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How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Part 1)

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We can hardly believe that summer has come to a close, and the 2010-2011 season is about to start! After the hustle-and-bustle of our Symphony Summer in the City concerts, our musicians and many staffers took some much needed vacation time. In this special series, they wanted to share with YOU what they’ve been up to all summer! Here’s a sampling of who’s been where, from Alaska to California – even over to Asia’s Forbidden City.

Associate Conductor Robert Franz was in Alaska to conduct the Festival Orchestra at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival:

On our day off, a few friends and I took a trip up to Denali National Forest in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Mt. McKinley. I had seen the peak in the distance one night when the conditions were just right from Fairbanks. The sun “setting” (or at least getting a bit lower in the sky) created an orange cast on the west side of the mountain. It was spectacular. So, I ventured to the park with the hope of catching a glimpse of the great mountain much closer. The problem is that the Mountain hides on most days behind the clouds, and my day up there was no exception. I’m going to have to try again next year! I did, however see a cornucopia of animals…a moose, an Antelope, a coyote, a coyote eating an antelope, and the grizzly bears that you see in the picture.

Principal Cello Brinton Smith wrote in about his trip this summer to California, but admits even he’s ready to get back to work with the orchestra!

After spending the last few summers running madly from music festival to music festival, this year I actually managed to work in a real vacation going up the coast of California. On the musical side of things we met up with my former cello section from the San Diego Symphony, some ex-students in Los Angeles and then my entire family (including assorted dogs) in Santa Cruz. It was a great vacation but there is so much that I’m looking forward to this fall that I’m already itching to hear the first notes of the new season!

Allison Garza, who plays both flute and piccolo in the orchestra, is enjoying an outdoors-y summer with her husband, Jeff:

I am so lucky to be spending my summer in some really beautiful and awesome places – Yosemite, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Aspen and the Berkshires. I absolutely love being outdoors, camping and hiking. I have enjoyed several very chilly nights under the stars and am saving up that cool feeling for when I return to Houston! I am also reading a ton – my suitcase is a bit heavy with all these books. Maybe I should get a Kindle before next summer? I’ve been taking a break from my flute and piccolo and am truly looking forward to playing in Jones Hall again soon!

Second Violin Kiju Joh certainly stayed busy this summer with guest performances in China and South Korea. Here she shares this photo – a breathtaking view of the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Par in Beijing, China.

I was fortunate to experience blue skies that day! In the upper right, you can see The Egg, or the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The design/size of the structure is breathtaking. There, I performed with the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Myung-Whun Chung. We then travelled to Seoul, South Korea (where I am currently staying) and performed two more concerts. One, at the Incheon Culture and Arts Center, and then at the Seoul Arts Center. I am in bbq beef, kimchi, garlic, and soju heaven!

To keep up with this series, make sure to check back soon for Part 2, or “like” our Facebook page

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