Tour Adventures

As you know, I did a weekend of touring with pianists Lisa Downing and Lee Bartley last week. We had three concerts planned, in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Pagosa Springs. Well, I performed on two of the three concerts — dangerous driving conditions kept chauffeur (aka, roadie–techie–groupie) and me from reaching Pagosa Springs! That is the first time I have not made it to my own performance, and I very much hope it’s that last time too, as I would rather not be out in conditions like that in the first place. Picture this: the sky is a leaden light gray; the road and all the ground is the same leaden light gray, with only the (beautiful in snow, or at any time) Ponderosa pines breaking up the monotony with their green; there are several inches of minimally plowed packed snow on the road; and now all of a sudden: fog! Where it all looks like leaden light gray. Oh joy!

So that was the downside. The wonderful parts: Lisa and Lee are both amazing pianists and it was inspiring to hear them play and talk about their creative process. My life can be very insular, and I forget that others deal with the exact same issues I deal with: why does this piece of music want to go this way? What am I really trying to express here? What is this about? How do I know when it’s complete? To hear Lisa and Lee talk and play reminded me that I’m not the only one trying to make my way through the maze of creating new music; and even better, that my answers to those questions, and solutions to the musical puzzles I create, are not the only answers or solutions.

Lisa’s music is very rich and complex, layered and intricate. I think  it would be tough to play well, and Lisa expresses it beautifully. Lee’s music is quite frankly the happiest music I have ever heard — he can compose piece after piece without ever falling into the nostalgia that affects so many pianists, me included sometimes. My music is emptier, somehow, while still being lyrical. I’m starting to understand what Echoes meant about the “austerity” of my music. I have a very stripped down, minimalist style, compared to either Lisa or Lee.

I believe this means our audiences had a wonderful variety of piano music to listen to throughout the concerts. The audiences were certainly receptive and attentive, even at Vanessie, which as a piano bar naturally had more distractions in the environment.

Oh, and a great thing about playing at Vanessie: dinner afterward (at Vanessie, of course; do do do go there when you visit Santa Fe) with all of us and our significant others. Great food and even better company — a treat in the life of a pianist!

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