Astraios is a national network of chamber musicians working to remove barriers between audiences and performers.

About Astraios

Astraios is a national network of chamber musicians committed to the development of the interaction between musicians and audience members as a way of enhancing creativity and the entire musical experience.

Events

At Astraios concerts, our goal is to make the audience a part of the performance! Join us for Q&A with the musicians, demonstrations on how to listen to a new piece of music, the chance to try out instruments and more…

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Blog

Michael Makes A Reed

December 29, 2014

Professional double-reed players make their own reeds, and Michael Jones is no different.  Here is a short stop-time video that shows the reed-making process in under two minutes (in reality, this process can take over 6 months for only one reed!!!).  If you are interested in the technical details, Michael has provided a written description below.  Note:  This is the process for a professional reed–student reeds are made slightly differently.

Cane (a species of bamboo known as arundo donax) comes in tubes.  It is split into 4 pieces and gouged, which means taking off the pithy underside of the cane.  (This is not shown in the video as I buy my cane pre-gouged.)  I soak the pieces for at least 8 hours, and then profile each piece–which means I take off the bark.  I measure the piece and mark the center.  The piece is then folded in half and placed on a shaper, which is the template that I use to cut the cane into the shape of the reed.  I then sand the side of the reed (not shown on the video–Ruth Ann forgot!).  Next I measure and mark the length of the tube (the part that still has bark and will be placed on the bocal*), the collar (where the reed transitions from bark to no bark),

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Gruca-White Ensemble in Texas

November 24, 2014

Bob Gruca and Linda White gave a stellar performance here in Texas on November 15th.  They kicked off our 2014-2015 season with a packed house at the Frisco Discovery Center.  Mixing standard classical music with popular favorites from Chick Corea and Van Morrison, they also led the audience through works improvised on the spot.  Linda led the audience through a favorite activity that had each section singing a simple melody.  Building on a simple bass line, the audience layered more and more melodies on top while Bob and Linda improvised around that framework.  The audience was quite pleased they could hold up their end of the concert!

On November 14, the Gruca-White Ensemble also performed at Taylor Elementary School for 100 third graders.  The musicians performed a few pieces for the students, but also taught the students how to listen to a new piece of music.  The students particularly loved using hand motions to identify a new sound.  When Bob did a huge pitch bend on guitar, the kids did “the wave.”  When Linda fluttertongued, the students showed off their jazz hands.  (You can see a short clip of this by visiting our Facebook page.)

Some people asked about Bob’s hands, so he willingly showed us how he maintains his nails to pluck the strings of a classical guitar.  

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