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Mahler 8, “Symphony of A Thousand”

31 Aug

Last week I was lucky enough to perform Mahler’s 8th symphony, aptly nicknamed “Symphony of a Thousand” as it pretty much feels like a thousand person ensemble. This might be the only time I’ll ever perform Mahler 8, as it’s one of the largest scale orchestral works in the classical repertoire.  With three distinct choruses and an extra large orchestra, our concert had about 500 performers.  Luckily, we performed in a huge music tent and had space/another balcony for most of the singers (A google search of “Mahler 8” will show you some pretty hilarious pictures of musicians piled on to each other in concert halls).

Action shot. Photo credit to

It’s really just awesome to play with choruses. Being in the middle of an orchestra is already powerful, and when large choirs start singing you can literally feel the sound all around you. To be honest, there were spots in rehearsal that I was so wrapped up in listening to the music all around me that I missed one or two entrances… oops!

Standing room only! Photo credit to

Like Beethoven 9, the libretto is about the eternal human spirit and the joy is so uplifting. The energy of so many people working together to create something beautiful is a magnificent experience, so if you ever see an advertisement for a live performance of Mahler 8, don’t even think about it – just go!



Red Market London, hidden Banksy’s and delicious street food

21 Aug

London is famous for many things, one of them being the variety of street markets open throughout the week and the weekend. I’m happy to say I found another one to add to my list: The Red Market. Located by the round about in Old Street, The Red Market is a late afternoon/ night market organized by the Red Gallery.

Red Market entrance

With a sand pit, table tennis, hammocks, live music and delicious street food, the Red market is the perfect place to meet friends after work and make the most out of hot summer evenings.

Red Market

Red Market

Red Market

The market is set on the development site of a 5 star hotel and interestingly enough holds two original Banksy murals hidden behind the big piece of wood in the picture below. The murals are going to be revealed at some point during the next month and are also going to be part of the future hotel lobby constructed on the site. (spotted: São Paulo graffiti)

Red Market

Last but not least, Ben and I couldn’t resist the delicious burgers from Burger Bear. I had the classic Burger Bear and Ben had the Grizzly Bear. For all the bacon fans out there, the Grizzly Bear has bacon jam, an intense bourbon- infused smokey layer of pure delight! The actual bacon in the Grizzly Bear is also double smoked, first oak-smoked at the farm and later smoked again by Tom, the owner of Burger Bear.

Burger Bear

Burger Bear menu

Ben and the burger

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and if you’re around London this month don’t forget to check out the Red Market!

x Natasha

Visit Miami and don’t go to South Beach!

20 Aug

I’ll be the first to say that I can appreciate art, but don’t understand a bit about it.  Last week I was lucky enough to be in Miami during the Wynwood Art Walk, a street party that happens once a month in the newly-popular Design District, just north of Downtown Miami.

Wynwood Wall. Public park, not “technically” open 24 hours, every now and then people jump the fence but it’s all good really.

I was honestly blown away by how much it has grown and gained popularity in since I moved away last year. The first (and only) time I went to Art Walk was about a year and a half ago, when it was just a couple blocks of art galleries, on one street, that stayed open past closing times, and served a little bit of wine.

Wynwood Wall park, yoga night!

I was thrilled to see that Art Walk has transformed a former dangerous and sketchy area to a carnival of Food Trucks, artesan booths, late night bars and dance clubs, and most importantly, tons of new art galleries. The sidewalks were packed and the roads occupied by flashy cars idling. We checked out a bunch of galleries, illegally consumed alcoholic beverages on the streets, food-truck-burgers and fish tacos, and danced the night away with hipsters, tourists, old folks, Miami models and more.

It was an amazing collection of all sorts of people, deprived of the usual judgmental Miami bouncers.

I have to say that what I loved most about seeing the New Art Walk was how it transformed the neighborhood: edgy street art and way better use of the warehouses and shops that used to house miami’s finest homeless!

It’s something really great to visit if ever possible, hope you enjoyed and get a chance to experience!


More information available at :

Weekend Tips! Impressionism Exhibit in São Paulo!

17 Aug

If the names Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh ring a bell and maybe even bring a smile to your face, do not miss out on a great opportunity to see some of their finest work here in São Paulo!

One of Degas’ beautiful ballerinas!

Several iconic paintings from the Impressionist movement are housed at Paris’ Museum D’Orsay and the museum was kind enough to lend part of their collection to the Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil. The exhibition will go until October 7, so there is still plenty of time to visit!

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil–beautiful buiding housing exhibit

Word of advice: be prepared for possibly having to endure some lines. Impressionism is a very popular movement and a lot of people’s favorite! The exhibition opened its doors on August 4 and in two days about 10,000 people came by.

Lines in the opening weekend

Name of exhibit: Impressionismo: Paris e a Modernidade – Obras-Primas do Museu d’Orsay
Where: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
Address: Rua Álvares Penteado, 112, Centro
When: August 4 to October 7
Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm
Fee: Free (!!)
Contact: (11) 3113-3651 or 3113-3652

ArtBeat, Boston- recap of a great weekend

24 Jul

Boston is the land of the Red Socks, the Tea Party that sparked the American Revolution, and my sister, Eve. I arrived Friday night after a long 7 hour bus ride from NYC (it’s only supposed to take 4). Saturday we woke up leisurely but excited for the migration-themed arts festival in Somerville we planned to attend, ArtBeat! At my job, I organize similar community events, although not to this scale, so I was curious about what’s happening in other cities and communities.

The smell of barbeque and brick oven pizza hit us almost immediately after we got off the train. ArtBeat runs along several streets and converges on Davis Square- where all the scrumptious foodstuffs were. Starving, Eve and I grabbed some gourmet hot dogs and brown sugar limeade (amazing!), and managed to find a seat in the shade. We sat next to some very nice ladies and chatted for a while about their upcoming travels and Somerville. One of the ladies gave us an excellent dessert recommendation, but more on that further down…

Hot dog- YUM!

After satiating our hunger a little, we took a lap around the festival. There were loads of artists selling their work, performances scattered throughout the day, and Somerville community organizations giving out information and talking about their work.  It was a beautiful day and the vibe was relaxing. Photographer Mike Ritter was taking free portraits, so Eve and I posed for a couple of shots.

Having some fun during our photo shoot….

Time for dessert (when is it not?!), we directed ourselves to Kick Ass Cupcakes, the dessert place our lunch buddy had recommended. The store name articulates exactly what I felt towards these cupcakes- they kicked ass! We bought three flavors, but the best by far was the “Green Monster.” Named after the famed Boston Red Sox, this cupcake featured a chocolate cupcake, with a chocolate beer ganache center, and green Sam Adams cream stout frosting garnished with cocoa nibs. Eve and I were sharing and we almost had an altercation over who would finish this delicious cupcake.

Kick Ass Cupcakes- note the Green Monster on the right…

Because I can never pass up a chance to samba and dance in unison with a large group of people, we hung around ArtBeat until SambaViva, a samba ensemble, performed. It was awesome! They had a bateria, a percussion band/drumline, carnaval dancers, and even taught the crowd some choreography. We worked up a sweat the best way possible: dancing!

SambaViva’s awesome bateria!

Sadly, ArtBeat only happens one weekend a year, but Somerville is a vibrant and diverse community that is definitely worth the visit, if for the cupcakes alone!

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