Mame presents the story of an upper-crust woman who gains custody of her nephew after the death of her brother.  The family clearly had money – the boy and his nanny arrive in the New York party pad of Auntie Mame and first meet her as she’s hosting a soiree combining prohibition booze, top entertainers […]

I had a lesson yesterday – my first in three weeks.  I’ve been playing well enough recently, but I was out of town for a long weekend just prior to the lesson, so I worried about being rusty.  Happily, rustiness wasn’t much of a problem.  I’ve very nearly memorized the Seitz concerto, the first piece in […]

Northalsted’s Market Days is one of the biggest street festivals in Chicago.  Now, straightaway, I want to admit to having a complicated relationship with Chicago’s many summer street-fests.  On the surface, they are a source of pride and fun for many of the city’s neighborhoods, offering local businesses and artisans a chance to strut their […]

Maurice Ravel was a French composer living in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, regarded as one of the greatest ever to come out of France.  He was also a classically trained pianist, though he apparently never distinguished himself on the instrument.  I learned more about him yesterday reading Wikipedia as I listened to […]

Last night as I warmed up with scales I was not getting the notes.  I would play the G major scale and play C# instead of C.  Conversely, I would play C instead of C# in the A major scale, a basic reversal.  Then, while playing the C major scale I’d play F# instead of […]

Niccolo Paganini was one of the greatest violinists ever to live, and a prolific composer of works for the instrument.  Born in Italy in 1782, by the time of his La Scala debut in 1813 he was living a rock-star lifestyle, touring Italy and Europe extensively.  He was also plagued by disease and mental health […]

As I move my fingers around the strings, I have a tendency to lift them way up high and then pound them back down. Such behavior has some consequences.  For one, simply being way up in the air over the strings with my fingers means that it takes time to get back down to the […]


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