The end of the season is always bittersweet. I enjoy my job and I get along with my colleagues so the idea of not having regular rehearsals makes me a little bit sad. At the same time, we are all exhausted and definitely in need of a break.
So what do the KSO musicians do during the off-season? Some people go to music festivals around the country, some stay close to home practicing, teaching and playing recitals, and some take a break from music altogether. Our orchestra is comprised of both full-time salaried players and musicians who are paid per-service. Many of the per-service musicians have jobs outside the KSO which continue through the summer.
This summer I plan to take a bit of a break from the viola and dust off my violin. Before I moved to Knoxville I split my time pretty evenly between the two instruments. Now summer is the only time I have to really focus on the violin. I like to switch in the summer primarily because it gives me a break physically without having to put the instrument down completely. The violin is smaller and lighter than the viola, the notes are closer together and you don't have to work as hard to get a good sound. The body of repertoire for the violin is a lot bigger as well. Beethoven wrote 10 sonatas for the violin, 0 for the viola. Mozart wrote over a dozen sonatas for the violin, 0 for the viola. Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Dvorak all wrote concertos for violin (and not for the viola). There are certainly great pieces for the viola (Bartok Concerto, Schubert Arpeggione Sonata, two Brahms Sonatas, etc), there is just more to choose from in violin land.
I will also be blogging here all summer, so be sure to check back every Monday and Thursday!