Saturday, June 12, 2010


Since Genevieve's death, April 10, 2010, I have missed talking with her on the phone once a week, some times more than that, for the past 30 years.
Genevieve lived in Geneva Switzerland, with her mother in a lovely apartment on one of the main roads between the train station and the airport.
She had been my true inspiration for all of this 30 years, in life, and she will continue to be my inspiration. The memory of her will forever have a special place in my heart.
In the next few days, I will attempt to tell you about Genevieve.
What a blessing it was for me to know her and her mother, Narcisse.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elena, pianist, my dear friend

Last October 2009, when I was invited by the director of the Rimsky Korsakov International Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, unbeknownst to me, a young student, Elena from the conservatory was assigned to me as translator while I was visiting St. Petersburg.
I was assigned another translator during my master class and lecture during the music festival.
Elena told me that 2 months before the festival was to begin, the director requested for volunteers as translator/interpretors for the various foreign participants in the festival, which was to last for a full week (mornings, afternoons, and evenings, everyday). Students who were interested in volunteering must speak fluent english. These volunteers wrote down their names on the bulletin board, not knowing the list of names of the participants in the festival.
Elena was called into the office a month later, and was randomly assigned to me, as my translator outside of the conservatory.
I consider myself the most fortunate person in this world, because Elena and I became friends the moment we met at the airport.
I was introduced to her whole family, and out of their generous heart, accepted me into their family. And we have kept in touch since.
In February 2010, Elena came to visit me in LA for 2 weeks, played the piano, practiced her piano pieces she was preparing for her exams when she was to return back to the conservatory.
When Elena inquired whether she could pay me a visit in the first 2 weeks of February 2010,
by chance, I received at the same time another inquiry from another piano student, Alessia from Switzerland if she could visit me around the same time as Elena.
I said yes to the both of them.
What a blessing it turned out to be

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

JH Gilcrest Drive part 1

Since Mr. H died, I have not had the opportunity to find out what the interior looks like at the JH Gilcrest house. Even though, I have driven by the house hundreds of times, when ever a friend, or an old colleague would ask me to drive her/him over to that house on Gilcrest Drive.

Serendipitously, this past month of March 2010, when a dear friend was visiting me from England, because of the JH documentary project, some thing exceptional had occurred this time, when my friend asked me to drive him over to the Gilcrest house for the 5th time.
As I was waiting in my car, parked across the street from the house, my friend was taking pictures of the outside of the house, which was mostly covered with very high green hedges all around the property when the house was sold to a famous actor, James Wood. The only parts of the house which were not covered was the entrance to the front part of the house, which was gated not so high, and the entrance to the garage door.
Suddenly I saw a man coming out of the gated entrance door to get the mail. He noticed my car,
and was wondering what or who that might be parked across the street.
I decided to come out of my car , crossed the street (very narrow), said hello to this nice looking young man and introduced myself saying: " Hello, my name is Ayke, I used to live here in that house behind you with JH". Well, that really got his curiosity, and responded "Oh really? What do you mean? outside the house or inside the house?"
I: "of course inside the house, I was his accompanist, and was his house manager, who looked after many things for Mr. H"
The man (who turned out to be the owner now, took it over from James Wood), asked kindly, if I had since, seen the inside of the house. When I said "No", he invited me and my friend to come into the house.
This man was so kind and generous. When I asked if Peter the film producer could come out one day to take a few pictures of the view of the city of LA, located opposite of the house on the other side of the street, this man kindly said "yes".

I really believe that the spirit of JH must have been around me and he must have approved of this whole thing.
How kind and generous this man was.
And for fortunate he was, for all the series of events that have taken place as ground works for the film. A time was set for Peter to come out to the house in the next month.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Temecula Concert May 29

To my greatest surprise, Temecula turned out to be such a quaint, little city, having retained its flavor...which is everything western. One expects a few horse-drawn carriages flying or waltzing through this well restored little town. There were many little shops, or woodened type of little stands, where one can stop by and tastes different types of local wine, grown in this area.
One can still find a few indian reservations around this town.
When my roommate and I arrived there by car, 2 hours later, there were many tourists roaming around this town, and music faintly heard, coming from the different shops, or buildings.
The Old Town Theatre where Jeffrey Solow and I were expected to perform is a lovely little concert auditorium, which seats about 350.
On stage, there sat a 9 foot Steinway grand piano, at my disposal, for my use that evening.
The program for that evening, we were fortunate to have had the opportunity to play through, the evening before, at a private home. It is always a good idea, to work out all the kinks of the different pieces before an audience, before one gets to perform them in a more formal setting, such as it was in this theatre.
I was most impressed with the attitude of the people involved who were responsible for the success of the evening concert...such as the staff, stage management, the piano technician, who just had finished tuning the piano when I arrived.
The piano, to my surprise, had a very heavy action....not easy to play on it. The keys seemed to have arthritis, because I could hardly push them down. Considering the program I had to play that evening; many passages, which demands brilliant executions, and many chords which needed to be played on a double forte level....that which I was really having trouble with.
I was a little concern, and out of courtesy, the piano tuner stayed around, while I was trying out the piano, just in case I wanted some changes made. When I mentioned it to the piano tuner, he was so kind and told me that he would work on the it was the pins which needed to be worked on. A half hour later, that same piano played like butter under my fingers, the keys responded so much better, and I didn't have trouble at all, using the strength and control of my individual fingers to produce any kind of sound out of the piano. Thank God!
I asked the piano technician, after I had thanked him profusely " How long will this last? will it last until 10pm this evening?" He laughed and said "of course". I don't want to tell you what he did exactly, since it might be his personal secret recipe.
The concert went reasonably well.
I was able to get the piano to cooperate in any shape and form.
It even surprised the soloist.
Performing with Jeffrey Solow, was a great pleasure, being able to get inspired and collaborate in my own style, musically intertwining with the soloist's sense of phrasing. It was intoxicating.
The audience was so attentive. It was well attended.
We drove home that same evening, after the concert was over, and after the short visit with some people from the audience who were mostly friends of Jeffrey, whom I also know.
There was a woman, who drove all the way from the Palisades, who claimed to be a fan of mine, and has been following where ever I have a performance around LA.
She was so sweet.
What a blessing of an evening it was.