Philadelphia….the City of Brotherly Love, Dr. J, Rocky Balboa and our very own John Lofton. We took the Amtrak Acela yesterday from DC and a mere 90 minutes later, we arrived in Philadelphia. Train travel is so civilized, but it must have looked a little like herding sheep, getting the orchestra through the train station to the correct departure platform. When we arrived in Philly, we had our very own police escort from the train to the buses…they must of heard about these musicians from the other side of the country. Of course, as soon as we arrived at the hotel, the majority of the brass section took off for the closest cheese steak emporium. You absolutely must have a cheese steak hoagie in Philly. YUM!!
As I sat drinking in the luscious LA Phil performance of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony tonight at Verizon Hall, I also found time to meditate on the happenings of the day. Now that my part of the concert was over - playing the piano in John Adams’ “City Noir” on the first half - it started to dawn on me how much I had managed to fit in this afternoon. There were reunions of all sorts: – with dear friends, colleagues, and the City of Brotherly Love itself – Philadelphia.
The highlight of my day was a visit with one of Philly’s grand institutions – La Grand Dame of the Curtis Institute - my former teacher Eleanor Sokoloff. Every bit as vibrant as I remember her from my student days, she regaled us with stories from her 75 years of teaching.
How many 96-year-olds do you know who own an e-book reader, use a PC every day, and love HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” - while continuing to devote their life to nurturing young piano talent?