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Oboes in Oklahoma

I'm not sure, but my music may have made its Oklahoma debut last night, thanks to the efforts of a good friend and colleague. Melissa Bosma gave her first faculty recital as Oklahoma State's new oboe specialist and included my Four States of Mind, for oboe and piano on the program.

Melissa and I met when she taught part-time on the Heidelberg music faculty. She made the long trip weekly, from Ann Arbor to Tiffin and back again, just to teach a very small handful of students and play with the faculty quintet. The hours are awful and the pay is lousy, but many academic musicians endure this sort of existence just to get a foot in the door. Some are fortunate enough to be able to go on to better opportunities, as Melissa has in her new position in Oklahoma.

While she was at Heidelberg, we collaborated on two projects, one intentional, one by accident. The pieces on Melissa's faculty artist program came first, an opportunity for me to re-work some older material that needed new surroundings. What was once a solo piano project became a chamber work with oboe, and a wonderful new experience for me. The new work is dedicated to Melissa. who has done a marvelous job of bringing my music to life. She premiered the work on a Heidelberg New Music concert during her time with us in Tiffin.

At one point, I was trying to develop a fifth movement for this piece. The new movement had an identity all to is own, however; it just did not fit in with the original set. Trooper that he is, Melissa took that one on too and provided a premiere for a piece called Ruminations, for oboe and piano. Or is it Ruminating? I keep going back and forth, back and forth, trying to decide......

Congratulations to Melissa on a successful concert, and for hanging in there on the way to a much better gig! Her Facebook pictures show that there are lots of oboes out there, once you work your way to the right place. I have no doubt that she will continue to be successful, and hope that we will continue to collaborate.


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