It’s an unusually early time for writing – 5:30 on Sunday morning. But I woke up, and the urge to write was already there from a few days ago.
Another busy weekend filled with music and good food: on Friday I played at Boston University for their end of the year event. That day I spent the evening with Israeli friends celebrating the Shavuot holiday. The food was amazing. Yesterday, Saturday, we had a celebratory concert of the NEC Preparatory School and School of Continuation Education at The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN) and that was a great event filled with wonderful music from students and faculty alike, and characterized by a strong sense of community. I’ve been teaching at the NEC Prep&SCE Schools for 14 years, and know many of the former students-performers since they were partially kids... And today I’m back at Futura Productions, for more recordings with the students I’m working with. There is so much musical passion and talent around that it’s truly mind boggling!
Another piece of good news is that finally, after a somewhat longer than usual search, we found an apartment in Israel for the summer. So my big To Do list is shortening every day, which allows me to have one less thing to think about or get ready for and the ability to concentrate more on the things that are left to do.
Of course the six concerts in Europe in July are requiring the most preparation. I am playing different programs in most of these concerts so many pieces need to be prepared. On July 3, I am playing with Andrei at the Wilhelm Schimmel Pianofortefabrik in Braunschweig. I’m looking forward to playing on their phenomenal pianos which they kindly let me try when I visited there last year. I have a special affinity with Schimmel pianos, as my first piano as a child was a Schimmel and I loved it dearly. I will play what we call a Mini Recital of Gershwin tunes and than our arrangement of Pictures at an Exhibition together with Andrei.
In Germany, I will stay with Gerhard and Bettina, and I’m so much looking forward to visiting with them again. They have crated a loving home which is welcoming to all and deeply inspiring. Staying with them always feels like healing and recovering in the comfort of true friends. I will write more about Gerhard and Bettina in the future, but it would suffice to say now that I feel enormously lucky to have met them.
The following day, Andrei and I will play longer individual programs at the Hummers Kultursalon in Sossmar, and for this concert I would like to revisit solo favorites and to present new ones. July 5 is my birthday, and I will spend it with Gerhard and Bettina and their family. I’m sure some fabulous ice-cream is in order! On the 9th I will fly to Rome and meet there with my friend Vince. The first concert in Rome is at the Casina delle Civette (The Owls’ Cottage). It is on the Villa Torlonia compound, which was the state residence of Mussolini since 1920. I will play a program of favorite solo pieces at that concert, including some from the second concert in Germany. The following day, at the romantic outdoors Teatro di Marcello, I am playing again a program that is all Gershwin. It will include all the pieces from the first concert in Germany plus additional ones. On the 13, Vince will fly to Israel and I will go to Scarborough, England to meet again with Gerhard and Bettina and Andrei. On the 15 we will play at the Saint Joseph Theatre in the Round the same program we play at Schimmel. And then on the 19th we play again a final concert that will include pieces from all the previous concerts.
So practicing for all of these wonderful concerts is challenging, especially given my self imposed rule to not practice more than 3 different pieces in one singe day, which was designed to help me stay focused in my practicing and not jump between too many different things. And that’s why I’m filled with happiness every time another concert or recording is checked off my Do To list, and I can focus better on what’s left at hand.
Well, it’s shortly after 6 am: a good time, even if not typical, to start my day, or maybe just fall fall back asleep. Why did I wake up so early?!