Sight, Sound and Beyond

Archive for February, 2012

21st Century Piano Repertoire Workshops

excerpt from Sketches, “Daydream” for solo piano by Yours Truly

As promised, I am going to discuss the highlights of this we weeks workshops that Marvin and I both presented.  Okay, so it was Marvin’s workshops and I was more like his wacky side kick.  I say this because Marvin is a pro at this stuff and is like a walking encyclopedia when it comes to 21st century music.  I, on the other hand, am just getting started in terms of “getting out there” and still have lots to learn.  However, both workshops went extremely well and were a success.

Just to recap, Marvin and I presented two workshops: one was on Monday for his musical styles piano pedagogy class at Westminster Conservatory of Music in Princeton, NJ and the other was for The Bucks County Association of piano Teachers at Jacobs Music in Willow Grove, PA.  Marvin presented some selections of 21st century piano repertoire, which he intends to record on CD in the future.  The pieces he presented were intended to serve as an introduction to the vast amount of music that is available for both piano students as well as professionals.  He did a great job and gave some useful resources where piano teachers could find and learn more about the available repertoire.  Marvin introduced me as a living composers and his piano partner.  I had the opportunity to present a few selections of my original piano works and to discuss the importance of color in my music.  Marvin even opened both workshops with his performance of one of my early works, The Castle at Sunrise.  He uses the opening of this piece as his music theme for Classical Discoveries.  Furthermore, Marvin and I also presented some 20th/21st piano literature for one piano four hands.

We got a lot of positive feedback and had a great turn out on both workshops, especially the one we did in Pennsylvania.  I had the pleasure of finally meeting Joe Barron of Mongomery News in person.  After we finished our workshop for The Bucks County Association of Piano Teachers, Joe, Marvin, Beata (Marvin’s wife), and I all went out for a nice lunch together.  It was a great day and it was my first time ever visiting Philadelphia.  I was pretty excited about that.

I owe a lot to Marvin for helping me share my story with people.  Opportunities like that don’t come around that often in life.  He truly holds great esteem for what I do and I am very lucky to know him both as a music professional and friend.

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In Print

So tomorrow and Tuesday, Marvin and I will be doing our two workshops on 21st Century Music.  I am all packed and ready to go and looking forward to what should be a very exciting couple of days.   I just hope I can stay awake.  I have to catch a 6:56 train tomorrow morning and I am not an early bird.  Although, I probably should be given that I live with two parrots.

Last Sunday, Joe Barron of Montgomery News, interviewed both Marvin and me about are upcoming workshops.  Marvin may be a pro at being interviewed for papers, but for me it was an amazing experience.   To be honest, the last story about me to ever appear in any kind of newspaper was probably when I was in the 6th grade.  Oh, and did I mentioned that it was for the school newspaper and that the person who wrote it knew me and was a friend of my older sister?  Hey, I held onto that article for many, many years.  Now that I am thinking about it, I wish I still had it for it is quite an accomplishment to be included in any type of newspaper.  But wait!  I just remembered!  I did get included in a story in New York Magazine, does that count? LOL!

Anyway, Marvin told me that Joe was going to call me that day.  I wasn’t sure when but it would be sometime in the late afternoon or early evening.  I started imagining myself receiving Joe’s phone call.   The girls would start chirping in the background and I would say something like: “Excuse me for the noise, Joe, those are just my two birds yakking in the background.”

Joe called me about 8pm and thankfully, the girls were asleep so there was no avian commentary whatsoever during our telephone interview.  I had expected Joe to fire a bunch of questions at me, but what I expected to be a formal interview turned out to be a pleasant conversation.  Joe and I discussed details regarding the workshops, such as the repertoire Marvin and I would be presenting and he asked me about my musical studies and my own personal story.

At some point during the conversation, Joe had asked me about Synesthetic perceptions when listening to music.  I think this topic came up when I had mentioned my ability to see and recognize colors despite my vision loss.  Nevertheless, it was refreshing to speak with someone who had knowledge about Synesthesia.  In most cases, I usually have to explain what Synesthesia is.  It is too bad I left Alexander Scriabin out of the conversation since, well, he was a significant influence on my music and my own philosophy about music and color.

Anyway, Joe’s article went up on the Montgomery Media website this past Wednesday, and it was a real delight to start off the month of February reading it.  Click on the link below to read it for yourself!

Piano recital at Jacobs Music hopes to bring avant-garde to the fore

by Joe Baron

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