concert, as it’s the first concert of the season for me.  We are playing works of Kreisler, Brahms, Mozart, Chopin and Dvorak, and I look forward to meeting ACU students after the concert!

For the next two years, I’m taking on the role as concertmaster of the Mansfield Symphony in Ohio, as well as my previously scheduled solo concerts.   I am very excited to join the Mansfield team, and the conductor (Robert Franz, who heads the Boise Philharmonic, and is associate in Buffalo and Houston) is inspiring, charming, and a joy to work with.  I will continue my studies with Chee-Yun in Dallas and return to Cleveland one week per month.  It will be a new role, bringing with it new challenges and additional repertoire, and I am thrilled to become part of the Mansfield community.  For more information on the orchestra and this appointment, check out the article under “Press Releases” on my site.  Mansfield’s current season has blockbusters by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, de Falla, and others, and I’m especially looking forward to Jodi Benson and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg joining the orchestra!

This past week, I was glued to both conventions, paying special attention to the announcement of Joe Biden as the Dem’s VP nominee.  Back in 1972, Biden’s first Delaware campaign stop was in my grandparent’s house in Milford, Delaware, and there as an amusing photo of Biden trying to kiss my mother (a grade-schooler at the time), and my mother pulling away!  We’re trying to locate that particular photo.  I was not as attentive to the Republican National Convention as I feel a kind of repulsion to the current administration.  I hope everyone is able to get to the voting booths in November – may the best Hawaiian-born candidate win!

My site will be undergoing some renovations this year with a new template and pictures, audio and video samples being added.  Expect to see the finished product in about 12 weeks.  Additionally, the 2009-2010 calendar will be available at that time.

Well, I wish everyone a happy last two weeks of summer, and onwards to a productive, successful autumn!  Perhaps a drastic change in the White House will facilitate that….

Andrew