Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beautiful weekend in Pennsylvania

Last weekend I travelled to Mansfield, Pennsylvania for my college homecoming weekend. I was drawn back for the first time in more two decades to attend a reunion celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mansfield University's concert choir. More than 60 alumni from the choir came back to rehearse together and then give a concert with the current choir. The current conductor, Dr. Peggy Dettwiler, runs a wonderful program that consistently graduates fine musicians and teachers. What a great time of music making and remembering.

This picture was taken in nearby Wellsboro at the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Playing the Horrowitz Steinway

Last Tuesday my friend Fred Riley at Greene Music arranged for me to play the Horrowitz Steinway which is currently on a national tour. This Steinway D (#314503) is purportedly the piano that Vladimir Horrowitz used for touring and recording. As you might imagine, the case of the piano has seen a good bit of wear but the piano still plays very well. In particular, I was taken with its bass voice--very rich but still clear.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Now available through Tower Records

Delight, Touch and Inspire is now available through Tower Records web store and will soon be available for digital download through a number of sources.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Meeting Franz Mohr

This morning I heard Franz Mohr speak to a small group of piano lovers at the Greene Music piano showroom in San Marcos. Mr. Mohr recounted many amazing stories from his 30 years as the concert artist technician for Steinway. For most of three decades he personally tuned and maintained Vladimir Horrowitz' piano at home, in concert and for recordings. Mr. Mohr has compiled a delightfully entertaining memoir of his life's work in a book entitled, My Life with the Great Pianists

Now it starts

New Student Orientation began today with incoming students arriving and moving in to their dormitories. The new school year brings an overwhelming amount of positive energy, optimism and chaos. In the midst of it all, our new piano arrived today. I was apprehensive to play it and hear it in our recital hall, but it is gorgeous.

I was able to play it for about an hour this afternoon as I rehearsed with Trio Point Loma. As I played, I kept thinking about the piano and lost track of what I was doing musically. My ensemble partners were patient with me as always. My initial assessment: the tone seems quite even across its registers, clear but warm in its singing. It will be interesting to hear others play the instrument and to hear their reactions to its sound and feel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My visit to the Steinway Piano Factory

A few weeks ago I got to visit the Steinway factory in New York to pick out a new piano for the concert hall on the Point Loma campus--a truly amazing experience. This is the selection room pictured here, where I was able to play several concert grands that were right off the factory floor. Eventually, I picked a gorgeous instrument that is scheduled for delivery tomorrow. (You can barely see it, about five pianos farther up the row in the picture)

Monday, August 15, 2005

A moment to savor

I am privileged to have an incredibly beautiful setting where I work and play. This picture was taken outside the Cooper Music Center on the Point Loma campus just a very short walk from my studio. Sunsets like these happen daily and never get old, even after repeated viewing. This picture made such an impression on me that I chose it for the cover of my CD, Delight, Touch and Inspire.

(You can listen to sample audio files by clicking this link to the CD Baby web page.)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Shut up and play!

Shut up and play!

These are words are repeat to myself at random times when the slough of despond overcomes me.

As a performing musician I assume the pleasant responsibility of continually preparing for my next concert. Much of my writing in this Blog will concentrate on the experience of living and working in a temporal artform.

The emotional roller coaster of my musical work--preparing, reviewing, marketing, selling and then delivering the goods--proves both envigorating and exasperating. After 30 years of doing this stuff, I find myself surprised when I observe cyclical patterns in the process. The zealous enthusiasm of new projects that seem to scream out for all my attention; followed by the archeological unearthing of new insight or detailed awareness as I try to dig deep into music that feels so vital and important; and then finally, I must forget it all again in the sweep of the moment as the learnings sythesize into a larger whole and the music is put forth to an audience.

So through it all, no matter the inner dialogue of voices critical or disparaging, or even frustration that my dogs have run off again and I must fetch them from the city's Department of Animal Services--my mantra remains, "Shut up and play!"