Jácaras and Ensaladas

I am singing with the UChicago Early Music Ensemble, a somewhat relaxed group led by David Douglass and Ellen Hargis of The Newbury Consort. I started rehearsing a bit late, so I’ve been playing catch-up. This year the repertoire is all music from Spain and Spanish colonies, and today we worked on two of the harder pieces in the program : an ensalada called La Bomba, by Mateo Flecha “El Viejo”, and a jacara by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. Too many words!

In looking for some recordings to get a better sense of the pieces, I came across this charmingly old King’s Singers TV special (check out those sweater vests!) acting out La Bomba in what appears to be the house from Clue:

Lucky them, they get multiple takes which makes it a bit easier to manage the crazy transitions in the piece. There’s also a multitracked recording on which is pretty good:

Unfortunately we are doing it up a third from there, much to the chagrin of my passagio.

We spent a bit of time trying to get the jácara up to speed, but singing Spanish that fast is hard! When I heard how fast this version went I almost lost it:

It looks like I have my work cut out for me, especially if I want to roll my r’s like that.


Congratulations to my fellow Beast Amitha Knight on being a co-winner of the 2012 PEN New Enlgand Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award!

Speaking of children’s books, some people who saw The Hunger Games movie are upset that Rue is black. Unsurprising but sad.

And speaking of friends, my friend Amber is slumming it in Antarctica and is writing some fascinating blog posts from down there.

Can Ellen Do More Push-Ups Than Michelle Obama? They both seem to be able to do more pushups than me. Time to hit the gym I think.

I’ve been eating this spicy peanut noodle salad for lunch this week and boy is it delicious.

Sacra Profana Kickstarter Bleg

Sacra Profana, a San Diego choir with whom I have performed before, is hoping to get funding for a new CD via a kickstarter campaign. There’s less than two weeks left in the campaign and we are getting close to our goal, but if you read this blog and are feeling generous (every $5 counts), please consider supporting this group. They are doing some really innovative programming — we did Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, a piece I have loved since high school and never thought I would get the chance to perform.

Concert bleg : Mozart Requiem

This is my last concert in San Diego, schade! It should be a good one!

In Memoriam: Marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11

W.A. Mozart : Requiem in D minor, K 626 (Levin completion)

Bach Collegium San Diego
Ruben Valenzuela, dirigent

Claire Fedoruk (Soprano)
Angela Young Smucker (Alto)
Pablo Corá (Tenor)
Mischa Bouvier (Bass)

St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church
San Diego, California
Friday, 16 September 2011
7:30 PM

Pt. Loma Nazarene University: Crill Hall
San Diego, California
Saturday, 17 September 2011
7:30 PM

Tickets available online.

In the somewhat, but not too distant future…

I have accepted an offer to join the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago this fall as a Research Assistant Professor. I’m excited by all of the opportunities there; it’s a great chance to dig deeper into some exciting research problems while learning a lot of new things from the great people they have there. It’s in Hyde Park, which is a great stepping stone for future career opportunities


I’m heading off to Mexico in less than 12 hours for a week during which I hope to disconnect : no email, web, or phone. I guess I’ll miss the majority of the post-Bin Laden news cycle. In the meantime, here are some more links because I am too lazy to post content.

Speaking of 9/11, this is simply terrible.

An interview with George Saunders, one of my favorite authors.

Blackwell’s proof of Wald’s Identity, as told by Max.

Long pepper looks fascinating and tasty!

Can Voter ID Laws Be Administered in a Race-Neutral Manner? The short answer is no. The longer answer is a 30 page paper.

Frank has blogger about our trip last weekend to The 2nd 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. My arteries may never be the same again.

There are no more typewriter factories. This makes me especially sad, as I have a 1914 Underwood No. 5 that I love (and lug).

Concert bleg : Sacra/Profana is Excandescent

SACRA/PROFANA (dir. Krishan Oberoi) presents…

*a. [L. excandescentia .] 1. Growing hot; white or glowing with heat

Saturday, February 19 · 7:00pm – 8:30pm
St. Peter’s Church
off of 15th St., Del Mar, CA
Sunday, February 20th at 4 p.m.
Village Community Presbyterian Church
6225 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe

San Diego’s virtuosic vocal ensemble SACRA/PROFANA returns in a
program exploring themes of light and illumination. New works by young
American composers will be highlighted, including winners of the 2010
Choral Composition Contest. Also featuring music by Poulenc, Britten
and The Smashing Pumpkins, plus György Ligeti’s enigmatic choral
masterpiece “Lux Aeterna”.

15th Street Chamber Music says:”SACRA/PROFANA features some of the
premier young voices from all around San Diego and Southern California
and has a fresh new sound with a thrilling take on the art of choral

More information at: www.sacraprofana.org.

There is a $10 suggested donation at the door. Reserve seats are
available by emailing us at:


I am visiting India, so I will probably not post too much for the month. Assuming I don’t get eaten alive by the mosquitoes (a distinct possibility), I’ll post more in December.

Maybe I’ll post a wedding photo or two (not my wedding).

UCSD is a new National Center for Biomedical Computing

Even though the main website hasn’t been updated yet, the NIH has funded a new National Center for Biomedical Computing here at UCSD, headed up by folks from the new Division of Biomedical Informatics. I’ve already been collaborating with some people from the DBMI, but I’m going to be doing work this year with the new center, named iDASH. It’s the only new center funded this year, and the only one from a public university, so we’re pretty excited about it!

Also, we need a logo!

Bach Collegium San Diego Bach Motets Recording

I know I don’t blog so much these days (lots of traveling), but I wanted to advertise a bit for album on which I sang.

Bach Collegium San Diego : Six Motets

J.S. Bach: The Six Motets BWV 225-230

Bach Collegium San Diego is proud to announce its first recording available for commercial release. Artistic director Ruben Valenzuela leads a nimble yet expressive ensemble of 19 musicians: 16 singers with continuo.

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225
Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf BWV 226
Jesu, meine Freude BWV 227
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir BWV 228
Komm, Jesu, komm!, BWV 229
Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden BWV 230

Order it