I started playing the piano at age six. It was all I ever wanted to do, and I consequently studied piano and turned it into a profession.
I had a number of different piano teachers throughout my life. Darryl Rosenberg, the great interpreter of John Cage and Morton Feldman, was one of those whose teaching and playing was truly inspiring. Unfortunately, that was the exception. Most teachers during my university years followed the doctrine of “We know EXACTLY today how <fill in composers name> has to be played!” There was one ‘right’ way, and only one, of playing Beethoven, or Bach, or Brahms. Anything not written down, any freedom …
When I started playing concerts – at the age of 12 – I experienced something most performers know: being anxious before going on stage. As a pianist I was in a pretty easy situation though: you’re on stage with a really big instrument, and you’re mostly not looking directly at the audience, both of which makes it possible to just blend out the scary aspects and concentrate on what I love – playing music. When I started performing as an Irish dancer, that tactics didn’t work anymore, mostly for two …
In my last blog post I wrote about songs and artists that cannot be covered. Unfortunately I recently got one more proof point with the ‘ Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour ’ of Cirque du Soleil. Visiting Cirque du Soleil has been on my wishlist for quite some time, ever since I had seen some really fascinating shows from them on TV. And Michael Jackson – I grew up with his music but only started to really understand his genius once I myself started dancing some years ago. So, Cirque du Soleil and …
There are some songs that cannot be covered. They are too great, too special, the original artists are so exceptional that any attempt to cover them is doomed to fail, which they regularly and frustratingly do. All of Supertramp falls into that category, also a lot of Sting. And most decidedly ‘The show must go on’ from Queen. This song is so intense, Freddie Mercury sings it with such passion and simplicity, and it is so closely linked with his personal destiny. When I see singers trying to cover that …
Since I started writing and publishing music, a lot of people have asked me this: “How do you write music? Where do you get your ideas from?” This is a very personal question, and you will get a different answer from every composer you ask. For me the answer has two parts: Creativity and Skills. The creative part starts with finding the initial spark: a melody, a rythm, a specific sound quality, whatever it is. My inner world is full of music all the time, sometimes it’s entire Bruckner symphonies, …
Decided that I needed some really good pictures, found a great photographer in Munich, and spent half a day in the "Hirschgarten" (a local park) and an hour in the Steinway house. It was actually freezing, but when you look at the pictures you don't see any of this - it looks like summer! I hope you like the pictures - you'll find some in the site headers, on the album covers of course, and I'll upload some more to this site over time.
One great thing that happened during the photo session: I found a new song! I stood in the park playing along on my Tin Whistle, random notes suddenly turned into a tune, and once back in my studio I went to work on it. The name will be "End of Summer", a beautiful but melancholy song, featuring Low Whistle, Guitar and Harmonica (or some strings, haven't decided yet).
My first production "Lullaby for an Elf"
Last week I finished my first production in my own studio: "Lullaby for an Elf". The melody of this song found me during dinner on Saturday 18th, and I had to run away from the table, grab some paper and write it down. Another two days of writing and arranging, then one more day of practice and recording - and here it is!
I didn't have a title for the song when my wife first listened to it, but after just a few bars she said: "Oh, this is a lullaby for an elf!" Turns out this title is absolutely perfect!
You'll find the song on my site and also (in a couple of days) on iTunes.