I admit, Facebook has taken me over. Since mid-2009, I have added over 2,000 friends–and most I know, and new ones are now in my FB 'family'. Some remarkable things have happened from FB–like the time when Jill Arbetter Karni found me on FB and wrote to me asking if I could perform Tschaikowsky's First Piano Concerto on less than a week's notice. I agreed, although I did not have the music with me in Colorado at the time. The piece came back to memory in three hours. The concert was in Bogota, Colombia, where I had never been. It was a fascinating journey, and the orchestra was splendid! The Richard Danielpour concerto project, "Mirrors", was premiered in February 2010, with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carl St. Clair, their devoted and brilliant maestro. The PSO staff is quite special, and we'll be working again together in November 2010 for the World Premiere of William Bolcom's "Prometheus" for piano, orchestra and chorus, which will kick off a nine member consortium project through 2012. At the moment, I am proud to announce that the newly created Trio21 will be represented worldwide by Craig Urquhart, who happens to be a wonderful musician, composer and pianist too. He was Leonard Bernstein's assistant and runs the Bernstein Estate, and just started The Craig Urquhart Agency based in New York and Berlin and has some illustrious soloists and conductors. We are very excited about this, and, since our inception in January 2010, a generous grant will allow for Kenneth Fuchs to compose a piano trio for us, and, we are assembling a consortium for a new "Triple Concerto for Viper, Electric Cello, Piano and Acoustic Orchestra" by the master electro/acoustic artist and composer, Mark Wood. The inaugural season for Trio21 is 2011-12. During 2009, E1 released Volume 1 of the Complete Sonatas by Mozart (with my own Mozartean improvisation in the repeat sections), and, Naxos released the Vivaldi "Four Seasons" for solo piano, accompanied by solo piano arrangements of Vivaldi's "Concerto for Lute in D Major" and "Concerto for Mandolin in C Major"–all done 'by ear' by the amazing Andrew Gentile–a long time friend growing up on Long Island. Only a genius of this calibre can create a solo transcription just by listening to recordings of the original settings with orchestra without musical scores! In 2010, Naxos digitally released the World Premiere recordings for the "Millennium Fantasy" by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, which had be commissioned by 27 orchestras and several private donors and foundations in 2000. With this work, Ellen's "Peanuts Gallery" and "Images for Two Pianos" are on the cd. Maestro Alexander Jimenez leads the very gifted Florida State University Orchestra, and, we enjoyed a week of recording sessions led by producer, John Hadden. John was a joy to record for, as he gently muscled us though the cd sessions. I return to the studio in June, with producer Steve Epstein (I still get goosebumps when I think about it!) for an all-Bach recording–and, I am just now working on the Baroque embellishments for this cd. It is a soul-searching creative project, one which brings me as close to the spirit of JS Bach as one might imagine. I am being extremely careful in adding the ornamentation, almost as though they already exist in an old edition. In my zany pursuits to keep commissioning projects alive, I began a monumental endeavor in mid-2009: the Ellen Taaffe wilich Global Commissioning Project–a project designed to join orchestras worldwide in cultural diplomacy, all the while keeping their share fees for the composer's fee affordable. We have five orchestras thus far on board, and anticipate more to come during this year. I do hope that 2010 is a good year for everyone, and that you are enjoying what you do and bring joy to those close to you.
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