In With the New by and Play

We are entering the last couple of days of 2015, and it makes me (Maya) reflect a bit on this year that has transpired and look forward to the new one that is almost in my grasp. I have always enjoyed how it only takes one night and the calendar date/people's outlook on life goes from old to new in an instant. We make lists with our intentions for the coming year that range from lofty life ambitions to the mundane with a bit of everything in between. I love this tradition, and some of my intentions have become old pals that have yet to become reality. Who knows, maybe 2016 is the year that I stop biting my nails for good, start strengthening my core, read War and Peace, and bring my violin into the shop on a regular basis for adjustments? All I know for sure is that I will keep dreaming, and that is at the top of my list. Want to join me?


P.S. I am writing lots of snail mail this year, so if you want some happiness delivered straight to your mailbox just send an address!

andLiked this week: Teach Yourself Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri from the New Yorker. This was an all together inspiring and uplifting read, and it definitely got me thinking about the year to come and how sticking to certain goals can change your life for the better.

Here is a poem by Mary Oliver from her newest collection, Felicity to take you into the new year...


When I moved from one house to another

there were many things I had no room

for. What does one do? I rented a storage 

space. And filled it. Years passed.

Occasionally I went there and looked in,

but nothing happened, not a single

twinge of the heart.

As I grew older the things cared 

about grew fewer, but were more 

important. So one day I undid the lock

and called the trash man. He took


I felt like the little donkey when

his burden is finally lifted. Things!

Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful

fire! More room in your heart for love,

for the trees! For the birds who own

nothing---the reason they can fly.

First readings by and Play

Before Maya took off for Ohio and I (Hannah) started my annual winter jigsaw puzzle, we had one final andRehearsal to look at some of the music for our January concert. We are going to be premiering a bunch of new pieces on this concert, so we invited three of the local composers (Ivonne Paredes, Paul Kerekes, and Brian Petuch) to come to the first readings of their pieces.  This helped us to get answers to questions we had about their scores, and gave them some ideas of what was working/not working with their piece so far. It's great to be able to work so closely with composers throughout the entire process; we will definitely see them a few more times before January 23rd.  And, of course we had cookies (eaten too quickly to photograph)!      

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, enjoy the bizarre warm weather on the East Coast!  

A mystery poster that we found in our rehearsal space! We hope you and your larynx have a happy day!   

A mystery poster that we found in our rehearsal space! We hope you and your larynx have a happy day!


We caught Brian with one of the last cookies!  

We caught Brian with one of the last cookies!  

Meet Me in St. Louis by and Play

This past week I (Maya) got to do a really fun project with composer and friend of andPlay, Hunter Long. He asked me earlier this fall if I would be interested in flying out to St. Louis (better known as the gateway to the west) for an experimental opera that he was writing, Drawing Down the Moon, at this amazing gallery space called The Luminary. He had been chosen for one of their artist residencies and was working on putting together the team of musicians. I love traveling, operas, and experiments, so it was a no brainer to say yes to that dress, and oh boy am I glad that I did.

I arrived at the St. Louis airport last Wednesday and met up with Hunter, Carmen Moreno (director), and Rebecca Woodmass (singer). We were put up in these enormous (by New York standards) apartments about a 7 minute walk from the gallery. The apartments were generously donated to the gallery to house resident artists by a MEGA sweet couple that owned the building. Our first outing in town was to the Fortune Teller Bar that definitely lived up to its name. There was an actual fortune teller in the window ready to tell your future, dark lighting, and taxidermy animals strategically placed all around the space.

Our first rehearsal was the next morning. I woke up and armed myself with my violin, iPad, and Google map of the best coffee shop nearby. The Mud House (the aforementioned coffee shop) was everything that the Yelp reviews promised and more. It was my safe haven for the four days in St. Louis, and I waltzed through those doors at least twice a day. If you are ever in the neighborhood it is a MUST not only for its Gilmore Girls inspired name (props to you if you can tell me where this is from), but also because the coffee and food are delicious, the artwork made me laugh, and the baristas are genuinely friendly.

At the first rehearsal I finally got to meet the other singer, Sarah Hawkey, who also hails from New York. We worked through each section/chant and all got to know each other a bit.

Over the next couple of days we worked out all of the movement, props, and timing. The piece is about these three witch-like women reciting chants and performing rituals in order to draw down the moon. The singers and Carmen started the piece on the end of the room farthest away from the moon and with each chant came closer and closer. They crazily broke sticks, lit matches, had their ESP cards read, walked around a salt circle, and lit bowls on fire to name a few activities that took place.

Hunter and Carmen were constantly rushing around making sure that everything was ready for the big day, and they did an incredible job!!!!

When show time came around everything was in place, and we were all jazzed for a transfixing performance filled with 70 pounds of salt, clay face paint, and an enormous moon waiting to be lit.

I am so glad that I was able to do this project with all of these incredible new (to me) artists, and I hope we can perform it again sometime soon!


andLiked this week: THE CITY MUSEUM of St. Louis. It is an enormous playground filled with whimsy, hidden passageways, and slides for kids and adults that is open until midnight on weekends.  You can and dare I say should get lost in there for days if given the opportunity.

Gifts for the Giving by and Play

Boxes, wrapping paper, and name tags, oh my! It is the time of year when you think about what little (or large) gifts will be the perfect thing to tell someone that you care about them. We know that your inbox and social media feeds are probably filled to the brim with gift lists, but humor us and let us add our two-cents!

1.) The swanky string player in your life? Give them the MOST BLING rosin of all time (Maya has her students convinced that it is made with magic).

2.) A baker in the family? No problem! Give them the beautiful and super useful Amy's Bread revised and updated Cookbook. Nothing says love like hinting that you want them to make chocolate sourdough twists for you.

3.) Coffee? How about a lovely Chemex and hand grinder! Help make their morning more relaxing yet invigorating.

4.) A friend keeps forgetting about dates and rehearsals? A simple yet elegant Moleskin pocket planner is the answer to (most of) their prayers.

5.) A friend who loves the written word and missing their subway stop? The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon . Get  a copy for yourself too--you deserve it.

6.) Know someone with a discman, boombox, computer, or record player? Yes? Then they will LOVE these albums! Tigue Peaks and Will Mason Ensemble Beams of the Huge Nights. All of the ears should hear these! Follow them on all of their social medias and get into it.

7.) Artsy friend with a love for small bags to put inside of their larger bags? Check out the etsy page of friend of andPlay, Grace Engel (we have a fun collab in the works that you should get pumped about). Follow her on instagram too, her art rocks. And while you are at it check out our friend from across the pond, Julia Vogl's new online art shop too!  

8.) Do you know a world traveler who is in to the fancier sides of life? Check out this INCREDIBLE weekender bag from Cuyana that Hannah just got for herself and consider how much more luxurious your life would be at the airport if you (or your loved ones) had one too.

9.) Do you know someone with a heart? Gilmore Girls DVD box set. Enough said.


That's all for the gift list, folks! hApPy HoLiDaYs and have fun!!