Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in Photo Review

2012 was a huge year for me. Personally, professionally, it was certainly full of challenges, triumphs, and growth. As the year comes to a close, I thought I'd reflect on the most eventful moments via photographs.

I started 2012 in Sarasota, Florida at the Perlman Music Program's winter residency. This was a time of incredible personal growth for me. I had my first lessons with Mr. Perlman, began to ponder the direction of my future studies, met one of my closest friends, and experienced the true sense of the PMP "Littles" community love.

This photo was taken on my 22nd birthday, celebrated with my boyfriend and friends at the German sausage kitchen and beer house Wurstkuche in Los Angeles. Literally days after my birthday, I came down with one of the worst cases of the flu I've ever had--so bad that it actually traveled to my lungs and became pneumonia. I've never been that sick before in my life...spending those 2 months in bed and the subsequent months in such a weakened state taught me to be so grateful for good health.

In February, I had the chance to perform Haydn's Piano Trio in C Major, HOB 27 with pianist Robert Levin and cellist Se-Doo Park on Colburn's Chamber Music Society series. For the first three years of my undergraduate studies, I was in a very intensive piano trio coached by Ronald Leonard--we rehearsed for two hours every day, learned a ton of piano trio repertoire, performed throughout Los Angeles, and participated in the Fischoff Competition. This performance reminded me of my love for the piano trio chamber music medium, not to mention how inspiring it was to work with Robert Levin. It's always an incredible joy to work with a musician who is amazingly talented and very kind.

In March, I was accepted to the quarter-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. I have always dreamed of participating in this competition and preparing for it was a considerable challenge--not just because of the sheer amount of repertoire required, but also because my father's health began to take a considerable turn for the worst during this time. Though I ultimately decided not to go to the competition, what I learned from the preparation was immense.

In April, my father passed away. This was and still is the biggest change I have ever had to deal with in my life thus far. He was an amazing father and, as I've come to realize more and more each day, my best friend. What I have learned about love, loss, and life from this experience continues to astound me. I still am trying to figure out what it means to live a life where he no longer exists.

Right before our graduation in May, my boyfriend and I decided to take a small road trip to Santa Barbara and Solvang in California. It was during this trip that I realized just how beautiful California is, how grateful I am for the past four years there, and how much I appreciate my relationship.

In May, I officially earned my Bachelor of Music degree from The Colburn School Conservatory of Music.

Over the summer, I participated in my third summer at the Aspen Music Festival and School. I was lucky enough to sit second chair in the Aspen Festival Orchestra (pictured above with Robert Chen, Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Concertmaster of a baroque ensemble lead by Nicholas McGegan. This summer, in addition to being fulfilling professionally, was also incredibly healing--I had a beautiful home where I lived with my boyfriend and friends from school, filled with lots of love, laughter, and food.

I also attended my second summer at the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, which was amazing as always. Working with such an incredible group (the cellist just won a position with the New York Philharmonic!) and wonderful coaches, not to mention the beautiful surroundings and good food, was the perfect way to cap off the summer.

At the end of the summer, I moved to my first apartment in New York City to begin my Master's degree at Juilliard. I was so excited to finally have my own space to make completely my own and I definitely value that living in New York. In addition to the obvious things, like paying your rent and utilities bills on time, living on my own has taught me a lot!

Starting at Juilliard meant a lot of new teachers, new classes, new building, new policies, and learning a whole new system, from figuring out the orchestra cycles to using the post office in the mailroom. Things were a lot busier than I anticipated during my first semester--frequently, I would get to school by 9:00AM and wouldn't leave until 10:30PM. It's been exhausting, but I feel like I finally understand how things work and have somewhat settled into a routine. I also managed to win a spot on the Concertmaster roster, which I'm very excited about! I'm hoping, now that I understand things a bit better, that next semester is less crazy and a bit more balanced.

In October, I was lucky enough to participate in Juilliard's Transatlantic Music Project. The project involved one week of intensive rehearsals and coachings, as well as two performances in New York with groups comprised of students from Juilliard and the Hochschule fur Musik in Cologne. Our final performance in Paul Hall was one of my favorite performances at Juilliard thus far and I felt very grateful to work with such beautiful musicians.

On October 17, my second niece and goddaughter Juliette Rose Johns was born!

In November, I traveled to Stowe, Vermont for a 5-day residency with the Perlman Music Program. Stowe was incredibly beautiful and, as with every PMP program, I felt a renewed sense of community and love for music.

At the end of November, my boyfriend and I celebrated 4 years of being together. Moving to New York meant that, as of September, we found ourselves in a long-distance relationship. Needless to say, that transition was extremely difficult and I'm happy to say that we are managing it very well. I still miss sharing my day-to-day life, but I feel a renewed sense of appreciation whenever we visit each other.

Just about a week ago, I helped my brother propose to his girlfriend! On her birthday, we took her to the art museum steps in Philadelphia, which has the best view of the city, under the premise of taking some birthday pictures. Instead of taking a picture, I recorded my brother dropping down on one knee and completely surprising her. She said yes and I couldn't be happier to welcome her to our family.

Finally, one of the biggest things that's happened this year was being accepted into Itzhak Perlman's studio at Juilliard. I found this concerto, with his note written over it, in a stack of old music recently. It made me realize, as I do every week in lessons, how lucky I am to learn from such a true artist.

2012 was definitely an eventful year. As we approach 2013, my resolution is simply that I don't expect anything of life. I don't mean that in the negative sense, but more so that I always maintain perspective and try to remember what is ultimately important. I hope the remaining days of 2012 are happy and wish you all a very happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy [Belated] Holidays

The dePasquale Household 2012 Christmas Tree

I’d like to start by wishing you the warmest of holidays, filled with joy, peace, and love. This holiday season was especially difficult for me, specifically on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Christmas was my father’s favorite time of year and it seemed to hit me especially hard. I feel like I’m slowly starting to emerge out of my holidays funk and I am very excited for the New Year.

I’d like to also apologize for my extended absence from the blog. My first semester at Juilliard was hectic, to say the least. I definitely underestimated the amount of change occurring in my life…new city, new school, new teachers, new (and first!) apartment, new long-distance relationship…however, in the midst of all of this craziness, some really great things have happened. My lessons with Mr. Perlman and Ms. Cho have been amazing, I worked with a fantastic string quartet comprised of PMPers, I won a spot in the Concertmaster pool for the Juilliard Orchestra, and I’ve met a lot of really great people in New York.

I’m still in the midst of mentally processing all that has happened in the last year and figuring out all that I want for myself in the New Year. Until then, I leave you with post-holiday season warmest wishes!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Some Summer Updates

My apologies for the lengthy delay between posts! My summer was amazing, as well as particularly busy. Now that I have finished placement exams and almost finished the orientation process at Juilliard, I've had some time to reflect on my experiences as summer comes to a close (?!).

I spent six weeks at The Aspen Music Festival and School, located in Aspen, Colorado. I attended the festival in 2009 and 2010, returning this summer so that I could have a few more lessons with my violin teacher from Colburn, Robert Lipsett. As musicians, we are so lucky that many of our festivals are located in some pretty gorgeous locations.

Maroon Bells, probably one of Aspen's most famous views

At Aspen, my schedule consisted of orchestra rehearsals and performances, private lessons, and individual practice. I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting Assistant Concertmaster in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and Concertmaster for a Baroque string ensemble, as well as working with some amazing guest artists. I was also lucky to live off-campus with a great group of friends from Colburn, all of whom love to cook. Between  cooking for each other and watching a lot of food network, it was definitely a food-filled household!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie--recipe to come soon!

Next, I attended The Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, located on Shelter Island. I've written about The Perlman Music Program and its incredible philosophy before and I definitely had yet another amazing experience. There, I had the opportunity to work intensely with other young musicians, collaborate, coach, and sight-read with faculty members, and sing in the PMP Chorus, as well as enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

View of the PMP Dock, Shelter Island

In between everything, I've also moved into my first apartment in New York City! I'm so excited for the school year to begin and to get to know the city better. Finally, I'm looking forward to getting back to regular posts!

Until next time,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Irving M. Klein International String Competition

I was recently interviewed by Edna Landau, founding Director of IMG management and a consultant for career development at The Colburn School, for her Musical America article entitled "Choosing the Best Competition for YOU". My experience has been very meaningful and educational, as well as something I've wanted to share for awhile now.

Two years ago, I won my first notable competition. The Irving M. Klein International String Competition was initially a personal test to see if I could apply my improvements on the violin to a set of repertoire, prepare it to the highest level possible, and perform to the best of my abilities. Little did I know that my experience of preparing for and participating in the competition would be one of the single-most important periods in my development thus far as a violinist.

After passing the initial recording elimination, I was determined to be as prepared as possible for the competition. In a situation where so much is out of your control, it's best to leave as little to chance as possible. My teacher, Robert Lipsett, was instrumental in guiding me on how to balance my practicing, performing as close to the competition date as possible, rehearsing with piano, instrument maintenance prior to the competition, and planning clothing, food, and transportation details as thoroughly as possible. With still a month to go before the competition, I stayed in Los Angeles for an extra week after the end of the semester for daily lessons with Mr. Lipsett. I will always be grateful for his guidance and dedication.

Upon arriving at the competition, I was continuously amazed at how supportive the directors, staff, and collaborative pianists were. Never once was there a feeling of cut-throat competition or unnecessary pressure. Everyone at the competition wanted the best for each of the participants, something that was evidently clear and reassuring to us as semi-finalists. Not at all the experience I expected after hearing some of my colleagues' competition stories!

I can honestly say that I did not expect to win. Not because I didn't play my best, as I was actually blessed with the beautiful result of preparation meeting opportunity, but because there were other semi-finalists that were seasoned with much more competition experience than I. Before we knew the results, I was simply happy to know that I had accomplished the goal set forth for myself. Hearing my name announced for first place, seeing my father literally cry for joy, and the amazing performance opportunities that ensued? That, in a word, was surreal.

After the awards ceremony with my elated parents 

A big congratulations to the 2012 winner of the Irving M. Klein competition, cellist and fellow PMPer Austin Huntington! For more information on the competition, please visit their website.

Until next time,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Some Updates

Please head on over to my website for new videos, pictures, and concert information, as well as an updated biography! The videos include my Colburn Chamber Music Society performance of Haydn Piano Trio in C Major, HOB XV: 27 with Robert Levin and Se-Doo Park. Watch the first movement below and be sure to check out the rest on my videos page!

Until next time,

Monday, May 14, 2012


Meet Charlie, the youngest of three cats in the dePasquale household. We hold each of our cats in very high regard here, celebrating (and sometimes momentarily denouncing) their quirky behavior. My brothers and I joke that our parents subconsciously replaced us with felines after our respective departures from the nest--Charlie is the baby girl to her two older brothers, Cocoa and Bruno.

Shortly after beginning my freshman year at Colburn, my brother sent me at text informing me that his friend had found a stray cat and that he was planning on bringing her over to the house. I was skeptical that my parents would go for a third cat...

...but she looked like this, so they were pretty smitten. I'm not sure if my mother put up an argument to adding a third, furry friend to the family. If she did, any arguments were surely squashed the minute Charlie climbed into my father's lap and did this:

Not nearly old enough to be separated from her mother, Charlie needed to be bottle-fed and took to sucking on my father's finger as a nursing substitute. Think of it as the cutest, feline equivalent to the toddler's thumb-suck, ever. Charlie instantly bonded with my father, napping on his lap every single day.

I mean, how do you say "no thanks" to that? Charlie isn't all hugs and kisses all the time, though. In fact, when my parents were struggling to come up with a name for her, I suggested the name "Charlie" for its tomboy-ish, mischievous charm.

I mean, "Alice" or "Snowball" or something just doesn't cut it when your girl is this spunky. Since I only saw Charlie during short visits home throughout the last four years, she and I have just only really gotten to know each other well. She loved my father so much and, in the last few weeks, has taken to me seemingly as a surrogate. As our other cat, Bruno (picture above, getting his face clawed off by Charlie), has always been "my" guy, this has spurned a bit of a rivalry between the two of them.

I love how Charlie is the sweetest little girl...who also chomps on her dry cereal so loudly, you can hear it from the other room. Not to mention the fact that she likes to pick up the individual pieces, drop them in her water bowl, and play with them like they're submarine bath-toys. Like I said, these cats are a quirky bunch.

Introductions to the other two coming soon!

Until next time,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Belated Good News

My post yesterday made me realize that I forgot to announce my move to New York! At the end of March, I was notified that I was accepted to the studios of Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho at Juilliard as an Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship recipient.While this was a bittersweet decision for me, as I have nothing but positive things to say about my teacher and my school here in Los Angeles, I am very excited. I am also incredibly thankful that my father knew about my acceptance and was thrilled with my decision. I can't wait to move back to the east coast!

The Juilliard School

Thrift Store Furniture and Vintage Inspired Finds

In anticipation for my move to New York city this fall, I have already spent a lot of time thinking about the ideal space I want to create. I have always loved to surround myself with things that reflect and reinforce who I am and who I want to be. On a random impulse, my mom and I went exploring a couple of weeks ago and found some great thrift store finds! No purchases yet, as I'm still looking for apartments.

Nightstand, $95
Thrift store in Ardmore, PA

Vintage washboard, $14
Thrift store in Ardmore, PA

Wooden screen, $245
Thrift store in Ardmore, PA

Vintage dresser, $165
Thrift store in Ardmore, PA

 I loved the hand-painted designs on the nightstand and screen. Also, how cute is that vintage washboard?!

The online marketplace Etsy also has unique, handmade items.

Chalkboard end table, $20

Mail holder with mason jar and hooks, $29.95

Telephone table, $60

Trees and birds wall decal, $84

Mirror, $19

Set of 2 chairs, $100

Birdcage, $20

Drop-leaf table, $145

Nightstand, $75

Set of 2 scroll shelves, $20

Sofa or entryway table, $74

Sunflower poof, $80

Modcloth and Urban Outfitters have some cute housewares, too!

"Plenty of Spice to Share" Shaker Set, $21.99

"Planks a lot" Cutting Boards, $12.99

Damask wallpaper, $78
Urban Outfitters

Mixed media shag carpet in grey, $29
Urban Outfitters

Reclaimed wood chalkboard, $49
Urban Outfitters

And then there's the wishlist of stuff that is most definitely out of my price range...hey, a girl can dream, right?

Georgina duvet cover in light grey, $368

Vintage chair, $165

Time Will Tell arm chair, $880

Ava tufted sleeper sofa, $749
Urban Outfitters

Stella floor lamp, $119
Urban Outfitters

Of course, there are always ways to find inspiration from higher-priced items and recreate them for way less.

Chalkboard spice jars,  $10 each

$10 per jar at Anthropologie compared to $19 for a set of 12 when mason jars and chalkboard labels are purchased separately!

Chalkboard labels, $8 for a set of 12
Set of 12 mason jars, $11
Ball brand

This vintage-inspired factory cart coffee table runs for $890 (on sale, no less!) at Restoration Hardware, compared to $180 for an actual antique factory cart on Craigslist. Of course, the Craigslist find would need some sprucing up!

Factory cart coffee table, $890 on sale
Restoration Hardware

Antique factory cart, $180 each

As I'm sure you can tell, I'm very excited about setting up my own, unique space. I look forward to sharing more with you as I actually find an apartment and start to put things together.

Until next time,