My wife has urged me to begin blogging. I hardly know what a blog is, but here is my maiden effort.
This is a busy week of diverse activity. I am preparing for a press event in New York, the launching of a new recording on the Harmonia Mundi label. It is entitled, “Gershwin by Grofe” and it explores the arrangements by Ferde Grofe of songs by George Gershwin as well as Grofe’s original orchestration of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Gershwin and Grofe had a symbiotic relationship and Grofe’s contribution was invaluable, especially when the young Gershwin had yet to acquire skill as an orchestrator. So the new CD is an interesting one, and I am featured as soloist in the Rhapsody and the Variations on “I Got Rhythm”, the only piece on the recording actually orchestrated by Gershwin.
The event in New York is Monday night, May 17, 7:00PM at Faust Harrison Pianos, 205 West 58th Street. Conductor Steve Richman, who conceived, organized, and put the project together, will talk about the music and I will play a program of songs and piano pieces by Mr. Gershwin.
In addition to making ready for the Faust Harrison program, I am in the midst of editing a documentary about a remarkable friend of mine, pianist Sofia Cosma, whose 95 years of life have seen all the cataclysmic events of the 20th and 21st centuries. This is a great musician who, born in Russia, began her concert career in Hitler’s Vienna, was arrested by the Soviets and interned in a prison labor camp for seven years, met a fellow prisoner who became her husband and the father of her child while still in prison, started to play again after over a decade of imprisonment and dislocation, and became one of the most prominent pianists in Eastern Europe. Much more to tell in future blogs about this triumphant woman who is in California with her family and still teaching.