The two recent snow storms in Columbia actually brought me some unplanned, extra time to reflect peacefully and work effectively.
Last Saturday, my family and I attended our dear friend Fran Rikli's memorial service. Fran was a special friend: She always wanted to see how I was doing, to ask if I was happy and how my Japanese was keeping up, and even to extend her friendship to my mother visiting from Japan for the past four years. Last conversation I had with Fran was at Lenoir Woods when Peter and I gave a four-hand concert in December. I will forever be grateful for welcoming strangers like us into her community with open arms, and making us feel right at home. It really is phenomenal people like her that we love the most about Columbia. I will miss playing for her, but will always remember her beautiful smile from the stage.
One of my (and probably everyone's) musical heroes, Van Cliburn passed away yesterday. Words cannot summarize his enormous influence to the pianists of many, many generations that follow. So instead, I invite you to a concert he gave in 1958 at the Carnegie Hall, shortly after he won the Tchaikovsky Competition [CLICK HERE].
Speaking of competitions, preliminary judges and I have finished listening to the Plowman Preliminary DVD/CDs. I will be posting the result (ensemble types only) on Plowman web site shortly; be sure to check its BLOG page!