Mammoth Lakes, to be exact...
|Just a tiny bit of the breathtaking scenery that awaits you in Mammoth Lakes|
In winter, the town of Mammoth Lakes is a ski resort, and in summer, the whole area is a sportsman's paradise. And it's in the Eastern Sierra area of California, not far from Yosemite National Park, all year.
My Mammoth job, then, is to play principal trumpet in the Sierra Summer Festival Orchestra, which performs a set of concerts in Mammoth Lakes every summer. Classical music at 9,000 feet above sea level is breathtaking in every sense of the word! I've held that position since 2003, and this year, my Mammoth job will get a little bigger. I've been appointed Brass Coach for the orchestra, as well.
Maestro Bogidar Avramov has led the orchestra since its inception in 1978. This year – its 35th season – will be his final season as the orchestra's well-loved conductor. The farewell program includes Suite No. 3 for Orchestra by JS Bach, Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven, and Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn. There is also a chamber music concert.
I very much enjoyed playing for Bogidar in the Beverly Hills Symphony, back when there was still a taste for classical music in the 90210. The Beverly Hills Symphony was a professional affair, but the Sierra Summer Festival Orchestra is a blend of former and non-professional players with professional musicians who act as principal players and section coaches, and when I first started with the Sierra group, I was eager to see how Bogidar's deep musical insights and high performance expectations – which in Beverly Hills occasionally brought to the fore his respectful, but fiery, Bulgarian temperament – would play out over a week-long festival rehearsal schedule. My discovery? That Bogidar loves the Sierra orchestra and its players, and he nurtures, cajoles, and – yes – demands the best possible performance from this orchestra which convenes but once per year and whose members come from far and wide. It has been both a joy and an education to see him prepare the enthusiastic ensemble for its annual pair of classical concerts.
For all the news that's fit to print on the Sierra Summer Festival, please visit their Website. This summer's concerts will be held on August 9 (chamber music only), 10, and 11. If you want to spend a some warm days blending outdoor activities in one of the world's most scenic places with evenings of delightful, cultured, classical music, the Sierra Summer Festival is for you. Mammoth Lakes has lots of condo rentals and a nearby airport. It's a bit off the beaten path, but that keeps away the hordes of tourists, and getting to a place of such amazing geologic beauty is half the fun anyway.
If you go, ask for Dr. Ray. I'd love to see you there!