Chamber music ~
the way it was meant to be!

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

The Cake Merchant Makes a Reed

June 25, 2015

You may remember a post last year where Michael Jones demonstrated how to make a bassoon reed.  For a comparison, Natasha Merchant demonstrates how to make an oboe reed.  Where Michael would age his reeds for days or weeks, Natasha can make an oboe reed in roughly the same amount of time it takes to make a batch of cupcakes.

Natasha begins by splitting the tube cane with a razor blade, then cuts the cane down in size using a guillotine.  She planes the cane and then gouges it; both steps remove thin bits of reed and create the shape of the curve.  The cane is then put on an easel, scored in the center, and folded over.  It is placed on a shaper to be cut into the exact shape of the oboe reed.  Oboists use pre-formed tubes that fit onto the oboe (whereas bassoon reeds are all cane and fit onto the bocal), so Natasha then ties the cane onto the tube.  She uses beeswax to coat the thread and make it easier to manipulate, then wraps the thread tightly around tube and cane. (Doesn’t she have a pretty selection of colors?)  The reed is then meticulously measured, scraped, and clipped open.  It will be left to dry, and further scraped to find the best sound.  Just

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2015 Astraios Gala Concert

April 25, 2015

Tired but happy!  That’s the best way to describe things at Astraios HQ after two successful concerts this month.  On April 3rd, the Bel Air Brass was finally able to perform their program that had been iced out in February.  They presented works that covered everything from Renaissance fanfares to Dixieland jazz, and talked about the construction of brass instruments.  Using instruments known as “hosaphones” (garden hoses attached to funnels) the musicians demonstrated how long each of the four instruments actually are.  Jimmy Clark brought a trombone whose slide had been straightened (called the Texas Long Horn, of course!) and Jeff Baker demonstrated a cimbasso–a strange cross breed between a tuba and a trombone.  You can see clips from this concert by visiting our YouTube page here.

The dust had barely settled from the brass concert before we were turning all our focus to our first ever gala concert.  Our hope was to create a completely unique event–like all Astraios concerts!–that proved that elegant events can still be informal and fun.  We held it at the Frisco Heritage Museum, which not only hosts memorabilia from the founding of the city of Frisco, but is also the temporary home of the Museum of the American Railroad.  Guests were free to wander the museum, eat dinner, chat with other guests,

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