The 2010 Nashville Symphony EarShot Blog: I Don’t Deserve Special Treatment

[Ed. Note: This is the second installment of Michael Rickleton's blog from the American Composers Orchestra Earshot readings at the Nashville Symphony. His first installment is here.—FJO]

12:08 a.m.—Well, I finally arrived in Nashville. Travel today was actually pretty painless. As I arrived in Nashville, it really did feel like a sort of homecoming. Although I grew up in Charlotte and only spent six years in Nashville before moving to Baltimore, Nashville is where I became a musician. It’s where I attended school, it’s where I met my wife, and it’s where I began composing. I arrived in Nashville at roughly the same time as Daniel Temkin and Ryan Gallagher. We were immediately met by Nashville Symphony representative Emma MacLeod, who had arranged for our transportation from the airport to the downtown Hilton. The accommodations are extraordinary. I almost feel that I don’t deserve this kind of special treatment. I don’t feel that I’ve done anything particularly special or deserving of so many peoples’ generosity, but I can certainly say that I am extremely grateful to all the many people who helped in making this experience possible for us.

I enjoyed becoming acquainted once again with downtown Nashville tonight. Daniel, Ryan, and myself had dinner at Demos’, which I miss terribly since moving from Nashville. Honestly, it’s some of the best sweet tea you will find. I think that’s the second reference to food on this blog. I do love to eat, though, and you can’t get sweet tea like that in Baltimore.

I am both excited and a bit nervous about tomorrow’s reading. In the back of my mind I am constantly worrying that I somehow did not edit the parts thoroughly enough and my piece will come to a screeching halt. Although I continue to remind myself that I double checked each part to make sure they were in order, that fear is still one that I won’t shake until 12:30 tomorrow when the reading is complete. Of course, I seem to always have this fear with any new reading or rehearsal, and most of the time it’s all in my head. But this reading is different. Now we’re on union time and the orchestra musicians expect (and should expect) a certain level of professionalism. The orchestra’s view of the composer as a professional, however, can be quickly thwarted by a careless proofreading mistake made by a “young” composer. I just hope for the best. If not the best, then at least for understanding. In any case I am excited to hear my music played by this orchestra which has introduced me to many new works over the years. It’s a special thrill and I am lucky to have this opportunity.

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