Tag Archives: flute

South Tour

Our South Tour started with an intense Flamarimba Camp with LONG, and I do mean LONG, rehearsal days:

We didn’t just have a lot of music to practice…there were a lot of instruments:

And, though our real reason to be in North Carolina was to teach a class at the UNC School of the Arts, while we were there, I staged a little protest of their crazy discriminatory new bathroom law:

Then we were off:

It was beautiful:

And sultry:

And fancy:

And meta:

And we spent a lot of time on I-40:

Dead Composers Review Prelude Cocktail

Our debut CD Prelude Cocktail came out last fall, but the reviews are still coming in.  Just in time for Halloween, we have these quotes from the latest edition of De-Composition Quarterly.  They are, well, mixed:

“I thought Stalin was bad, but Prelude Cocktail makes me feel truly repressed.” D. Shostakovich,  staff writer

“I’m skeptical of a flute made of gold…but the well-tempered clavier is amazing!” -J.S. Bach, editor-in-chief

“Flute and Marimba?! It’s an abomination! Negative 4 stars.” -F. Chopin, staff writer

“Sacrebleu! J’aime la flûte et le marimba! Lawler et Fadoul sont formidables!” -C. Debussy, staff writer.

Dos Conciertos

So I’ve been working on Spanish. There is a website where I can practice my writing and get crowdsourced corrections. I wrote a little note about our Carnegie Concert Series performance (and a concert my students put on Thursday). Here it is!

Dos conciertos

Esta noche voy a ir a un concierto en el que mis estudiantes tocarán la percusión. Es el último concierto del año. Me divertí mucho con la mayoría de estos estudiantes. Dos tríos tocarán por la marimba y dos piezas más grandes, incluyendo “Mah-na mah-na”, de Los Muppets. Depués , me iré a Nueva York a tocar con un flautista. La música es muy dificil y espero estar listo. “¡Deséame suerte!”

Whirlwind Weekend in Vancouver

We spent last weekend in Vancouver for a quick tour with a house concert and a conference.  We were pretty much in love with the whole city, and can’t wait to go back.


On Friday night, Barbara Lyall and Kath Poole hosted us in a really fun house concert.  Kath’s home is an architect-designed modern beauty that seemed to have been created with house concerts in mind.  There was plenty of room for the marimba and the audience.

Brent Alley, who really should be considered a third co-host, took this nice photo of the audience:



We are so grateful to our hosts for introducing us to their friends, to their friends for coming to the concert, and to our super-fans (those would be my family members!) who came a long way to see us and to help out!



Saturday was dedicated to British Columbia Touring Council’s Pacific Contact, their annual booking conference.  We started out doing a mini-showcase (a “pitch/perform”) in the morning, compressing 300 years of preludes into five minutes.  The rest of the day was spent getting to know lots of new people–artists, presenters, consultants, and the amazing staff of BCTC as well.  It was the most friendly conference we’ve ever been to, and we hope to return to BC for more performances and yes, to go back to the conference too!

The “app folks” at BCTC were running a photo contest as part of the conference…the conference app had a nifty feature that would take a picture and frame it with the Pacific Contact  logo.  When we returned from lunch to find my parents “guarding” the marimba for us, I took this photo:


 And guess what?  The photo won!  The prize was an iPad mini!!!  Talk about an unforeseen benefit!  I passed the mini on to my parents who really did deserve a prize for all their help ferrying us and the marimba all over town.  I submitted this “post-script” photo of me teaching them to use it:


Anxiety Dreams

Dear Reader,

A lot has been going on for Lawler + Fadoul lately, as you may have noticed. Our CD is out; we had three CD release house parties; we went on tour with Prelude Cocktail; and the first week of December, we were in the Washington, DC area for lots of school shows (with 16 shows in 3 days!!) It’s all been pretty exciting, but let’s be honest, a bit stressful too.

For me, that kind of stress leads to some pretty hilarious anxiety dreams. Well, they seem hilarious after the fact, anyway. I’ve had two whoppers during this busy L+F season.

Anxiety Dream No. 1: Flute Field Trip to Outer Space

Yes, you read that right. In the dream, I was taking a bunch of Suzuki flute students on a field trip to outer space. I think this has something to do with having seen Gravity the week before.  Anywho, there we were, in the Space Shuttle, me and all the cute little Suzuki kids, and of course, something went horribly wrong and we had to prepare for a crash landing. And of course, there weren’t enough oxygen masks. In fact, there were only two, one for the captain, and one for Danny Castellano (the character from The Mindy Project…not really sure what he was doing on a flute field trip to outer space, but that’s the subconscious for you!) So they sent us all into a stairwell (this dream Space Shuttle had a stairwell), where we were to just hang on tight and hope for the best. There were a few terrifying moments, with engines whining, walls shuddering, kids whimpering, and me feeling incredibly responsible, and then we landed with a little bump and everyone was fine.

We were reunited with all their parents on a beach.

The end.

Anxiety Dream No. 2: Flute Playing meets Synchronized Swimming

Just a few days after the ill-fated flute field trip to outer space, I had another doozie.

In this one, I had to play a concerto, the famous Concertino by Cecile Chaminade, in some sort of tropical location. The orchestra was arrayed out on a second-floor U-shaped balcony, overlooking a U-shaped bay. I had to play while treading water in the bay, in my full diva gown…all the while keeping my flute from dipping into the water. At one point the very end of the flute did go into the water, and I had a moment of panic over the brand new pads I had just had installed, but it turned out not to be a problem.

In fact, the playing while treading water wasn’t really that hard. The real obstacle was hearing the orchestra. They were very far away, and members of the audience kept jumping in the water. The splashes made it hard to hear the orchestra, and what was even worse was that the audience members kept swimming up to me and trying to talk to me during the performance.

As if that wasn’t enough, a Russian submarine (Cold War era throwback anxiety, anyone?) was sneaking into the bay, and I had to figure out a way to warn everyone without the Russians knowing I was on to them.

Then I woke up.

The end?

There you have it, dear Reader, a glimpse into the subconsciuos life of a musician.


School Shows, Kid Comments

Lawler + Fadoul spent part of the first week of December doing a record-breaking 16 shows in three days as part of our outreach work on behalf of the National Symphony Orchestra. Our in-school concerts are highly interactive, and it’s always fun to hear what the kids have to say about the instruments and the music. Below we share some of the best quotes from this three-day marathon.

From John Adams Elementary School where we performed Let’s Dance! for students in preschool, kindergarden and third grade:

“It’s a miracle!”
-kindergartner upon seeing the marimba for the first time

“There’s so many contraptions on it.”
-third grader upon seeing all the keys of the flute up close

As part of Let’s Dance!, we play Name that Tune, to demonstrate the flute’s melodic role in music. We had two really fun answers at John Adams. One was from a kindergartner in the Spanish immersion class, who carefully answered, perhaps translating in her head, “Mary had a little…sheep?” A more surprising answer came when I played the Star Wars theme song, and one kindergartner called it “Angry Birds!” I guess he was more familiar with the game than the movie!!

Can You Hear Me Now? at Mosby Woods

At Mosby Woods Elementary School, we did 10 performances of Can You Hear Me Now?, our interactive concert about preludes and fugues. At the beginning of each class, the music teacher asked the students what they thought of the instruments, and they had some interesting thoughts on the marimba:

“It’s the grandfather of the bells.”

“It’s like a giant xylophone.”

And a question about the flute:

“Is that flute made of bronze?” [actually, it’s gold!]

And at the end of our 10 shows, the music teacher exclaimed in a triumphant tone:

“This is the IT!”

I think that it was a subconscious combination of “This is it” and “This is the end!” but something about “the IT!” struck me as fitting considering how many shows we packed into those three days.

Why Prelude Cocktail?

Preludes are musical cocktails:  intriguing and intoxicating on their own, they also hold the promise of something more to come.  You might share cocktails before a big meal, just as a prelude often introduces a more substantial fugue.  Cocktails can be sweet (think of a Cosmo!), strong (gin martini), classic (Tom Collins, anyone?) or new and adventurous (what’s that one that is Red Bull and vodka?), and our selections from four centuries of preludes are equally eclectic.  Prelude Cocktail includes two world premiere sets of preludes by American composers Katherine Hoover and Roshanne Etezady, as well as our own brand new arrangements of favorites of the genre by Debussy, Gershwin, Bach, Chopin, Shostakovich and Scriabin.  Guest clarinetist, Christopher Grymes, joins us on two preludes and fugues by Shostakovich.

Photo by Julie Lemberger

Photo by Julie Lemberger

What about the promise of a prelude? That there is more to come? If fugues by Bach and Shostakovich aren’t enough… Lawler + Fadoul’s debut CD, Prelude Cocktail is the first stage of our long-term project to expand the repertoire for flute and marimba, both by commissioning new works and by arranging favorites for other instruments.  All works on the CD are world premiere recordings that herald the rich sonic and expressive potential of the combination of flute and marimba.  Lawler moves from flute to piccolo and alto flute and back again, as Fadoul plays both marimba and vibraphone, in quick succession or at the same time.  The addition of clarinet, beautifully played by guest artist Christopher Grymes, is a surprising and welcome ingredient.

The transcriptions have allowed us to explore the range and richness of what the unique flute-marimba combination can achieve – we see it as a way of looking forward while looking back.”

Interview with composer Katherine Hoover, Part 2

This interview originally appeared in the May 2013 New York Flute Club Newsletter. © 2013 by The New York Flute Club, Inc.

afternoon: BUSINESS

If the morning is about getting ideas out of Katherine’s head and onto paper, the afternoon is about getting her music out of her apartment and onto music stands everywhere…

ZL: So, you’ve composed until you’re done for the day, then what?

KH: Well, I head for the computer: there are always things to answer, like somebody wants a lesson on Kokopeli, and that has to be scheduled. I go to the post office a reasonable amount. I’m very, very lucky that Papagena Press has been enough of a success that about five years ago Theodore Presser came to me and asked to be my distributor, and offered me a very nice deal. So I have to get stuff off to them, from time to time, and then there are a ton of other things, a lot of inquiries. So in the afternoon I handle things like inquiries, and the business level of it.

ZL: Now that Presser is your distributor, what kind of work do you have to do for Papagena Press?

KH: Well, there’s a lot! Getting pieces ready, which includes editing, proofing (ugh!) and designing the publication. And you’ll notice, I do design, very carefully, every cover. First of all, it’s fun for me. And I think it makes a real difference.

ZL: And Papagena is just your works?

KH: I tried once, many years ago, to put out someone else’s work. And my name did not sell anyone else’s work. And it was a lot of effort! So I said, “No more.”

ZL: So your work is creating the product that Presser then reproduces and sells. You have to make it into a printable PDF or something for Presser?

KH: No, for the printer. I pay for all of that, which is the reason they made me such a good deal!

ZL: Oh, so you do literally everything except the distribution?

KH:  Correct.

ZL: So if someone wants to buy your music, they order it through Presser, but basically what they are getting is a physical product that you, Katherine Hoover, have created. That’s very cool! Do you keep all of the music in stock, or did you, until it was distributed by Presser?

KH: Yes…

ZL: So before the days of Presser, if you ordered a piece of music from Katherine Hoover, it came directly from the hand of Katherine Hoover. Katherine Hoover took it to the post office, and mailed it to you. That’s freaking cool! [Both laugh.] I mean, it’s probably tiring for you, but it’s cool for the rest of us. “This stamp was licked by Katherine Hoover!” [More laughter.]

ZL: Would you say that having your own publishing company, having that control and that vehicle for your work to get out into the world, has been successful?

KH: Absolutely. It means two wonderful things: I really do have a say in where the page turns are, what it looks like, all of this…. And, the other one? It’s a big one: I can put out whatever the heck I please!

ZL: Is it financially successful?

KH: I make some money from it every year. I make enough that it helps.

ZL: So your afternoon is Papagena, inquiries, website maintenance, that sort of thing. And you do that for three hours, five hours, twelve hours, until you’re done?

KH: Well, two to three hours. Then if it’s Monday, as it is today, my son usually comes by for dinner.

Which brings us to…

evening: LIFE

KH: I have a house to run and a family to take care of and that takes time too, but the days are very different, sometimes you work two, three, four hours, sometimes you work seven or eight hours, and one day will follow the next and it won’t be the same at all. But basically it’s writing, then tending to Papagena takes the next big chunk, and then practicing. Practicing voice and flute.

ZL: So you do that at the end of the day?

KH: No, I do that after I write, when I’m still reasonably fresh.

ZL: So, to complete this “day in the life,” obviously you have a family life you maintain, and a personal life that you also maintain. You’re having dinner with your son. What are some of the other activities that might take up your personal time?

KH: Well, I just had a daughter-in-law and granddaughter here for 10 days from Vienna. And, this is New York, we like to go to things. We don’t get to half the things we’d like to go to! One reasons this has worked so well for both of us [Katherine and her husband, Richard Goodwin, who is a guidance counselor at a South Bronx high school] is that I knew when I married Richard that he had the passion about what he does that I have about what I do, and so we would respect that for each other. He knows music is central to my life and that I wouldn’t be me without it, and I know he would not be himself without what he does, and his kids.

ZL: Well, I think that’s really important. Both of your careers are so challenging, and require such an investment of your personality. It’s not like filling out forms at the bank all day! You have to be able to give each other that permission, at the very least, and support, hopefully at the best.

At this point, Richard himself interrupted the interview to add another answer to the question of her non-composing activities, by showing me some of Katherine’s pottery. In fact, it turned out I was drinking coffee out of one of her pieces, and that the two spend time together every week, working at a pottery studio. The coffee mug I was using was an exception in Katherine’s work:

KH: I was never terribly good at the wheel, so basically I’ve been making things lately for which there is absolutely no human use. And I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it!

RICHARD: She’s in her “Dali” period, I would say…

And so one day in the life of a composer flows, with writing, practicing, business and life, until it is time to start thinking about tomorrow’s writing session, when another day in the life of Katherine Hoover begins.