The Dept. of Interior and the White House jointly hosted an awards ceremony and reception for our nations’ most visible volunteers today. My good friend Katie Loovis, exec. director of Take Pride in America, brought me in with my colleagues, bassist Bhagwan Khalsa, and clarinetist Marty Nau to assist in their annual awards ceremony. Secretary Kempthorne did far more than offer welcoming remarks. He wanted to connect to the assembly of volunteers from around the country, and he wanted them to connect with each other as well. It was really quite moving, and we enjoyed coloring it all in with tunes ranging from our extemporaneous arrangements of “Grand Old Flag” to “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” (…that’s a long story).
The Mughal India exhibit at the Sackler Gallery is a tough one to decipher. Unless, of course, you get the tour from Smithsonian docent Roshna Kapadia. At that point, the context, symbolism, politics and artistic content come alive. In fact, I will make a point of catching all of Roshna’s tours and recommend that all of you do the same. She has deep understanding and passion for the subject.
Muraqqa’ Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library
Say “Mughal India ,” and the first image to pop up in anyone’s mind is the Taj Mahal. Currently on view at the Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington DC , you can see miniature paintings from the ateliers of Emperor Shah Jahan (who had the marmoreal mausoleum built), his father, Jehangir, and grandfather, Akbar among other royal notables. This collection, on loan (more…)
I first met pianist Steven Beck when he was 16 or so. Martin Goldsmith was hosting a book event for Fred Starr, author of Bamboula, the bio of Gottschalk. Martin enlisted me to play some Gottschalk excerpts, and I in turn recruited Steve to play part of the Grande Tarantelle, which he was about to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. For his reward, I gave him my copy of the book.
So 14 years later Steve is about to unleash all 32 of the Beethoven sonatas at Barge Music starting July 16, 2008. This is an effort that I simply cannot imagine myself doing, and is the domain of the rare pianist. The last time I attended such a marathon was when Wilhelm Kempff performed them to an exclusive audience at the Brahmssaal in Vienna in 1974. Kempf was at the very end of his career and the audience was worshipful to say the least. Every pianist and teacher was there, including John O’Connor, Dieter Weber, Noel Flores, etc.
So I am confident there will be a crowd of the cognoscenti lurking at Barge Music. I will attend on July 20 when he does opus 10 nr. 1, opus 22, 26, and 109.
Yes, we finally have an excellent cafe in the neighborhood, Pastry Xpo. Beautiful French delicacies and cakes, and superb coffee. I just hope it lasts. They offer samples every morning, and I could sustain myself on those alone. It is a very high end pastry shop, and a real treasure for the neighborhood… Just have a look at the rave from the Washington Post this week.