I have just returned from a two weeklong tour of America. It has been a delight from start to finish!
My first stop was at Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado. It was an honour to meet people there, some of whom, I am certain, will become lifelong friends. A deep felt thank you to Geoffrey Hoppe and Linda Benyo, who invited me over to play. And a special thanks to Bonnie Capelle, who took me under her wings, catered to my every need, and showed me a great time!
The incredible scenery up on the Colorado Mountains simply took my breath away. Though I felt a little lightheaded due to the height, it was totally worth it.
With jet leg still plaguing me, I flew over to Washington DC. We were blessed with most beautiful weather while staying in the Capital. Strathmore Mansion was every bit as enchanting as I remembered it. I so enjoyed playing the 1850 Broadwood grand housed there. I was privileged to give a masterclass the following morning, with some fine students: Justin Bird from the Peabody Conservatory, and Florence Rollwagen.
A big thank you to Georgina Javor, who made my visit comfortable and seamless.
It was for me a special time spent in Washington, as I got to catch up with my dear friends Paul & Elizabeth Murray and their beautiful children. Also, some family members came to hear me perform at the Mansion, which was really heart warming. They all travelled quite a distance to see me, in particular my lovely cousin, Michelle Joshua, who drove up from the depths of North Carolina. So quite a reunion all in all!
On I went to Boston, Massachusetts. Though I have played in Dr. Richard Marcus’ house before, it remains a place that never ceases to amaze. Richard boasts a 15 piece piano collection, which is ever growing. Hundreds of modern art works adorn his house walls including paintings, drawings and sketches, with numerous sculptures scattered over the wooden flooring of this four-story building.
Traditionally, these concerts involve the artist playing a few of the pianos, which are all semi-restored historical models. I played on five different instruments and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful sounds and characteristics of each individual piano. These included an early Erard, two different Chickering pianos made by the specifically appropriate Boston born piano maker, an early Steinway (which sounds so different to later modern instruments) and a beautiful c.1875 Pleyel piano, just a few years younger than my own. The audience, of course, followed me from room to room as I moved on to the next piano. Just like in the olden days!
A huge thanks, therefore, to Dr. Richard Marcus for inviting me over yet again. It’s been an honour and a great pleasure.
From there, onwards I went that same evening to Ashburnham, where the Frederick piano collection is housed. Here I played one piano (thank goodness for that!), a beautiful 1871 Streicher, which worked so well with the programme performed; a reconstruction of Clara Schumann’s concert played that same exact year in London. Though the weather took a turn for the worse, the church was, nevertheless, packed full, with an inquisitive and incredibly warm audience that rewarded me with a standing ovation. A wonderful end to a most splendid tour!
A special thanks goes to the Fredericks, particularly Pat Frederick, who was the perfect host as always, and to my dear friends Romayne and Peter Timms, who looked after me. And finally, a big hug to Margo and Bob Connor for having been ever so kind driving me back to the airport that evening.
This visit has been a great experience for me, so much so, that I am eagerly looking forward to planning the next trip back.
Love to all,