free at last

As I mentioned in my last podcast, Tuesday night I went to the Menil Collection to see Pedja Muzijevic play John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. Tiffany and I walked to The Menil Collection from her apartment a few blocks away, which reminded me how much there is to love about Houston. It was an interesting crowd, and actually pretty amusing when a couple of cell phones went off during the performance, considering Cage’s philosophies about chance music. Muzijevic joked after the first piece was interrupted by a cell phone that John Cage was probably the only composer who would actually suggest that the audience turn ON their cellphones during the performance…”let’s just see what happens!”
Something became perfectly clear to me during the performance that I have been wrestling with for several years now:

working in theater has killed (or mutilated, at least) my passion for playing the piano.

Not only have I spent years hacking away at piano reductions of orchestral scores I have little interest in to begin with, but playing the piano has meant the drudgery and frustration of seemingly endless reheasals teaching singers who don’t read music how to sing their parts– all for a pitiful (at best) salary. The result of this has been the loss of a social life, the inability to see inspiring performances like the one I saw on Tuesday, and the abandonment of my own compositions/ pianistic adventures.
So yesterday I turned down the fourth musical directing gig I have been offered since my last show at Unity Theater in February. I also dusted off the score for Three Visitations, a piano piece I wrote for Dominic Walsh years ago that he has expressed interest in using. All I have to do is learn how to play the damn thing and get a recording of it to him.

I was excited to get some positive feedback about the John Cage segment I did on MPOB 45, it looks like some of you would be interested in more of that with other composers. It sure helped me snap into some excitement about music again. Let me know if you like that sort of thing.

2 comments on “free at last

  1. Andy C says:

    Change for a dollar? Here’s some late night smack hehe.

    It’s hard to keep a passion that is always being kicked during part of your day. I used to do graphic design all day. I showed a client what they should use, they hack it to bits with bad ideas and perversions of color to make it truly a less brandable image. Customer is king I suppose but carving a lot of creative energy out to make something then have it bastardized is generally hard to callous completely. Regardless it saps your energy and patience. In turn then I stopped doing art at home because I was too exausted. This left me very unfufilled though. I felt like I was abusing a part of myself for a dollar. Eventually I realized that I wanted to keep my creativity alive and I stopped doing design for a living. Now everything creative is just for me or those around me. I’m generally the critical customer in my world and it’s liberating to create, study, critique, without the overhead of drama.

    Life is about learning and applying what you learn to eeke out some niche. It’s easy to pick up skills and use them instead of those things you hold dear.

    The other thing I could point out was being a physical trainer and watching myself care less about the gym from being in the place too much. Eventually retiring that trade so I could stay passioned about self as well. If it’s not a dramatic affair it could be just too much of any thing is a bad thing…

    Regardless the more you save for yourself the more you can give qualitatively to others through your efforts. Find that compass inside and you do what is right for #1 (#1 is you btw 😉 ).


  2. mikeypod says:

    Thanks Andy,

    I am so glad we have continued to connect outside of LiveJournal. It’s beem great tpo see you grow…and your sage advice always hits right where it should.

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