Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Pianist of Willesden Lane

While it's been a blink of an eye in occasional-blog land, time has passed in the "real" world, where it's been several months since I last posted. Since then, I've shared the friendly skies with about a half dozen airline  companies with varying levels of comfort, even though the Eastern European tour was postponed. (Why? Think government shutdown (see below) and you'll have a clue on that one.) And just last month, both the Vinaccesi Ensemble and the Jewish Music & Poetry Project  had wonderful performances, at SF Music Day, Live + Free and Cafe Europa, respectively. For Cafe Europa (and the tour) I'd been learning to sing in Hungarian, thanks to a patient Hungarian coach and native speakers.  In my so-called spare time, I've been studying Hungarian as well: what a beautiful language.

Now that's it's November, Thanksgiving is drawing nigh in a once-in-a-millenium confluence of Thanksgivukkah which makes it already time to work on holiday concerts. Amazing how 2013 has flown...

In the meantime I saw a fabulous production last night with some great family friends. It's a must-see.  So if you're in driving distance, buy tickets and run, do not walk, to the absolutely brilliant production at Berkeley Rep of The Pianist at Willesden Lane, a one-woman show narrated and performed by pianist Mona Golabek, based on the true
story of her mother (pianist Lisa Jura), who was saved by the grace of the Kindertransport before WWII. A moving performance and a work of art, now extended to January 5, 2014.

On to more contemporary and mundane matters: the U.S. government shut down. Yes, that affected yours truly.  The JMPP was to be in Eastern Europe in October for a tour sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days.  But due to the shutdown, we've been postponed. Latest word is maybe, maybe...hopefully maybe Fall 2014.  Keep your fingers crossed and we'll keep you posted.

Oh, and did I mention that my accomplished sister, law professor Robin Feldman, testified as an expert witness on patent trolls for the hearing by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations' this past Thursday, entitled "The Impact of Patent Assertion Entities on Innovation and the Economy?"

Am I proud of her, or what?  Check out her learned tome on the subject, if you're curious--Rethinking Patent Law--and her testimony, starting around 13:20 in the following clip: .Yes, that's her with the clear diction, cogent argument, and excellent delivery--not to mention the lovely sweater. Great job, Ms. Feldman!

Recently read: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1, by Marissa Meyer).  Excellent.  Just when you think you've seen every twisted spin on retold fairy tales worth reading, a new one comes along that knocks your socks off.  As does this one.  It's based can guess, I'm sure.

What I'm reading: The Golden Dice: A Tale of Ancient Rome (by Elizabeth Storr, the sequel to her award-winning The Wedding Shroud - A Tale of Ancient Rome) and Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races.

What I'm listening to: Beethoven Sonatas (Moonlight, Op. 26, Op. 13, Op. 31, Waldstein), songs and arias by Rameau and Campra, lots of concerts by my busy friends, including the talented Michael S.

What I'm working on: other than Christmas concerts, lots of new music by Elena Ruehr, David Garner, and Kurt Erickson, for preview in January and premiere by the JMPP in April at Trinity Chamber Concerts; music by French Baroque composers for the Vinaccesi Ensemble's appearance at Noontime Concerts on Jan. 21 as part of Noontime's annual French Festival.