Premiere: “Roxy und ihr Wunderteam”

English:

This evening we’ll have the premiere of Roxy und ihr Wunderteam, the soccer operetta by Paul Abraham. I’m performing as one of the eleven soccer players.

This has been a terrific project. The music is super jazzy, and there’s a ton of dance – especially tap. I’m very impressed with my colleagues, and I’ve had a lot of fun participating in this show.

More info (in German).

Deutsch:

Heute Abend findet die Premiere von Roxy und ihr Wunderteam, das Fußballoperette von Paul Abraham, statt. Ich spiele einer der elften Fußballspieler.

Was für ein tolles Project. Die Music ist oft Jazz, und es gibt viel Tanz – besonders Stepptanz. Ich bin sehr beeindruckt von meinen Kollegen, und ich hatte eine Menge Spaß aus dieser Produktion.

Mehr Infos.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my American loved ones and readers. We obviously don’t have the holiday in Germany, so I’ll be spending this evening at the Generalprobe (final dress) for Roxy und ihr Wunderteam, which opens this Saturday. I’ll eat a big lunch though and consider all the things for which I’m thankful. 

If you do have a holiday today, I hope it’s warm and fun. 

“Jesus Christ Superstar” Premiere

English:

On Sunday evening (Oct. 19, 2014), we’ll have our premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar, the rock musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. This is a co-production with Theater Bonn.

In addition to my work in the chorus, I’ll be singing as one of the priests in the number “This Jesus Must Die”, which is one of my faves.

I’m really looking forward to this. This is a super production with an excellent cast and band, and I think our audience is going to love it.

More Information

Deutsch:

Am Sonntag Abend (19.10.2014) findet in Opernhaus Dortmund unsere Premiere von Jesus Christ Superstar statt. Das Rock Musical von Andrew Lloyd Webber und Time Rice ist eine Koproduktion mit dem Theater Bonn.

Neben meiner Arbeit im Chor singe ich auch als einer der Priester in der Nummer “This Jesus Must Die”, die einer meiner Lieblinge ist.

Ich freue mich wirklich darauf. Dies ist eine super Production mit einer tollen Besetzung und Band, und ich denke, die wird beliebt mit unserem Publikum werden.

Mehr Infos

Moving, Deep Listening, and Creation

Can we listen deeply while moving?

Fingers in a city map

While jogging last week, I perceived a new quality to the album Absolution by the band Muse. It matched my movements to such a perfect degree so much of the time, that I wondered if the music was deliberately created to for exercise junkies. At times, I felt pushed by the music, and at times I felt great happiness as my participation with it.

This got me thinking. I do not argue against the value of deep listening, as advanced by On an Overgrown Path. I have had deep meditative experiences in concert halls and in other settings where mindful listening was required. Music such as Jonathan Harvey’s Bhakti or John Adam’s The Dharma at Big Sur does seem to loosen the unconscious and connect us with a sense of unity, but even less experimental music (by modern standards) as Beethoven symphonies can do this to me under the right conditions.

When I picture this kind of deep listening, I think of concentrated silence and restraint of movement. I wouldn’t immediately think about music-inspired movement as “deep listening”. I associate the idea of deep listening and meditation, which lines up with what – I would guess – many people perceive meditation to be: mindfulness while sitting still and being quiet.

However, there are meditations on movement, and perhaps we can say the same about deep listening. I’ve found much music benefits from simultaneous movement. No, I can’t listen to Tosca while exercising (though I, regrettably, tried once), but some music opens like wine that’s been allowed some time to breathe when the listener moves in reaction to it. The music accents and compliments the movement, and a virtuous cycle emerges of co-creation of the moment.

Most powerfully, this happens in live settings where the “musicians” and the “listeners” engage in an energetic back and forth of giving. I’ve experienced this both as musician and audience, in commercial settings and spiritual settings.

But even recordings can do this when paired well. Last night while riding my bike in an empty street, I listened to some plainchant, and the ride was transformed from transportation to a kind of dancing flight. The music changed my perception1. I’ve had many similar experiences, and I’m sure many other people have.

When music connects like this, the line between listener and musician becomes ever more blended, and together they creatively alter experience itself. Yes, the musician creates the music, but they together make the moment. The dancer does this. The jogger does this. The driver. The dishwasher. The walker. The person sitting with their eyes closed. It’s hardly glamorous, but it is relevant to them and to anyone who wants to find new musical and life experiences and deepen their love of music.


  1. I don’t, naturally, recommend listening to headphones while biking where there’s much traffic of any kind. Just thought I’d throw that disclaimer out there. ↩

The Stages of Becoming a Contributory Expert

Part VI of Singing Expertise series

Collins lists 5 stages that someone must travel to become a contributory expert:

  1. Novice
  2. Advanced Beginner
  3. Competence
  4. Proficiency
  5. Expertise1

Rather than describe each stage in detail, let’s just paint a broad picture.

As someone moves from novice to expert, they move from entirely conscious operation to unconscious. The novice requires rules, because they don’t understand the tacit information required to make unconscious and intuitive choices. The expert, on the other hand, acts in such a way that rules are mostly irrelevant because the expert has internalized knowledge. The expert can act without self-consciousness.

Remember learning to drive? Rules rules rules. And once you’ve been driving awhile, the rules become unconscious impulses.

Consider singers. A novice or beginner must consciously decide to do everything, and often times this is done clumsily because it’s based entirely on rules. A true novice looks and sounds clumsy and is almost wholly self-conscious the entire time they’re singing.

That’s not meant as an insult, by the way. I was absolutely like that too.

An expert singer singing their best repertoire, on the other hand, can summon technique and voice seemingly at will in order to serve a piece of music. Dynamics, phrasing, legato and so on come more or less unconsciously from an expert singer to serve the emotional needs of a piece or whatever other artistic goal the singer has set. The expert singer moves and acts in unconscious ways that they themselves are often unaware of but are nevertheless important for the piece.

The expert can achieve what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “Flow”. It is goal-based rather than rule-based. He writes:

Although the flow experience appears to be effortless, it is far from being so. It often requires strenuous physical exertion, or highly disciplined mental activity. It does not happen without the application of skilled performance. Any lapse in concentration will erase it. And yet while it lasts consciousness works smoothly, action follows action seamlessly.2

This is what we’re after.


  1. Collins, Harry (2007-10-01). Rethinking Expertise (pp. 24-25). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition. ↩

  2. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2008-08-18). Flow (P.S.) (p. 54). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.  ↩