They Didn’t Laugh When I Sat Down to Play

Sarah Cahill's goading me about my piano skills (in the comments) brings to mind an incident from my youth that I've been remembering lately. I foolishly quit taking piano lessons late in my undergrad career. Three years go by, and, finishing my doctorate at Northwestern, I thought I should study piano again while I still had the chance. I was assigned to Lawrence Davis, a sharp, meticulous, expert chamber musician who spent his life grooming his hotshot undergrads to become concert pianists. (He's no longer listed on the faculty; seems like he … [Read more...]

Unanswered Questions

My biggest regret about my life is that I didn't continue practicing piano. In 1982 I started typing instead, and that was that. Now I'm writing a piano concerto, and it would be energizing to imagine myself playing it with an orchestra someday - but that's not going to happen. When I was 19, playing Chopin polonaises and Brahms rhapsodies along with my Wolpe and Rochberg, it would have seemed a possibility. My other big regret is how seldom my intensely busy life allows me to see my close friends, who are scattered out from Alaska to Germany. … [Read more...]

Damn Those Young Composers, They Keep Coming

I hadn't replenished the amazing M.C. Maguire, Carolyn Mallonée, Kevin Volans, Scott Unrein, Jo Kondo, plus a Flute Trio by Feldman newly out on New World with flutist Dorothy Stone. Nice stuff. More to come, don't stop listening now. UPDATE: Someone actually complained that I don't have any of my own music programmed lately (all right, it wasn't a complaint exactly, he was just wondering, and come to think of it, he did sound a little grateful), so I've fixed that. I try not to repeat pieces, and I just don't compose fast enough, or rather … [Read more...]

A Comment on Comments

I treasure your comments, which at this point, I believe, take up well over half of my total blog space. There's no way I'd turn off my comments feature: the dialogue is too good, I've gotten tons of helpful feedback, and being able to put up your comments directly saves me a lot of time. From my own experience reading comments on other blogs, though, it detracts from the enjoyment when someone posts a comment that goes on for paragraph after paragraph, all out of proportion to the other comments and sometimes longer than the blog entry itself. … [Read more...]