by Musician 1st Class Jason Ayoub
Today was a once-in-a-lifetime concert. Not only have I had the amazing privilege of be a soloist on our 2012 national tour, but tonight, Jim Beckel, the composer of "The Glass Bead Game," was in the audience to listen to our performance of his wonderful concerto.
It is nerve-wracking enough putting yourself out there in front of the band. Add the pressures of playing in a different acoustical space each night, plus days off between solo performances, and you have to be on top of your game. When the composer is in attendance it is like playing the piece for the first time, all over. You start really analyzing every detail of the piece. What if they don't like this, or the way I phrased that. What if I have completely misinterpreted their piece completely.
Thankfully, Jim Beckel is one of the most gracious composers I have met. After playing his piece, I was met by a man so humbled and honored that had I performed his Pulitzer-nominated piece, that I was relieved and overjoyed at the same time. It was also a real treat to get to hang out with him after the show. We had a wonderful time discussing our families, the Indianapolis Symphony, and future projects he is working on. This was, for me, a treat like no other. I have played many concerts under some incredible conductors and audiences, yet there is no other experience as being able to show the composer how much you admire and enjoy performing their work of art.