By Carol Montparker
This past June, I was in the Pacific Northwest, having been invited as a guest lecturer, pianist, teacher, for the WSMTA Convention. From the moment we flew over Seattle and Tacoma in preparation for our landing, I was taken with the spectacular natural beauty of that part of our country. That beauty was matched by the warmth and hospitality of the folks who attended the convention, and who welcomed me with my husband---most notably Lynn Lewis, Robin Chadwick, and Marilyn Lynde. But there were countless other teachers and pianists whom I met, and I have to say that I cannot remember ever playing or speaking to a more responsive bunch of people.
Then we went on to Victoria for the first time, taking a ferry across Puget Sound, and staying in the majestic Empress Hotel right on the harbor. In the elegant tearoom was a lovely young woman playing the piano in an enchanting fashion. She had pasted together a looseleaf collection of every dreamy and appealing shorter piano piece ever written, from Debussys La Fille aux cheveux de lin to Cole porter and Gershwin, and she played every morsel with great taste and love. I wish I hadnt lost her card so I could mention her name here, but she told me she had returned to Victoria after years of study at a conservatory in Amsterdam. Apparently she knew all about Clavier magazine because her mom, also a pianist and teacher, had subscribed for many years. Wherever I go, I seem to meet pianists who have read my column, and it feels like having family and friends all over the world.
We were in the Museum of the First Nation, with its collections of artifacts of Northwest Native American culture. Sitting in a reproduction of a round-house structure, where a tape of chanting and drums filled the space around us, I was struck with a sense of the importance of music in every culture, from earliest man. The power and beauty of those chants overwhelmed me as much as if it had been a Brahms symphony, because they were expressions of mans desires and emotions, as direct and evolved as any that came afterwards.
This past week, I submitted the manuscript for my next book to Amadeus Press, a collection of short stories and reflections, more personal than the essays on music that appear in A Pianists Landscape. It will be about another year in production, but its an exciting prospect to look forward to. I always feel like an empty vessel after putting it all down on paper, but a life in music is ongoing, and there will always be tales to tell.
I would welcome any responses at firstname.lastname@example.org
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