piercing the superficial
the first pitch
1963. Saturday afternoon. Of course I went to the ball game. I answered to Mickey and wore a number seven on my jersey. Duh...
But my parents went to the piano recital.
Top of the fourth they dragged me out of centerfield and sat me down at this Pre-Cambrian Kimball in the school cafeteria. About half its keys actually went up and down.
There was no way in the Burgess Shales I was gonna play a single note from "Teaching Little Fingers To Play."
So I made-up this bluesy thing and played that instead.
Eat your heart out, John Thompson.
My father grinned, my mother turned red, and the Trunchbull piano-teacher fossilized.
Everyone else applauded.
like a tsunami
1969. High school. Concert band. Jazz band. Fusion bands. Folk bands. The Cellar Door. Blues Alley. MJQ. Weather Report. Dylan. These were the aggregated guardians of my adolescent soul. Little league just wasn't up to the challenge.
We had landed on the moon. Vietnam was out of control. Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy had been shot. DDT was everywhere. Spring was growing silent. America's dark underbelly was bare, and the counter culture rolled over us like a tsunami. The world had grown vitally important. Prophetic voices rang in my ears: Joni Mitchell. James Taylor. Milton Babbitt. Ornette Coleman. Stravinsky. Mahler. Schönberg. Copeland. Gershwin. Coltrane. Miles. Mingus. Milt. Crosby. Stills. Nash and Young. Simon and Garfunkel. Bach. Julian Bream. Segovia. Back to nature. Social justice. The compulsion to change the world. Life had become too profound for every good boy to just do fine. My generation needed to pierce the superficial.
city of dreams
1978. The city of music. The city of dreams. Here was a little fish scooting around the undercurrents of an immense ocean of talent.
It was world class, and music pulsed through her veins, as did Freud, the Anschluss, Postmodernism and a resurging fin de siècle nervousness. New "classical" music was hell-bent on defining the future. The pressure to be "original" was stifling, although eventually I figured out that it was just another Trunchbull trying to get me to do fine. The Verklärte Nacht was finally getting around to transfiguring around 7:30 am. "Better late than never," I thought. So, I ignored the whole mess and kept writing - to the consternation of my composition "teachers." And I branched out, spread my wings, and began to fly -conducting, early music, making and conserving historical instruments, and on the side even getting paid for drawing pictures!
Vienna, her people and her institutions were titans. Karl Österreicher, Hans Suitner, Peter Kukelka, Friedereich Cerha, Guenther Theuring, Francis Burt, Eva Badura-Skoda, Jörg Demus, Johann Sonnleitner, Nicolas Harnoncourt, Joseph Mertin, The Hocschule f. Musik und darstellende Kunst, The Kunshistorisches Museum, The Akademie der bildenden Künste. These were doyens of profound influence.
top of the ninth
2023. It's been four decades since I left Vienna. The game might be in the final inning, but it ain't over. This old man ain't done singing.
The creative drive still compels, and I am now more prolific than ever, despite having to learn new technologies and to evolve with a dramatically changing world.
Yet the challenges we face today are so profound that artful responses may seem trivial or utterly irrelevant. But perhaps our time is calling us ever more loudly to penetrate history's surface and reveal the human condition beneath. Somehow. Semper Idem Sed Non Eodem Modo.
Artist diplomas, Composition, Conducting, Harpsichord, Conservation of Historical Musical Instruments. Others.
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien, Smithsonian, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Thomas and Barbara Wolf. Others.
Fulbright, PhD, Smithsonian Graduate Fellowship, Irving Lowens Award (American Musicological Society), Annapolis Fine Arts Foundation, District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, papers and articles for: American Guild of Organists, American Musicological Society, Early Keyboard Journal, American Musical Instrument Society, Conservation Guild of Washington, DC. Others.
Illustrations for USA Today, Wiener Zeitung, Georgetown Hoya. Others.
Music Director/Conductor St. Cecelia Chamber Orchestra, The Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg, The Washington Saengerbund, Georgetown Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Director of Performing Arts, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Director of Instrumental Music Flint Hill School.
And a bunch of other stuff I can't remember.
Oh, almost forgot. Over eighteen or so years, I shod more than 14,000 horses. That's okay. Verdi's day job was farming.