Galit Kaunitz is the Assistant Professor of Oboe at The University of Southern Mississippi, joining the faculty in the fall of 2015. At Southern Miss, she teaches applied oboe and MUS 165: Enjoyment of Music. Additionally, she performs with Category 5 and Magnolia Reed Trio, USM's faculty wind quintet and reed trio. At Southern Miss, Galit hosts dynamic guest artists, co-hosts an annual Double Reed Workshop, gives solo and chamber music recitals, and performs with orchestras in the region. She is the second oboist and English hornist of the Meridian and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestras, and regularly appears with the Louisiana Philharmonic and Mobile Symphony Orchestras.
Galit is a member of Driftless Winds reed trio, which was selected in 2016 to perform at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Columbus, GA, College Music Society National Conference in Santa Fe, NM, and in 2015 completed a week-long residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute. As a member of the Coreopsis Quintet, she was selected to give a performance and master class tour of Costa Rica as part of Centro Cultural’s Promising Artists of the 21st Century Program in 2013. Galit earned her D.M. from the Florida State University with a certificate in college teaching, M.M. from the University of Texas at Austin, and B.M. from the Hartt School of Music. Her major teachers include Dr. Eric Ohlsson, Rebecca Henderson, and Humbert Lucarelli.
How did the Double Reed Dish podcast come about? What made you decide on the medium of podcasting?
My co-host and co-creator Jacqui Wilson and I wanted to create a resource for students, amateurs, and professionals to have access to the wealth of diverse people and ideas in the double reed world. It’s our hope that someone with little to no access to a private teacher, live music, or a music program in their school can learn about people in our field doing amazing things, and feel inspired to find their own way.
The podcast medium is important because it is available to anyone, and it makes the hosts and the people we interview approachable and human. It’s really easy to put the people we admire on a pedestal and forget that they are people, just like us. Listening to them talk about practicing, reed making, auditions, self care, imposter syndrome, etc. in their own voices is powerful, and can make our own challenges easier to bear.
What goes on behind the scenes of the podcast? Could you walk us through the preparation before each episode go live?
Jacqui and I divide responsibilities, and are really good about speaking up when that week’s schedule is overwhelming and we need the other person to help get things done on time. We both have full time jobs in academia, and sometimes the balance can be a bit tricky!
Typically, we record the interviews a couple weeks before the release date, and record our dish around the same time. Jacqui edits the episodes, and I pull quotes from the interviews for the quote cards, and handle most of the social media.
Jacqui and I work really well together, and one of my favorite things of all time are the incredible gifs we send back and forth to properly describe our awe at the amazing interviews we get to conduct! It’s been a constant source of joy for me, and I’m really grateful for the support we’ve gotten from our listeners and sponsors!
As an oboist, what do you find most enjoyable and most challenging about playing the instrument?
The most enjoyable moments with the oboe are when you’re playing with a chamber group or wind section, and it feels like you’re all reading each other’s minds. I love when I feel I have full control over my attacks, releases, colors, dynamics, and vibrato, and I love that sense of connection and improvisation that comes with playing with people you know really well.
The most challenging thing has to be the reed making, because a reed that doesn’t respond easily, or play in tune, or falls short in a number of other ways, keeps us from experiencing the magic of connecting with the other musicians on stage, and with the audience.
What concerts / projects you are looking forward to this year?
My reed trio, Driftless Winds, is planning a fall and spring tour, and I’m also planning a recital of music that reflects my mixed identity as a Jewish and Indian person. I’m so excited to present this as a uniting concept for a recital! At the University of Southern Mississippi, where I’m the Assistant Professor of Oboe, I will be playing a concerto with the Symphonic Winds, and performing Mozart’s Gran Partita with other faculty and students. I am very fortunate to work for a large and thriving music school, with lots of opportunities to perform with my amazing colleagues and students! I’m also really looking forward to continuing my work on Double Reed Dish, and presenting more fantastic interviews for our double reed community.
If you weren’t an oboist, what do you think you’d be doing?
If not an oboist, the possibilities are endless! I always thought that if I quit music I’d become a nurse, but lately I think I would consider a career in radio/podcasting/media, or writing of some kind. The internet has opened up so many new career options, and ways to connect with communities across the globe, that the possibilities seem endless.
Could you share some tidbits from the Double Reed Dish episodes that you have done? Perhaps some highlight moments?
That is such a difficult question! I think some highlight moments for me were when these incredible performers and teachers speak honestly about things many of us struggle with, like imposter syndrome and performance anxiety. I also think it would be hilarious to make a blooper reel of all the times we have stumbled over our words, swore, mispronounced things, and other such nonsense that gets edited out of the final product. An embarrassing moment that happened not to long ago was when I mixed up the letters in a guest's name (a moment of dyslexia), and didn’t even notice that I did it! They had to stop me so I could redo it, and I was so embarrassed!
Any tips or advice for people who would like to explore ways to encourage or promote oboe music and oboe playing?
Collaborate, share ideas, and don’t be afraid to think big- those ideas can be whittled down to something doable. Find people to collaborate with who are honest with you, positive about your ideas, and can contribute in their own way. Be creative, and partner yourself with people who have skill sets that are complementary to yours. The best collaborations happen when each person contributes their perspective to make an idea more and more focused, kind of like going to the eye doctor when they narrow down your glasses prescription by switching the lenses over and over again. If you find good people, and build energy and momentum, you will make your vision happen!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for including me to be a part of this wonderful resource! I love hearing from people, and can be contacted through my website, galitkaunitz.com, or doublereeddish.com. I'm happy to answer your questions!