The Kitten, Venti Dita and the Music!

It is  hard to imagine that there will be no more occasional sitting in front of the TV or enjoying the sounds of the garden in the evening with Beata and a glass of wine. Yes, I am going back to teaching this Monday.  I am sad about the passing of summer but am also exited about the new school year, especially that this year I will be teaching four classes of my favorite subject – music history. I am also looking forward to my upcoming recital and new CD of piano duos.

I did not do much of what I planned at all. I had no time for blogs, catching up with Facebook friends or extra trips to New York and the Amish County. My summer was devoted though to plenty of piano music and cats, two of my favorite subjects.

The Kitten!

On my last day of school we become  parents to a little, scroungy looking black kitten with white spots, who if would not be found by students in a Princeton University dumpster, would be crushed to death.

Pix day one

Now, after 3 months and dozens of sleepless nights, many broken flowerpots, chewed up hibiscus, 2 planters that became kitty litter boxes and dozens more emergency cleanups, our little kitten Pix, is taller and heavier than our biggest cat, Puszek. He provides us with joy and constant entertainment as well as a means for exercise for our other three other kitties that were sleeping over 20 hours a day.

Venti Dita!

Finally, after working for almost two years together with Jennifer, we came up with the name for our piano duo: Venti Dita. I think that this is a really cool, simple musical name – 20 fingers in Italian.

The biggest achievement and time-consuming activity this summer was the recording of our first duo CD devoted to contemporary music for piano 4 hands, at Purchase College, Purchase, NY.

When my wife commuted to work in Willow Grove in Pa. I always teased her that she picked the very early starting time of 5:30am to get good parking and to avoid traffic on the PA turnpike. The karma caught with me this summer when after my first trip to Purchase, I was almost late to our first recording session, despite the fact I left more than enough time.

Now it was her time for her to get back at me and remind me of the old times. After that first week I would leave home at 5am to pass the George Washington Bridge before it turned into a parking lot. My extra time would spent in a Diner having a hearty breakfast with Jennifer and yes, sipping good tea, especially since we would take only a short break for lunch that Beata packed for us in a small cooler so we would not waste time driving to another diner. Coming back home was also tied up to traffic patterns. Having dinner before leaving Westchester solved this problem and most times I had a smooth trip home.

I feel sorry for drivers that must put up with this kind of aggravation on the road every day. For last 15 years I take a train instead of drive to New York.

I am very lucky to live very close to my school as well as to WPRB, since the traffic around Princeton is not much better, especially now when NJDOT closed a few local roads, creating havoc for local drivers.

We had 3 recording sessions plus 3 sessions with our wonderful engineer, Andy Cardenas.  One recording session was extremely exhausting since we could  not use the air conditioner and the temperature outside soared to  98 degrees.

Yea!!!! We have a gold master and it sounds really great, but we still have many steps to take care before the CD can be released. Hopefully the recording will be out before the end of the year.  Cannot wait!!!

The Music!

Each year I devote much time in the summer to listen to music, but this summer I spent more time at the piano.

Besides hosting my both radio programs at WPRB, and yes, celebrating at the end of May the beginning of my 16th year on the air, I spent my summer preparing for the recording sessions as well as my upcoming piano recital devoted to contemporary music.

On the radio I presented a few special Early Music Editions, hosted a jazz program with music by classical composers inspired by jazz, and had a few guests such as the young Serbian composer-violinist Ana Milosavljević, Australian composer and conductor Sean O’Boye, Elliott Carter expert Joe Barron, and pianist Rosanne Vita Nahass who recently released a CD featuring the Concord, Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass.  by Charles Ives. Finally, I celebrated John Cage’s 100th Birthday with an unexpected 6-hour edition of “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde”.

My piano recital titled “Contemporary Piano Miniatures”, will be Sunday afternoon, September 23 at 3:00pm in Bristol Chapel at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and will include music from many countries. I will be joined in several works by my piano duo partner Jennifer Castellano, and will perform selections included on our upcoming CD.

And yes, this concert is FREE!!!!  So if you are around, please join me and if you are afraid of new music, here is your opportunity to try without risk. Princeton is a charming town in  early autumn.

If you listen to “Classical Discoveries” you will recognize the names of many composers. In addition, you will hear a complete performance of the work by my duo partner Jennifer I use as my opening theme.

I feel very lucky that I am in position as an educator, performer and radio host to expose new and unknown music to many.

Before I conclude, I would just like to remind you all that we must support our living composers today as they were supported by their contemporaries in earlier centuries.

If you want directions or more information please email me at Marvinarosen@gmail.com

If you are on Facebook and attend please sign the guest list at: https://www.facebook.com/events/438945242823380/

Winter’s Breath

A couple of weeks ago, on a beautiful snowy Sunday morning, I stumbled on a wonderful video posted in Facebook.  The author was  Sean O’Boyle, the Australian composer, living in New York. The soundtrack for the video was his own composition titled “Winter’s Breath”.

I wonder if he was thinking about the music while taking this video or the idea of pairing both came later?

Some of you might remember Sean as a composer of the “Concerto for Didgeridoo and Orchestra”, a work that I have presented several times on my program.

The pictures of those snowy scenes in New York combined with music gave me the idea to do a whole program of works devoted to winter, a season that never really came to us this year on the east coast, at least not yet.

As I am going through piles of CD’s of music depicting musically ice, snow, and the cold, I am imagining wonderful winter scenery and hope that some of you will be able to join and share with me this special voyage to the Winter Wonderland, just days before March and the real spring season begins.

Yes, winter is coming to Classical Discoveries this Wednesday from 5:30am till 1:00pm. Get out your warm gloves, scarfs, boots and get ready to be chilled and frozen on  WPRB 103.3FM or on-line at http://www.wprb.com/listen.php

If you miss the broadcast you will be able to listen on your computer for 2 weeks after the mp3 files are posted on my Classical Discoveries website.

The weather is so different from last year, when I remember driving to WPRB for my 24 Hour Hovhaness Marathon in a blizzard. A two-minute drive turned into a 40-minute struggle. I live close and could have actually walked to the station, but since I needed supplies for 24-hours of survival, I needed to go by car.

My evening’s special guest could not get a taxi for a 2-mile drive from his hotel to the studio.  That is how bad it was. After that, we had snow almost every Monday or Tuesday. I was actually very happy when spring arrived.

This season, after the late October snow we had only a few days of light snow, and can already see spring flowers popping up in my garden. I bet that many people with extreme weather this year would like to exchange places with us here in the Northeast.

March, as always, will be devoted to women composers, so this is my last chance to celebrate winter.  In addition, on Feb.29, to celebrate Alan Hovhaness’s 101st birthday, I will broadcast a live concert of his chamber music taped on January 8, 2012 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. If you are on Facebook, you can join the Event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/238468462904193/.  I will also present some selections from a just released CD of his choral works as performed by Gloriae Dei Cantores.

Enjoy the last few weeks of winter, or at least listen this Wednesday on WPRB.

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