One of my favorite, iconoclastic, cool, heroic, educated, witty and erudite chums, with whom I have a love/hate relatioonship (tho more love than hate to be sure) wrote this missive about "what" I am. Charles DeMuynck is a canuck conductor, a superconductor, a lightning rod for the tardy soul of humanity's bastard neighbor's drooling step niece.
And I will enjoy him all the days of my life. Here's his note:
WHAT IS MANDRA? (mandra is what?)
You might be thinking, "Wouldn't it be less rude to
say Who is Mandra?" but no, I say back to you, Mandra
is a what. He is unfathomable; he is a mystery
wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a fiery guitar lick.
He is the sum, and the difference of things; he is
that moment just before sunset; he is the time when
you've decided that it's about time to start the
concert or kiss your date for the first time. But I
digress. (I have time).
I knew Mandra when he didn't have that cute stubble
all over his face and head, but rather shrouded
himself in an antideluvian, Brahmsian beard. When he
wasn't a captain of industry, techno-guru, or
upstanding citizen. In fact, I knew him when he would
invite you to lunch, then inform you quite casually
that he didn't have enough cash to pay. This was when
we both studied at Peabody, that jewel in the slums,
when I conducted some premieres of his music, but a
rather different sort of music than you'll hear on
this website. I'd say that you'd say that it was way
more way out. There was this opera with a guy going
crazy on the stage for 20 solid minutes. It was
originally planned that he would go crazy for 40-45
minutes, but (and I know that this will come as a
shock to those of you who only know the paragon of
organization that he is today), he both couldn't
finish the damn thing and/or wasn't quite sure how
much paper it takes to fill up 45 minutes. As you can
imagine, both Chris and I will tell you without
hesitation that the most vivid moments in our long
friendship, indeed the moments that cause us to be
such close friends, are the moments when, my face a
charming shade of violet, I was screaming sentences at
him such as "YOU WILL FINISH, GODDAMN YOU!" and "THE
DRESS REHEARSAL'S TOMORROW AND YOU HAVEN'T DONE THE
PRELUDE? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME?"
You have no idea how frustrating it is to deliver a
tyrade, then try to slam a door as the grande finale,
only to find that it's on one of those hydraulic
hinges that make it impossible to slam, the tyrade
thus ending with a calm "woosh".
But we're all grown up now, married, and responsible.
I haven't seen Chris in action recently, but I
imagine he gets his work done on time or the good
folks at NPR would have fired his ass long ago. But I
know, as all of you who know him well know, that he
has been a creator of some exquisitely funky music, a
fine seducer of women (that's all in the past now,
Andrea) a bon vivant with few equals, and a man with a
sense of humor that ever flits, ever darts. But
that's not him yet - he's still out there - sort of
like the moment when the weather changes, or something
And that's part of what Mandra is.
Dr. Charles Demuynck
Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestral
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
am I the only one to feel like lenny kravitz is making vh 1 seem old...
I was born and remain a surprise. Mostly to myself...
I'm at the nexus of a bunch of things - I'm discovering there's an audience for music I create that I always felt was beautiful but esoteric, my band, Great Mutant Skywheel is blowing up, I'm married to brilliant and beautiful NPR reporter Andrea Seabrook, we have a cool dog named Lazlo who was featured on Animal Planet's Pet Psychic show, I'm being profiled in the August issue of Business2.0 and I have a cool job as well as a neat Baltimore underground collective / dumping ground for movies and new instruments (that only needs the underground to show up...)
Anyway, I have an amazing life. It would be pretty easy to make fun of all of this, or to thank God, or something. All of the answers are out there; I'm just lucky I have people around me who love me (and whom I love) who help me see and make connections.