April means flowers blooming, days growing to a decent length, the sun shining and the fog of a depressing winter lifting at last. Massacres keep happening, migrants die by the hundreds on the wide Mediterranean sea, and French politics are getting maddeningly scary, but spring is in the air and in my steps. It's also in the steps of the World's Best Baby, who is starting to walk with these little gleeful toddler shouts that melt all your troubles away.
I go to most excellent concerts.
I've seen Vladimir Ashkenazy conduct an orchestra of young musicians. I've heard the most beautiful Haydn. I've shivered hearing the song of a clarinet mix with the voice of a viola. I've savored comments from members of the audience, remarking afterwards on how beautiful an instrument the viola is (well, duh). I've marveled at Beethoven's violin sonatas, along with an audience who brought forth three encores and concluded with a well-deserved standing ovation.
Tomorrow I'll see the New York Philharmonic. The New York Philharmonic! All this thanks to a bunch of generous people from the Internet. I met three of them face-to-face for the first time a couple of weeks ago. They're even better in person.
I prepare concerts with my orchestra.
I make the time to practice and play my instrument more often, almost daily.
I hang out with people who make music as a pastime; I hang out with people who breathe music in every minute in their spare time; I hang out with people who make music for a living.
Young people with much more impressive resumes than mine at the time I was completing my masters degree are applying to do their PhD with me, sometimes even being ready to forgo guaranteed funding to "give themselves the means to do what they really want" even though none of the funding plans we have for them is guaranteed. A professor I almost did my own PhD with now asks me to co-advise a PhD student with her.
Colleagues are letting me know how much they appreciate me, both as a scientist and as a person, through the regular application of blush-inducing compliments. Thankfully I recently noticed that it doesn't always show when I feel the heat rising to my cheeks, allowing me to appear to keep my cool.
I went to a very geeky one-day event, got my programming groove back on, and relished hearing people getting passionate about low-level architecture. Attending said event with a guy I used to study with more than ten years ago was the perfect icing on that nerdy cake. After that, I got to spend a very nice evening drinking too much wine with British guys who at some point actually argued about tweed. And plaid. And emacs vs vim, of course.
I do math and write code and think about genetics and I keep being amazed that people pay me to do so.
Music + Science (h/t)
I argue about jazz with my colleagues.
I make plans to play a concerto with a woman I first met over a shared interest for graph theory and statistics.
I wonder about the piano, viola, violin trios that I could play with two people with whom I'm equally likely to discuss convex optimization as German romantic composers.
And old friend writes me about music I made him discover years ago and smoothly transitions to HIV research in the following paragraph.
I go out to orchestra parties. There's sometimes food, often wine, and always laughter, singing, and math jokes. Occasionally there's also dancing and the opportunity to verify empirically the stereotype that bassoonists are good with their lips and tongue.
There's no better morning-after talk than music and science.
And traveling too (h/t)
A childhood friend slowly introduces me to the people he met in the fifteen years we haven't seen each other. Invariably, we talk about music, and science, and travels. (And, well, politics.)
I buy plane and train tickets. To other places in France, to the Netherlands, to Scotland, to Iceland.
And because you can never make everything fit in nicely design little boxes, one of my closest friends wrote a novel that looks like it's going to be published for real and I'm way too excited about this for my own good.