Martinu Rhapsody-Concerto

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Last week we played the Martinu Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and
orchestra, and our principal violist Ute Miller played the solo part.
She’s always a great musician, and so of course she was fantastic. I
wasn’t very familiar with this piece before, but now I’m sort of unsure
about it. It’s really beautiful, but the ending of the piece is very
strange and just doesn’t make sense to me. There’s a snare drum that
plays with the viola solo and it sounds really out of place. The rest
of the orchestra is holding some long chord, I think an F chord or
something, and then for some reason we play a beat of repeated 32nd
notes on that chord. It’s just weird and out of place to my ears.

mkestner++

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So Mike Kestner was awesome enough to fix gtk# bug #79993 the other day. Everyone at Medsphere is so excited!

Viola concertos

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Before I went to El Paso I had the opportunity to hear Paul Silverthorne, principal violist of London Symphony Orchestra, play the Walton viola concerto here. It was a really fantastic performance, and I feel like I understand the concerto better than before. It’s still not my favorite viola concerto, but I do have a new appreciation for it.

Me and Paul Silverthorne

I just learned today that Roberto Diaz is coming back here to play the Bartok viola concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony in October. I can’t wait!

El Paso

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I went to El Paso last week to see Lesley and to play in the orchestra there. She’s running the El Paso Youth Orchestras along with Ben Loeb, a conductor we went to school with in Baltimore. He is also the associate conductor for the El Paso Symphony, and they had a side-by-side of the symphony and the youth orchestra together with Ben conducting. The symphony played The Three Cornered Hat suite by Manuel de Falla, the flute concerto by Jacques Ibert, Ravel’s La Valse, then the youth orchestra played Marquez’s Danzon No. 2, and then the symphony and youth orchestra did Bernstein’s West Side Story symphonic dances together.

Ben and Lesley have been working really hard with the youth orchestras and the symphony, and it sounds like things are going really well there.

Me and Lesley from this morning

Ben and his wife last night when we went out for Italian food

Verdi Quartet

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I’ve been listening to my awesome new CD of the Hagen Quartett (my favorite string quartet these days) playing the Verdi String Quartet. It’s a fantastic recording, I’m glad to have found it. It was discovered on Amazon, being sold by some seller in Germany.. however, that seller wouldn’t ship the disc outside of Germany! But Mirco Müller was kind enough to let me send it to him and he shipped it to me.

Hagen Quartett disc

Thanks Mirco!

Medsphere OpenVista CIS Open Source

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Yeah, I know Pete and Brad have already posted about it, and both of them have said more about it than I really could, but I want to post anyway! The place I work, Medsphere, has released the source for the OpenVista CIS client. It’s very exciting for me to be a part of this project and team, and it’s great to get to work on open source software. I’ve had the privilege of getting to work with really awesome hackers (Anthony, Bailey, Brad, Cesar, Jon, and Pete), getting to work with Mono and gtk#, and being able to do some hacking on GTK+ itself (next release should have some noticeable improvements for Win32!). Of course, as much as I’ve been learning and hacking GTK-Win32 internals, I would love to see all the hospitals using this software use it on Linux. :)

As Pete already mentioned, Medsphere is interested in hiring more gtk# hackers. As a fairly new person there, I think it’s a great place to work and I think everyone there is really awesome. If you’re interested in working somewhere in a Gnome/GTK/Mono type environment, email Pete or Brad.

Visiting California

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I went out to California last week for work. We had a good time hacking, watching movies, eating, and hearing music. Cesar, Anthony, Amber (Anthony’s girlfriend), and I all went to hear LA Phil play on Thursday. They played Brahms 3 and Brahms 1, which seemed like a little bit of a strange concert.. but it was really good. Whoever was sitting principal viola was playing on an Iizuka viola like mine, which was sort of cool. Walt Disney Concert Hall was fantastic. On Tuesday we went to see The Departed at the dollar theater. Very cool movie.

Pete and Cesar hacking

Happy New Year!

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I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year! I went over to Valerie’s house and hung out with people from Dallas Symphony and other friends of theirs. It was fun, and I got to taste many delicious wines. Pam’s son was playing Destroy All Humans! on Ralph’s PS2. It’s pretty amusing, but when Pam saw that it involved anal probes she took it away and made him switch games. :)

Hacking

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I’ve been trying to do some Win32-related hacking in GTK. I got a couple theme patches for notebook rendering approved, and I’ve got a patch up for review that fixes an issue with windows not receiving enough expose events when they’re being resized. Now I’m trying to understand and fix some issues related to modality and transience of windows. That’s a pretty difficult bug though. Somehow I’ve managed to get Windows XP to have multiple titlebars highlighted as though the windows are focused, although only one of them is focused in the taskbar. I hate Windows.

I’ve also been fooling around with Ruby a little bit, and I installed Rails yesterday. I was initially deceived by its inclusion in Ubuntu’s apt repository. Apparently if you want to use Rails on Linux, it’s easier to just install RubyGems and install Rails and its dependencies through gem. The instructions on the RubyGems site was a little bit inaccurate for installation to your home directory, though. You need to make some environment variable adjustments:

export GEM_HOME=$PREFIX/lib/ruby/gems/1.8
export RUBYLIB=$PREFIX/lib/ruby:$PREFIX/local/lib/site_ruby/1.8

There are some problems with using the version of Rails that’s included in Ubuntu’s apt. Like missing very important features, like ActiveRecord and Initializer.

Benefit Recital

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Last night I played in a benefit recital for Valentina Mengjesi, an Albanian woman who lives around here and who has breast cancer but not much money to pay for the medical expenses. I have never met her, but she is a friend of some friends of mine, Amela Koci (who is a very close friend) and Tonda Sykes.

The concert went well. It consisted of the Corelli Christmas Concerto, Beethoven Op. 18/6 string quartet in B-flat, Vaughan Williams Rhosymedre, Mozart Horn Quintet K.407, and Saent-Saens Romance in F. Brian Brown played horn, Arthur Busby and Amela Koci played violins, Paul Palmer and I played viola, and Amirosh Issa was the cellist. At the end Amela’s husband Gjergji joined Brian for a horn duo, but I forgot the name of the composer.

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