Masterclass in Manaus, (from Journal) Brazil November 29, 2015
I first met the flutists of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra when I played as a soloist in the historic Opera House a few years ago. I was thrilled when Arley Raiol invited me to organize a masterclass for the students at the University in Manaus. The city that boasts 2 million inhabitants, is staggering and colorful with climate temperatures that vary through hot and very hot throughout the year. Founded in 1693, Manaus is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, right where the Amazon River meets the Rio Negro. The Opera House was built in 1896 and has 700 seats. There is a thriving music culture and it was no surprise that I found several wonderful flutists studying at the university. There were 4 gifted students who played for me. I also saw Claudio Abrantes who is the piccolo player of the Amazons Philharmonic Orchestra. We finished off the session sight-reading fun Brazilian flute music, Tico Tico, arranged by Celso Wotzenlogel. Afterwards, Claudio, Arley and I went to have a short stroll and coffee in the Opera House area which is a part of the city that was built during colonial times. After dinner, Arley took me back to the port where I had my car waiting to take me to the airport.
Feb. 9, 2016 Santos, Brazil
I’ve been seeking the beaches and swimming a bit although never as much as I’d like. My first beach was in Buzios which was a stunning beach town. The color of the water was teal and iridescent. There was quite a wind blowing though, which made for a tumultuous swim. But I was so happy to be able to try out some warm waters! I was disappointed that the water was a bit polluted, though. In these countries, there seems to be a lack of responsibility and awareness surrounding environmental issues. There is little to no regard or respect to our planet, which for me is quite sad.
Next stop was Rio where I made my way to Ipanema, but again, the beach and the water just seemed so polluted, that I didn’t even bother going in. The day was boiling hot, and I just wanted to get back to the cool AC. I didn’t even bother going to Carnaval!!! I already did it once, and I felt that I just couldn’t be bothered facing the infernal heat once again.
Next stop was Santos, where I did get in the warm waters which was hardly refreshing after dripping in sweat from the heat. I swam beyond everyone and found the waters to be a bit cooler the further out I went.
And finally, in Montevideo, I went swimming in the river! At first, I didn’t want to go in because again, it smelled of sewer here and there, and the water was full of fairly large algae, which by the end of my swim had gathered inside my swimsuit. I quickly took off the suit and threw it in the laundry to get rid of the green algae.
It was fun to explore the different waters, but ultimately, it made me homesick for my fresh and invigorating waters of Half Moon Bay. The temperatures might be freezing, and I have to go in with a wetsuit, but at least the water feels cleaner than in all these other places. Always, I return home feeling graced and full of gratitude.