Romantic Piano CDs / Music
-About Me -
Recently, while I was at the piano at the shopping-centre here in Toronto where I perform weekly, someone approached me and requested 'Lara’s Theme' (from the movie Dr. Zhivago). I was glad to oblige. 'Lara’s Theme' has a special memory for me...
I remember when the big (baby grand) brown piano came, and making up funny "Charlie Chaplin music". I was six or seven, and began taking piano lessons along with my two brothers and my mother. I remember my mother (who did - and still does - possess a truly beautiful singing voice) doing quite well, and, before long, playing 'Lara’s Theme' from the deluxe sheet-music edition. Regrettably, she didn’t keep on playing. I guess her maternal and spousal obligations drew her away...
In my pre-teen years, all lessons were taken at home. Those years culminated in two little milestones (both at the age of twelve), namely, passing my Royal Conservatory grade ten exams with first class honours, and giving my first solo recital (which concluded with Rachmaninoff’s famous 'Prelude in C Sharp Minor'). In my teen years, all lessons were taken at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
When I was twenty-one, I landed a gig playing for a local cabaret dinner-theatre. I played hundreds of shows. It was a high-energy (lots of vamping), fun show. The actors often ad-libbed. I learned to as well. Once in a while, I miss playing that show.
In my mid-twenties, I started to do a little teaching (something which I still do a bit of). On occasion, l’d perform publicly, as well as privately for charities.
In my late twenties and early thirties, I attended the University of Toronto. While I did, in fact, attain a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, in all honesty (as music wasn’t much of a challenge), most of my energy went into studying new subjects, namely Latin, Greek and (for one year) Sanskrit. I just loved it, particularly Latin and Greek poetry (including, of course, Homer!). Those ancient languages and their musical poetry were such a breath of fresh air. I’ve kept my musical sketches of certain poems by Catullus (Now there’s a romantic!) that I began setting to music. Maybe I'll get back to them some day.
After university, I resumed teaching. I also began freelancing as a popular romantic pianist, playing my own arrangements of popular love songs, as well as popular romantic classics, for weddings (still my favourite function to play at!) and other romantic/special occassions (such as anniversaries and cocktail/evening-parties), and for corporate events. I also landed some gigs at certain Toronto restaurants.
Since May 2002, I've been playing one day a week, for a couple of hours in the early afternoon, at a shopping-centre here in Toronto. For some time now, some very nice folks have been coming by to sit and listen. I really enjoy playing for, and joking around with, them. Quite honestly, without that job and those people, I don't think Let's Be Romantic! - 14 Love Songs would have come about. That job motivated me to create new arrangements (After all, I couldn't always play the exact same repertoire week after week!), and those very nice folks were a 'captive' audience whose opinions I'd solicit every now and then as I'd try out this or that new arrangement. I am, and always will be, very grateful to them, not only for their valued opinions, but also for their constant encouragement.
I'm also very grateful to a very special friend of mine, not only for her candid opinions whenever I'd play for her a new arrangement, but also for her lovely inspiration, without which Let's Be Romantic! - 14 Love Songs could never have been what it is.
These days, I'm practicing/performing (besides my arrangements of popular love songs) select popular romantic classics (such as 'Fur Elise', 'Moonlight Sonata: Adagio', 'Fantasy-Impromtu', 'Liebestraum' and 'Claire de Lune'). They're all very dear to me, and I hope to include them on a future CD. (Enough people at the shopping-centre have expressed the wish that I should record just such a classical CD, so I guess I don't have much choice!) And of course, I'm very keen on continuing to arrange and record more great classic love songs! I hope to have other CDs to feature on Romantic Piano CDs in the future. In the meantime, I'm very pleased to be able to offer and to share, with whoever might be interested, Let's Be Romantic! - 14 Love Songs.