Wednesday, July 28, 2004

My Whereabouts

I'm in Bozeman, Montana this week. The classical guitarist Christopher Parkening has taught a master-class here every summer for 30 years now. I played for Chris's class a couple of times in the early 1990s, back when I was at more of a professional level. I thought it would be fun to come back for the 30th anniversary class, not to mention visiting Montana. Highlights include seeing my old teacher John Sutherland, and attending the class picnic at the Deer Park Chalet up in the mountains 15 miles from Bozeman. This Saturday night Chris is playing a duet concert with the baritone Jubilant Sykes.

Chris is as gracious and warm as always, and even asked why I wasn't playing for his class again. I had to tell him that given the stroke I had in March, I'm still not quite back up to speed, at least not at a level where I would feel comfortable playing for the class.

My first contact with him was at age 14 or so. I wrote him a fan letter, and in response, he sent me a nice letter along with two of his tapes -- for free. Later, I wrote to him asking if there was anywhere that I could buy a published version of his arrangement of Bach's cantata "Withstand Firmly All Sin," which he had recorded with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In response, he had all of the hand-written parts photocopied and sent to me, again for free.

I don't know any other musical superstars, but I can't imagine that there are many who would be so generous and helpful.


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