Quetzal, Guatemala

IMG_8973I started this journey in San Jose, CA. My first stop was landing in San Jose del Cabo, sleepy sister city to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which together make up Los Cabos. Then I ended up at the port of San Jose in Quetzal, Guatemala, only to fly home from San Jose, Costa Rica. There seemed to be a recurring San Jose (Saint Joseph) theme here….only reinforced by the fact that Passover, the Lunar Eclipse, Blood Moon, and Easter all fell on the same weekend this year! Perhaps I’m supposed to be getting in touch with my Inner Spirituality so I’ve taken the time to meditate daily on my ocean front balcony where the seas have changed in colors daily. In Cabo, the waters were a bright teal, in Puerto Vallarta, I witnessed the most epic sunset, and the seas in Acapulco and Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala the seas were a deep cobalt blue. What a luxury to have an ocean front balcony from which to sit and write all day long! Today on our way to Costa Rice, the waters are the deep blue which matches my sapphire ring.

IMG_8971On the evening of Passover, I got up at 5:30am just to see the Blood Moon that was occurring this early morn over the skies of Guatemala, night of the shortest Total Lunar Eclipse of the 21st century, lasting just 4 minutes, 44 seconds, on the evening of Passover, Evening of Freedom. Last time this auspicious event happened I was with my Mom. I feel so thankful to have been able to witness this eerie event with her as it somehow brought us together.

In the spirit of unusual events, I did something today that I’ve never ever done in my life….. against Doctor’s orders…. I went for a run! As I’m getting older, I’m battling the weight issue, and although when I’m at home I can usually bike and swimming as a work-out routine, when I’m on the road I don’t always have a good place to swim. Now, I’m so excited to have embraced running.

IMG_8950I get super excited about things especially if they are things I’ve never done this before, I get crazy excited this way! It’s kind of like when I started cooking. I had never cooked in my life until I decided 3 years to cook a holiday dinner. Now I’ve become quite the Vegan Chef, if I do say so myself. In this same way, I only recently rediscovered swimming. I started swimming when I was 6 years old as a form of therapy when I was in between body casts. I became quite competitive at an early age, winning awards and ribbons. But at the age of 11, I decided I no longer wanted to cut my hair, and I quit the swim team. I recently started swimming again inspired by a FB post of my flutist friend, Pamela Ravenelle. I joined her health club and we periodically have swim “dates” when I’m home in between tours. These swim dates, evolved into my jumping into the ocean periodically. And on some days, I’ll swim for 30-45 minutes in the pool and then, if the tides and waves are favorable, I’ll jump in the ocean and swim again, twice in the same day!

It wasn’t until the end of this journey that I actually realized that I was sailing on the Silver Spirit…. yet again another “spiritual” metaphor!

Viviana Guzman ShowI do strongly believe that it is good to stretch oneself, I encourage everyone to do something totally new and different at least once a month. On this trip, I meditated every day for an hour, I worked out every day for 2 hours and I practiced my flute every day for 3 hours and I ran everyday for 30 minutes. A very fulfilling and successful trip this was!

 

 

Encounter Leads to Beautiful Painting

Two years ago I had played a recital the the Korea Foundation Center in Seoul, Korea.  I met a very kind and gentle artist, M. Bagher Aghamiri who had an art exhibition later in the week in the same location.  I was unable to attend his exhibit as I had to continue with my Asian tour, but we exchanged emails and he said he was going to paint a picture of me.

Two years later, last month, I got an email stating the the print was finished.  This is the picture that I found in my inbox:

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Painting by Mohammad Bagher Aghamiri

 

I was astounded.  I was floored.  I felt so moved!  Tears welled up in my eyes. Words cannot describe what I felt inside.  This magnificent artist had captured my inner essence in the 5 minutes that we met!  Now that is talent!  What an honor! What beautiful work!  How did he know I loved peacocks?  As a flutist, I sound like a bird and very much identify with them.  He painted my portrait with birds, flowers, nature, grace and romanticism, capturing my very nature.  I thank you M. Bagher Aghamiri from the bottom of my heart.  I hope someday to see you in person again soon.  In the meantime, I send you all my love and blessings.   Thank you!  Gracias!  Merci!

 

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ABC-TV Interview

My ABC-TV News Interview!! Check it out!

ABC-TV came to my house to interview me for the 5pm News hour and they ended up featuring me throughout the day with bits and pieces.  Thank you ABC-TV!!!!

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Muramatsu Flute For Sale

Professional, 9K Muramatsu Flute For Sale! French keys (in-line), drawn tone holes, B-foot flute from  the 1980’s in excellent condition. Asking $8,500 USD.  Email: info@viviana.org

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The FREE Viviana Guzman Mobile App

The official FREE Viviana Guzman Mobile App is available for download on iTunes and Android.  Listen to tracks, see pictures, check out bio, follow my schedule, etc.  Download NOW!

Viviana Guzman mobile App

 

Viviana Guzman mobile App

Recital in Tokyo, Japan


Viviana Guzman and Mahani Teave in JapanTokyo, Japan
Immediately after landing in Tokyo, pianist Mahani Teave and I were met by the Chilean Embassy in Japan, Patricio Becker at the airport. He hospitably greeted us and took us to our hotel, The Tokyo Prince Hotel. Even though we had traveled many time zones, time traveled days ahead, spent hours on planes, we immediately went to rehearse in a nearby rehearsal studio near the hotel for hours until closing time. We found that The Tokyo Prince Hotel was very strict about (not) practicing in the hotel. And this rehearsal space cost $25 the hour!  I have never had to PAY to practice. That was a first indeed. Since Mahani and I had not seen each other since our last concert tour a year before, we had a lot of work to put together our recital which was to take place in 5 days time.

We practiced diligently hours every day, rehearsing separately and then together. And so our days were filled with this one goal in mind. The concert took place at the Sogetsu Hall and was attended by many Ambassadors and Japanese businessmen, as well as the head of Mitsui, our concert sponsor. Our heartfelt thanks go out to these corporate sponsors as well as to the Embassy of Chile in Japan without whose help, our tour would not have been possible. Many thanks also go out to the Tokyo College of Music who allowed us to practice an entire day in their facility free of charge.

While otherwise a nice place to stay, I would not recommend the Tokyo Prince Hotel for a musician.  The management did not support any sort of practice.  Period.  I managed to sneak in 10 minutes here and there before someone would come tell me to stop playing.  The most ironic thing ever was after I had found a lounge to practice in, and the “security” came to tell me to stop practicing, I noticed that as I walked out of the lounge and into the lobby, I could hear flute music being piped in blasting through all the speakers!

The only thing I did like about the Tokyo Prince Hotel was it’s location. We were able to visit the Tokyo Tower which was 2 blocks away as well as a beautiful Buddhist Temple which was right next door. I participated in my first ever Buddhist Mass which became the highlight of my stay in Tokyo this time.  This was an unexpected treat, as I had just gone exploring on my final day in Tokyo.  As I sat down to admire the temple, the ceremony started.  I enjoyed every minute of it, from the incense, to the drumming, chanting and meditating.  I was in bliss!

It was a since pleasure to see again the Ambassador of Chile to Japan, Patricio Torres and his lovely wife, Cecilia. They invited us to their Residence for a wonderful meal where we met the Ambassador of Japan to Chile, Naoto Nikai and his lovely wife.

In addition, elegant Keiko-san was our thoughtful guide for several of our events during our stay in Tokyo. It was a pleasure to visit with her again.

Tokyo is always a pleasure to visit with it’s gracious, hardworking and respectful people, beautiful temples, and hospitable friends.  What I love most about traveling is the exchanges with people.  In this case, since it had been our second tour of Japan, it was amazing to see everybody from the Embassy of Chile in Japan again.  They had once again provided us with utmost hospitality, gracious kindness.  Arigato!!  Gracias!!

Viviana Guzman, Mahani Teave

Viviana Guzman & Mahani Teave Recital Poster in Tokyo 2014

Viviana Guzman and Mahani Teave

Viviana Guzman & Mahani Teave in Tokyo, Japan

Viviana Guzman, Mahani Teave

Visiting the Tokyo Tower

Temple in Tokyo

Temple in Tokyo

 

Byzantium On The GRAMMY Ballot

ByzantiumI am happy to announce (as I only just found out) that my World Music Album BYZANTIUM is on the ballot list for the 57th GRAMMY Awards.

This album was started in Budapest, compiled in Istanbul and finished on Easter Island. This album fuses classical, world music and electronic beats to create a sound that is cinematic and soundtrack quality. The album is Down Tempo Techno Tribal, where Dead Can Dance & Enigma meets R. Carlos Nakai & Enya.

Genre: Electronic: Down Tempo/World Music
Release Date: 2014

Download:  iTunes
Purchase:  CD Baby
Watch:  YouTube

For voting members:

Field 15 – World Music –
Category 53 – Best World Music Album
Byzantium – Viviana
107

Field 21 – Composing/Arranging –
Category 61 – Best Instrumental Composition
Ladino Express – Viviana Guzman, composer
159

Last year my Classical album, Traveling Sonata, received a Grammy Nomination. Voting members, please help me to bring my latest album, BYZANTIUM to the next step by voting on my World Music and original composition ventures!

(Listen to the entire album via the Soundcloud Playlist below)

 

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10 Travel Tips for the Internationally Touring Musician

Manaus1)  First, purchase luggage that has a lifetime warranty.  It might be pricey initially, but being able to fix luggage pieces that get badly beaten during travel will prove highly effective in the long run.  Another sound investment would be purchasing locks for every luggage you travel with.

 

2)  Adopt a “zen” attitude during travel.  You have to go with the flow no matter what happens, because everything WILL happen.

 

3)  Bring projects to complete during plane rides.  For example, this article is being written while flying from San Francisco to St. Louis.  Makes the time go faster and yes, it’s a form of multi-tasking.  Be sure to have an extra phone battery charged and ready to go.  National USA airlines don’t usually have ports to be able to charge up equipment like the (awesome) Asian airlines do.

 

4)  Invest in noise cancellation earphones.  Yes, they’re not cheap, but they are totally worth it.  the last thing you want is to be in a crowded plane with babies screaming all around you or being forced to listen to an annoying loud conversation next to you.

 

5)  Try to pack as light as possible.  You can always wash clothes in the sink overnight.  I have lost my patience traveling with too much gear.  It’s very liberating to travel slim.  Keep in mind that you can always purchase whatever you might find missing.

 

6)  When changing time zones, like going from USA to Asia, use caffeine and Advil-pm’s to help adjust to the time zone quicker.  There’s nothing more frustrating than jet-lag.  It’s ok to use caffeine to stay awake when your body time clock is still at home where everyone is sleeping.  And vice versa, when you need to get some sleep and it’s the middle of the day back at home, take an Advil-pm to ensure a restful sleep.

 

7)  Booking multi-destination flights is usually cheaper than booking a simple round trip.  Add a city and perform an extra concert AND the flight will be cheaper.  It’s a win win situation no matter how you look at it.

 

8)  Pack everything in ziplock bags.  This is the best way to keep like-items together and organized in your suitcase.  Only pack clothes that are wrinkle and iron free.  Develop a system for where each item has a special place in my suitcase this way you can ensure “easy” access.  This makes packing and unpacking easier, too.  Always pack 2 to 3 days prior to leaving just to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.  Keep a general list of Things To Take On Tour in you computer and read every time while packing to make sure you don’t leave anything behind.

 

9)  Airplane food and airport food are the worst as there are no healthy vegan restaurants and rarely anything vegetarian, so pack plenty of healthy bars.  After going through TSA, stock up on plenty of water in order to stay well hydrated.  Get to the airport with plenty of time, two hours minimum.  Research ahead of time if any countries you will be touring in require a VISA.

 

10)  Always have the name of the hotel you are staying or take a hotel business card from the front desk.  If you are jet lagged in a foreign city, you want to be able to have something to show the taxi driver in his language.  Most taxi drivers in foreign countries do not speak English.

 

 

TRAVEL WARNINGS

Beware of packing heavy hand luggage.  Some airlines will demand to weigh your carry-on bag and if it exceeds the allotted weight amount, they will force you to check your luggage (Lufthansa, LAN Chile, Air Tahiti Nui, Air Malaysia).  I often carry my most fragile equipment with me and these airlines have given me a lot of grief over my “over weight” carry-on luggage.  It makes no sense to me as the luggage fits under the seat and I don’t understand what difference the piece makes whether it’s loaded with baggage or in the cabin, the weight is the same.  But alas.

Children’s scissors are considered a deadly weapon in the airport in Thailand.  They’ve taken these from me on two separate occasions.  The airport in Sydney confiscated my precious gold hairpin given to me by my best friend on my birthday.

 

TRAVEL BONUS

I love to add a mission to every trip.  This how I started my flute collection.  Everywhere I would find myself, I made a point of finding The Flute of The Area I was in.  I have over 100 flutes now in my collection.  Going on these personal treasure hunts were fun and made each trip that much more special.  Currently, my mission is providing a Community Service element to my foreign tours.  I have been offering performances at orphanages which most recently included Bali and Philippines.  I get great satisfaction out of seeing the beautiful smiles on these children.

 

Viviana in Santiago de Compostela, Spain:

 

 

Viviana in Egypt:

 

 

Viviana in Antarctica:

 

 

Viviana at the Acropolis:

 


Feel free to add more travel tips of yours in the comments below!

(Re-published with permission from  The Flute View Magazine, 2/2014)

Calaveras County, Mexico & TEDxTalk

10252006_10152388416749578_2358884766754473129_nTours to the Gold Country and Mexico

 

It is always with great pleasure that I accept performance opportunities in California’s Gold Country.  For me, it is like stepping back in time.  I enjoy staying at the Historic Hotels like the National Hotel in Jackson, CA and the Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill, CA.  This area is peaceful and makes for a wonderful get-a-way.  I feel at home when I pass through Chili Gulch which is the plaque that honors all the Chileans that came to this country during the Gold Rush.  I love the fact that Mark Twain wrote about the Frog Race that still takes place in Murphys, CA.  There are antique stores everywhere that reminisce about days gone by.

 

I started off the intensive weekend by giving a talk at the TEDxConstitution Drive (Menlo Park) posted below “From Body Casts to the Stages of the World”, after which I performed for the German American School Fundraiser in Los Altos Hills.  Then I was off to the Gold Country where I performed at the Petroglyphe Art Gallery in Mokelumne Hill, CA.  My hosts, Denise Ebbett and her grandchildren Daniel 6, McKenna 12 and Dylan 9, made me feel right at home.  The audience was super warm and appreciative.  After the concert I had a fantastic meal at the Hotel Leger and slept beautifully in my candlelit room with balcony and fireplace.  The following day I taught a Masterclass at the Bret Hart High School which was sponsored by Altus Flutes.  I get a kick out of teaching and the kids always love experiencing my “Intro to Beatboxing” instruction.  We all had a great time.  I drove home only to re-pack my bags the following morning at 4am…. for Mexico!

 

I flew to Puerto Vallarta and immediately, THE SAME DAY, I had to perform.  That was really “cutting it close”.  But it’s all worth it when I get a standing ovation from 2,000 cheering people.  I collapsed to sleep that night from exhaustion.  I had a great day in Cabo San Lucas where it was a cloudless, spectacularly brilliant day.  I chose to go snorkeling.  What a treat!  Although, it was not Tahiti where I was Scuba Certified, it was refreshingly amazing.  The tip of Cabo San Lucas is always a breathtaking sight.  From the teal colored waters, to the natural arch and caves, Cabo is always an enchanting panorama.  I had a lot fun creating the James Bond Spoof that you can view on my Facebook page.

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Flutes by the Sea Masterclass & Concerts

FBTS VFBFlutes by the Sea Masterclass & Concerts 

 

I was born on the ocean.  I live on the ocean.  I work on the ocean.  It’s no surprise that The Flutes by the Sea Masterclass would take place near the ocean as well.  The ocean provides an inspiring backdrop for music making.  Creative people need the soothing, refreshing and rejuvenating aspects of the sea.

 

Flutes by the Sea Masterclass is designed to energize and inspire the young adult, high school student, college student, semi-professional, professional, recreational and retired flutist.  Last year we had Juilliard professor, International Soloist, Carol Wincenc.   This year we have Barbara Siesel and Fluterscooter also teaching the Masterclass.

 

Attending the event who will be showcasing their merchandise as well as performing and leading workshops.  They include the following (in alpha order):

 

Janelle Barrera, President of the LA Flute Guild, will be conducting the Flutes by the Sea Flute Choir which will rehearse everyday at noon.  Janelle will also be performing on the Thursday night concert, June 12

 

Fluterscooter, Co-Founder/Editor of The Flute View Magazine, will be showcasing her elegant Fluterscooter Flute Bags.  She will be performing on Wednesday and Thursday nights during The Flute View Trio Debut Concert.  Fluterscooter will also be teaching and giving the lecture she presented at The Juilliard School, Building Your Brand Business of Music Lecture.

 

Viviana Guzman, Founder of the San Francisco Flute Society, Co-Founder/Editor of The Flute View Magazine, will perform as a soloist with the Magic Flutes Orchestra at the opening concert on Sunday night at 7pm as well as for The Flute View Trio Debut Concert on Wednesday and Thursday nights June 11 and 12 at 7pm.

 

Tracy Harris, Founder of the Wynfall Flute Choir and Wynfall Music Studios will perform on our final Gala Concert on Thursday, June 12

 

Jane Lenoir, Berkeley Choro Enemble, will conduct an Intro to Improvisation for Classical Musicians.

 

Teresa Orozco & Orlando Castro will present their Latin Music on Wednesday night.

 

Barbara Siesel & Keith Torgan, The Green Golly Project, will be teaching an Acting for Musicians Workshop and Barbara Siesel, Co-Founder/Editor of The Flute View Magazine, will be teaching and she will be performing Wednesday and Thursday nights during The Flute View Trio Debut Concert.

 

Joanna Tse, of Just Another Flutist, a popular YouTube Channel, will  be giving a lecture/demonstration on How To Start Your YouTube Channel.

 

Other guest performers include Audrey Boyle, Anita Chandavarkar, Ai Goldsmith, and Abigail Sten who will perform on Wednesday June 11 at 7pm.

 

Among our Distinguished Flute Choir Directors, we will be hearing each of the following SF Bay Area Flute Choirs at the commencement of every 7pm concert:

 

Flutes by the Sea Flute Choir, Janelle Barrera, Director (with the Auditor Participants)

Magic Flutes Flute Orchestra, Pamela Ravenelle, Director

Xtreme Flute Choir, Pamela Ravenelle, Director

Bel Canto Flutes, Gail Edwards, Director

Oriole Flute Choir, Gala Yaroshevsky, Director

Avant Flute Choir, Gala Yaroshevsky, Director

The Class Pianists are Dmitriy Cogan and Svetlana Harris.

 

Every morning I will conduct a Meditation for Performers Workshop where I will cover basic techniques for overcoming performance anxiety.  After this, we will begin with the Flutes by the Sea Flute Choir rehearsal with Janelle Barrera followed by the Masterclass from 2pm to 3pm where I will listen to classical flute repertoire and also conduct the following Workshops: “Just Intonation”, Intro to Improvisation for Performers, Intro to Beatbox Flute.  From 3pm to 4pm Barbara Siesel and Fluterscooter will guide the students with their unique teaching and guidance.  The 4pm to 5pm hour each day will feature a different workshop / lecture with various topics from Acting for Musicians with Keith Torgan, Improvising for Classical Musicians with Jane Lenoir, How to Start Your YouTube Channel with Joanne Tse.

 

We will have the following Flute Exhibits:  Altus Flutes, Brannen Handmade Flutes, Green Golly Flutes, The Flute View Magazine, Fluterscooter Flute Bags, Gary Lewis Flutes, Straubinger Flutes, and West Valley Music.

 

Every night there will be a Concert 7pm which is offered for FREE to San Francisco Flute Society Members.

 

We look forward to seeing you at this years Flutes by the Sea Masterclass.

 

Flutes by the Sea by Lars Howlett