Not too many years ago, this pianist often felt lonely and neglected, more so, I dare say, than a harpist. Hauling a piano wherever we played was impossible, so piano players either stayed home or were at the mercy of good or bad fortune. Many ugly tuned and poorly voiced instruments greeted us at gigs. I had to smile 12 years ago when my Kurzweil keyboard arrived.
Unlike earlier machines, this one has touch-sensitive keys. Almost like a real piano, the keys respond to finger pressure -- loud when I press hard, soft when I touch lightly, and numerous gradations in between. I haven't quite figured out why -- perhaps because the gradations are not infinite -- it still doesn't match the feel of a fine grand piano. For classical music I much prefer my concert grand. For popular music, it's hard to beat the variety of sounds generated by the Kurzweil.
Two weeks ago, we were thrilled to perform in a huge bank barn. As wooden as life can be, the sound in this barn was like Carnegie Hall. Wherever you stood, the volume and quality was the same. Acoustic architects try to create this environment in new halls and have been known to fail. Here I am accompanying Lauren Warus, an aspiring opera and crossover artist from New Jersey. She sang a set of show tunes and the famous aria from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, "O Mio Babbino Caro."
2 months ago