A small report

In Seattle I still felt rather tired from the journey and was not actually on top form. Having said that, the welcome at Cornish was very warm, and the audience for the mixed programme (on the 28th) particularly was decent-sized. Seattle was incredibly wet. But it was very good to see notable KSS scholar Sean Owen after many years, and to also see the piano which was purportedly the first prepared by Cage. Many thanks to Sean and to Kent Devereaux (head of music at Cornish) for making the whole trip possible.

I was very pleased with both pianos I played on in Colorado — after all, if one is playing in a church in Europe, then one doesn’t usually expect a great instrument. However, both these Steinway D pianos were of the very best concert hall standard. Thanks very much for Chappell Kingsland who put together both events. It was also very good to meet people who had travelled a long way to hear me — from Texas and from California.

In NY again the audience for the mixed Romantic programme was bigger (than that my evening of contemporary music, which admittedly kicked off at 22.30) and was graced by auspicious figures such as Neil McKelvie (chess grandmaster, professor of biochemistry, expert on Ignacy Friedman, friend — I think — of Gunnar Johansson and no mean pianist himself), pianist Lloyd Arriola (see list of KSS performers), pianist and Sorabji-organiser Christopher Berg and composer Philip Ramey, to name just the ones I immediately remember. The piano at Spectrum was extremely good. Thanks to the initiative and flexibility of Glenn Cornett and the staff I was able to fit in a visit to the city.

For me, the best performance of Sequentia occurred in Chicago. By then, I had somehow got rid of the tiredness associated with non-stop concerts and travel through different time zones. I lectured on KSS at Columbia College of Arts, gave a lecture-recital of contemporary works, and also gave a talk-demonstration and masterclass to the piano students before playing Sequentia last Saturday evening. Again, the small size of the audience was more than compensated for by its notable constituents, this time including Ken Derus (a name familiar to many Sorabjians) and the composer George Flynn no less. The piano was a Fazioli, and a very good one too, more suited to the range of the work than even the fine instruments I’d played on earlier performances. The Chicago visit was made possible by composer and Columbia professor Ilya Levinson and Thomas Zoells of the PianoForte Foundation.

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