Priscilla Smith, our oldest daughter, has already been a busy musician. She plays oboe, Baroque oboe, Classical oboe, oboe d’amore, oboe da caccia, English horn, let’s see, recorders, shawms, dulcians, and… just about every other historical wind instrument. I saw her play bagpipe once or three times. Well, she’s busier than ever, and just about to receive her Master’s in Baroque oboe performance from Juilliard.
She was in the first class of the new Historical Performance program at Juilliard, studying with Gonzalo Ruiz (here’s the link to his page on Magnatune, of which I know little, except that they have the world’s best business motto: “We Are Not Evil”).
Priscilla’s Master’s recital of mostly French Baroque music was a revelation to me. It not only made Mom and Dad proud, but it opened a lot of eyes (and was well attended, I thought, for a Master’s recital). It also saw the debut of a hot new band. She and her colleagues—cellist Ezra Seltzer and harpsichordist and organist Jeffrey Grossman—created an amazing energy, and maybe it’s the start of something.
We were just up in NYC again a week ago, as Juilliard415, the new Baroque orchestra created from the program, accompanied soprano Dorothea Röschmann and countertenor David Daniels in an all-Handel concert at Carnegie Hall. Priscilla was principal oboe for this concert, and had to navigate numerous solos, one more difficult than the next. After one piece, which involved her weaving intricate lines with Daniels, he turned during the applause to acknowledge her, clapping and bowing. That’s the kind of thing that one might take for granted, but not everyone does it, so it struck a deep chord in me.
I imagine she’ll become even busier, but I can’t imagine being any prouder than I already am.