I took my first piano lesson at the Bloomingdale School of Music when I was eight years old. The school was housed in a wonderful old brownstone on the upper west side of Manhattan, a short bus ride up Broadway from the apartment where I lived with my mother and sister. I remember standing at the front of the bus next to the bus driver who had given me the job of pushing down the metal bar that released all the collected coins and tokens into the coin counter below. I loved that job. I remember taking a music theory class, learning about the circle of fifths, half steps, whole steps, sharps and flats. I loved that class. I remember the waiting room with its big leather couches and armchairs and a man who always seemed to be sitting there smoking a cigar. I loved that room. I did not love the smell of those cigars! Finally, I remember my first piano teacher, Miss Coffee. I remember how much I loved the pieces she gave me to play, the time I spent with her playing them for her and listening to her play the next piece I was to learn, the way the keys of the piano felt as my fingers rested on their smooth cool surface before I began to play.
I have had many different piano teachers in many different cities in the years that followed these lessons with Miss Coffee. Randy Klein in New York City (during my teenage years). Micah Rubenstein in Gambier, Ohio (when a student at Kenyon College). Herman Rouw in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (where I lived for four years). Bill Sabol in Eugene, Oregon (when I first moved here from Amsterdam).
There are wonderful memories associated with each of them as well. Eating ice cream and going bowling with Randy. Getting wonderfully impossible music composition assignments from Micah. Working with Herman and other musicians to record a selection of my compositions to submit to the admissions committee of Sweelink Conservatory in Amsterdam and having him perform a few of my piano pieces at one of his piano recitals. Arriving early at Bill's house to share his lunch of rice and beans and talk about things metaphysical. I loved my lessons and friendships with them and treasure what I learned from each of these teachers not only about piano but also about myself.
These piano pieces are the ones I most love to play and the ones my family and friends most love to listen to me play. Some of these pieces are very simple but very, very beautiful. I have included them because, as beautiful as they are, they are seldom, if ever played on the radio or performed in a concert hall and therefore are seldom, if ever heard by most people. I hope you enjoy listening to them as well as the more complex works on this site.