A need to change

During this strange time of being at home I have found that the piano has been something that has kept me from completely losing my mind. Like everyone else, all the concerts and events vanished seemingly overnight with little hope that I will be in stage again even this Fall. So, what to do when your life has been spent at the piano…it’s a part of me…intrinsically linked to my well being. I began to play pieces from my past: Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu and Beethoven’s Les Adieux as just two examples. I am constantly plagued with the idea of ‘what’s the point’ but I keep going to the piano. It’s not about some warped sense of duty—although I do want to stay in shape—it’s more like a seeing a familiar friend, something we can’t do at the moment. So I am back at it almost everyday, currently I am revisiting Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes which I last encountered in 1998 during my grad school auditions. But a current student of mine was working on them for his senior recital (me too!) and so here I am.

But the hope for future concerts also leads me to my current work in contemporary music. I have some commissions that will arrive soon—which is heartening. And I am also learning the rest of Riley’s Heaven Ladder Book 7 for some undetermined program that may occur. I begin to think this feels like a normal life. I have this, my teaching is going well, even via zoom….then George Floyd. I can’t begin to explain the shock of seeing my city in such convulsions of pain and violence. I remember the images from history books of the 60’s fight for civil rights— dogs and water hoses, Selma, and assassinations of MLK and two Kennedy’s. Now it’s tear gas, rubber bullets, and social media recking havoc on our lives. We are caught in a loop that needs to be broken. Will we rise to the challenge? Will we listen to each other? What am I doing to be an ally? These are the thoughts that now plague me. I feel lost.

For now, I retreat to the piano for some comfort…

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