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Sweden: getting ready to go

It's funny to remember that I began my first blog in 2003 as a way to keep people back home informed about my goings on during my first visit to Sweden, and here I go again. Tomorrow I fly to Sweden, my first flight back to Europe since I moved to LA. (Where has the time gone?)

I am one of 12 "young" conductors selected for an international conducting competition held in recognition of Sweden's iconic choral conductor Eric Ericson. The Eric Ericson Award began in 2003 and is held every three years, and I have been very fortunate to be invited to participate again. In fact the first winner, Peter Dijkstra, is now the conductor of the amazing Swedish Radio Choir and is living proof of the kind of launchpad such events can be.

So as you can guess, nerves abound, but alongside the nerves is the anticipation of immersing myself in some top-notch music making and being surrounding by superlative musicians (conductors, choruses, and jury). My first Eric Ericson Award was a revelation and marked a big leap in my own musicianship. I expect there will be many "take aways" from this trip, but like Heraclitus said, I won't be stepping into the same river twice. I want to avoid using my expectations to filter, and potentially alter or block, what's actually in front of me.

I'm definitely repeating to myself the advice I've received from so many friends lately: breathe!