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Cat ready to Travel!

29 Dec I-GO2 Escort

 

Cat ready for Shopping, Bank, Next trip to Maui, more...

 

 

I-GO2 Escort

Erai's "Suitcase" arrived just after Xmas. All ready for next trip. She got too big for my tote bags!

My “classic” looking cat has been hopping in my totes before I go since she was adopted. She’s really part bengal. I haven’t been able to take her out in months due to her weight & since she just crossed over the 1 year mark. And, she’s been looking at me from my inside my “carryon” suitcase.  This was ordered from Overstock.com and is big enough for her with some room. Plenty of mesh windows too! I-GO2 Escort from PetGear  5-in-1. We tried it outside and the backpack works great and is more comfortable than expected. The roller/wheels work fine, and it comes with handle and extra shoulder strap, as well as a “cushion” that velcros into the bottom. Side pockets for food too.

 

Cross Cultural Understanding

28 Dec

repost: Cross-Cultural- Understanding from Piano_Noir  

First published Dec. 28, 2012


Aloha…is from a land of Hawaiian Ukulele music.  Ukelele music is popular among the local Hawaiian families and is frequently used at weddings and celebrations. Aloha land is 4920 miles away from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the East Coast of the United States where traditional Christian weddings are plentiful. Philadelphia, PA where Rachmaninoff hisself conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, where the legendary piano instructors Gary Graffman & the Sokoloffs reigned for over 50 years as the best piano instructors on the planet through the 2000 millenium. Though I was adventurous as a prior student of a Hungarian piano instructor who was a collegue of Zoltan Kodaly where local folk music was embraced, the Hawaiian attitude is anything except harsh.

I was in a condusive traditional Classical piano environment and learned piano in a very strong Christian based community. One where every church has at least one grand piano, if not two or more grand pianos and electric organ or common pipe organ. I grew up with the general knowledge that Bach and many of the great keyboard Composers were supported by the Church and wrote sacred as well as secular music, with a pethora of churches and institutions where I could perform on a variety of period instruments frequently.  In diminished comparison, Hawaii barely houses an electric keyboard at any church, let alone 1 studio upright or pipe organ.

In the current 21st century economy many Hawaii churches have “gotten rid of” their keyboard instruments due to maintenance costs and vandalism from an obtrusive population. Before moving to Hawaii, I took my east coast musical environment for granted and wished the general population was understanding of my Japanese heritage. However, most of the Christian community included everyone in the USA who has traditionally hated the Japanese;- including newly formed Korean specific churches. So I continually befell physical attacks, verbal criticism, and blatant discrimination on the East coast for most of my 30 some years of life.

So, I move to Hawaii and am inundated with a severe local attitude that is against piano.  They say I have  “too high makamaka”  think I’m better than them. I worked at piano because I loved it and my talent put me through college with a scholarship.

The other day, a local parent mentioned to me that his child was learning a popular “Traditional Christian wedding piece” on their keyboard on her own. This is the first time that I have gotten to explain that these are normal pieces, that many children on the mainland learn to play at their family weddings. It’s difficult for me to believe that the culture in Hawaii is so vastly different from the East Coast USA that these things are so “foreign” to local Hawaii. Especially since I see the religious rosary with crosses dangling from many rear view mirrors, and other Christian car markings. Just as most mainland people could not explain the differences and nuances of Hawaiian musical performances because they don’t know the Hawaiian traditional song repertoire;- most Hawaiian Islander natives could not begin to explain the subtleties of any Classical piano repertoire performance.

edited: Nov. 23, 2016 Sproutfuel.com

Artist at Ritz Carlton Kapalua- Maui

23 Dec My Fish Go by A.M.Kneale
My Fish Go by A.M.Kneale

My last conversational drawing with Mario Pascuale, He and Katia were drawing fish- so I joined by drawing Go (my Betta)My first try at the technique (though a bit lazy) while chatting with Macario Pascuale in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton.

I got away to Maui for a couple of days, at a friend’s invitation who is a piano lover. I only got to sit at a piano for a few minutes upon arrival, a nice breather. Though, Hawaii hasn’t been too kind to being nuturing of my hands and technique due to locals not understanding how delicate the mechanism of hand/arm etc is in creating tone. After breakfast the following morning the artist-in-residence Macario Pascual at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua- who was sharing a simple batik type technique with guests in the lobby outside the gallery. He shared some of his wonderful batik designs on paper. And had a beautiful display of his oil painting “en plein air” that are wonderfully soft and clear. I learned that he also teaches tennis to local Maui residents and supports his teaching largely through sale of his paintings. Thanks to Macario Pascuale for sharing his painting passion!

A link to Macario Pascuale’s website:

http://www.pascualfinearts.com/Originals.html

Pineapple by AMKneale

My first try at the technique (though a bit lazy) while chatting with Macario Pascuale in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton. A not so modern looking pineapple.

My Hawaii Studio Recital & My Birthday

22 Nov
Gifts of Hawaiian Lei & Koko-Pele

Gift & Music from students for my first Studio recital in HawaiiFlowers for the Instructor

I arrived with a batch of recording equipment. One of my adult students  immediately “lei’d” me with a beautiful and soft fragrant lei. The lei smelled soft, light and fruit-like and really changed the aura around me to being immediately pleasant.  It was only my 2nd lei made of flowers that I have received since being in Hawaii. So, it is something very special to me.  Three beginning students of mine committed to performing that day for about a half hour. My prior studio recitals were 20-25 beginners playing short works of 1 min. a piece over 30 minutes.  So, this felt more like a recital should to me. Two of the composers prepared original works for they day. We had performances of a Christian based song called “An Angel is Born” by a Hapa-American composer that I accompanied on piano in the style of Pebble Hill Inter-faith Church, and a piano piece entitled “CY7” by a young Japanese-American composer.

Others adult students bailed out on performing, days before, or had business trips and other things planned. The Studio recital this year went well. Held on the 20th of Nov. 2011. Some of my adult students were able to perform, and in the aftermath of APEC that greatly affected the island and our schedules. And, on a weekend before the Holiday season “officially begins” with Thanksgiving day in 4 days.

I was very happy with everyone’s efforts. Before the performances I gave everyone performing a copy of Ruth Laredo’s book for advice and to aid them in their first performance. And, very proud of an adult student who had to play and carry most of the music time in this beginning recital with more lengthy and intermediate classical & jazz works.
 At the end, I was given a Hawaiian Koko-Pele necklace (aka as Kokopelli) with the spirit of the music muse. And, for the first time in my 20th year of teaching;- I gave out awards. Awards are something that I usually reserved for students who were in my studio in excess of 2 years or in the rare case of exceptionalism. This time was quite different. My youngest student and only child student has studied with me since August, barely making the 3 month mark. Another student who was on-again/ off-again and never having much time for learning piano and practicing pulled through with lengthy song lyrics and a melody that I helped to arrange.  What a wonderful day! All ended with another

Asian Lillies- fragrant
Flowers for the Instructor

bouquet of Asian lillies and requests to hear me play, despite my attempts to clear the hall for recording. I realized that I normally make and evaluate self-recordings before performing as part of my artistic process.

It was nice to see happy faces. Thanks to everyone for making it a wonderful day.
Later, I got to cash in my Starbucks Birthday coffee card for a Venti Peppermint Soy Mocha. Then, I was able to get some extra hall time to try out the piano and recording in this hall (a new place for me). Afterwards, I was taken to dinner at PF Chang’s for some Vegetarian spicy eggplant and yes, a Chopin Dirty Martini- Shaken not stirred.
(reminiscent of a small group of male tweens in my  piano studio, years ago who performed the James Bond theme, and one made the Philadelphia Inquirer re: his serenades)

11.11.11 Full Moon

13 Nov 11.11.11 APEC under the Full Moon
11.11.11 APEC under the Full Moon

11.11.11 a full Moon Shines

Editions- a mention

28 Oct

What edition are you learning _____ from?

Why is this important to any developing artist at the piano? It’s important because every note is crucial. What we see, hopefully as close to the Composer’s written hand manuscript as possible.  Close to the Composer’s notes written in his students’ studied scores. All, to “recreate” a hearing of the piece that is live and as close to the “intent” of the composer as possible. Or, to know that which is intended and bring out nuances that, debatable, reflect a historical representation of sounds leading to that piece’s interpretation.

So, Tuesday, I went to the small Honolulu music store adjacent to Sanders Piano on King Street. And, I asked if they had a Durand edition of the Debussy Preludes.  Apparently, not. There was a small dose of Debussy that wasn’t much thicker than Beethoven’s complete Sonatas in Henle and the Complete Mozart Sonatas in Presser. The Debussy editions available were Henle, Alfred, and Schirmer. There wasn’t even a Dover Edition. And, then I was left with one choice for the Preludes, and I cringed…it was the Schirmer Edition. Something I was told to NEVER work from (except for my Concerti for already set competitions to be one by the highest bidder- not I).

So, There are no fingerings in the Schirmer edition. The print itself seems too lifeless…I don’t know how to explain that, being that I am the daughter of a Printer. And, there is no acknowledgement of where this edition was derived. There is a 1900 copyright acknowledgement and international copyright claim posted with G. Schirmer Inc., ASCAP on the 1st prelude page. I’m not sure about the notes throughout the edition. And being that Hawaii already severely lacks resources, it is quite expensive for me to order books since there is no free shipping to Hawaii;- I’m still waiting for 2 shipments of books for students that were to be here on the 18th, and have still not arrived via USPS from Amazon (5 days left before I can formally complain.)

However, with some recordings and listening and a highlighter in hand I’ll mark any stray notes and accidentals, as I have done in comparing a Dover edition of Mussorgsky’s Picture’s at an Exhibition with an International Music Company, (Frankenstein edition) of Pictures at an Exhibition. There seem to be more errors in the Dover Edition.

However, The only really decent editions I have secured after my $30,000 solo music library of good editions that I secured over the years was stolen, like my good CD’s by by college classmates, is in some Sikorski editions. Not to mention college faculty stealing my old Chopin markings with all my other scores from my Music School basement locker It would be nice, if anyone has editions to send my way;- to drop them in the mail to me. Even IMSLP is difficult for me to afford in printing costs, due to the high volume of pages that comprise my repertoire. I’m sure there’s a pianist, or anti-pianist laughing about further damaging my career while helping plenty of “their own”. This is not something new I have to contend with, though I have a love of music that is very seperate from the people who make this a most difficult path to exist on.

 

200 years of Franz Liszt on Oct. 22

19 Oct

Liszt  birthday concerts & available tickets are posted here http://www.classictic.com/en/Special/franz_liszt_birthday_concerts to celebrate the Father of the Solo grand piano concert.

_______________________________________________________________________________

I recollect that I was at Faust Harrison for some “blooming” hammer trial and was taken to a restored later 19th century Steinway. I decided trying yes, that Un Sospiro would be fitting for the instrument. And, yes it sounded more beautiful than I ever imagined it could, and got an immediate grasp of an entirely different piano sound. It was stunningly beautiful and I felt it belonged on the period instrument. Throughout my “competitive” childhood I used to love listening to the Transcendental Etudes. I felt they put Chopin’s etudes to shame. And, one teacher said to me at a lesson after I explored the Chopin Etudes;- so how do you like them? I said “not really”. He told me (pre internet era) “you’ll find some other ones you’ll like someday” (Godowsky reference). I used to sit with the book and recording, too afraid to touch the pieces on the piano most of the time. I think I set my fingers into the Wild Jagd or Chasse Neige as my first exploration in Liszt’s repertoire and then left it for lack of time. I dabbled in the Hungarian Rhapsodies when I could pull a book aside. My mother was strict about what she heard coming from me at the piano (lesson material only for fear I would be called Lazy again). I never really spent time on Liszt, even in adulthood. Most of it thrown together for the first time, as a reading. I’ve worked casually on about 10 pages of the Liszt Sonata (the past week or so) after giving it a complete reading some 8-9 years ago. Today, I’m rusty from life in Hawaii. I miss the real piano world, the one that kept me inspired to keep going with my music endeavors. (All this reminds me that I’ve been chased out of my life in the USA to this Hawaiian water park.)

Lang Lang will be performing in Philadelphia. I know, it’s not a place I can go safely;- despite Philadelphia area being my home for over a quarter century. Eugene Albulescu, a former Grand Prix du Liszt winner, was residing in the Lehigh Valley before I left nearly 3 years ago. I’m sure there will be some splendid concerts this week/weekend. I wish everyone the best.

My practice pianos/ keys

18 Oct

 

My first piano: I started playing on an Original Knabe factory 5’6 baby grand piano (Heirloom)- It was a birth gift from my great-grandmom Eva (Kelly) Kneale who built her residence 7 miles from the old Rodgers and Hammerstein home in rural Dublin, PA. The Kneale side of my family immigrated from the Isle of Mann through Wales to the United States and lived in Ohio as Chewing gum makers @1900. Eva (Kelly) Kneale lived to see me start playing on the piano.

My second piano: C7 Yamaha that Duke Ellington performed on at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Was purchased after my grandmother Kneale’s death. (photo of me going to my senior prom technically stag- next to piano)

My Rhodes:  Rhodes was a piece my brother had played on and used for his Drum & Bass DJ playing. I decided after his death in 2005, when I had opportunity, to leave on a small Island in Canada at the residence of an artist (from Detroit) known for his watercolor paintings. It rode on trailer behind  a snowmobile. The Island is in Rainbow Isle, where the Canadian 7 painted. My brother and I both had played in Canada as kids. It seemed a happier place for the instrument.

In Music School: I attended Ithaca College and there were some 99 practice rooms there, most housing at least a studio upright and then there were grand piano rooms. The Grand pianos that I normally used varied from Kawai, Steinway, to Mason & Hamlin & Yamaha. I found the Mason & Hamlin in one of the repertory class rooms to be my favorite at the school. The Stage pianos were Steinway B & C grands and Bosendorfer. The “lessons” were normally on some Steinway B in one of the professor studios.

The Old Historic Mansion in Doylestown, PA- I practiced here out of convenience when the Community Conservatory was still renting the place. However, there was a great spiritual energy of some demon that frequently demands space. And was why the previous faculty had left with all of the school’s students. There was a new artistic director there who, armed with purifying sage, cleansed the building regularly.  I was practicing Kabalevsky one night when the demon looked at me from the brass on the piano lamp. I went upstairs because I felt someone’s presence and the room at the top of the stairs felt almost humid. The frequency of the room was extraordinary, without a physical person, it was a concentrated dose of hate and anger, so pure it was amazing. So, I found some other places to practice;- see below in Lehigh Valley area.

Other times as an adult I would practice until 2 or 4 AM in the Lehigh Valley at a Chuch where an Organist/ piano colleague let me in, or at the College practice rooms, the college where I heard Marelyne Dosse and Anne Petite perform. Once in a while I could stay and practice at Lehigh Uni. until late. It was a 20 min. drive for me to practice before doors closed, and then I would eat vending machine Pringles.

I hopped back to Ithaca and practiced a little while trying to save some money to leave for a Japanese friendly community on the west coast or Hawaii. I got a plane ticket $500 to Honolulu on Priceline and didn’t return. My nothing special Korg controller K-61p survived the trip unwrapped in my large duffel bag. Thankfully it has no action, so– no broken parts.

My 1st Hawaii Piano:  Older Handmade Mahogany Baldwin Hamilton Studio piano (with leather on the action).  My 2nd or  3rd month in Hawaii, I needed a piano. I found this one on Craigslist at a reasonable cost. Most used studio uprights were still going for $3000 on Honolulu at the time, so I was happy to find this piano. The woman who advertised it told me she wanted to sell it to someone who could play. Someone in NY moving to Hawaii had written to her about purchasing the instrument, so I purchased it immediately.

My stage piano:  The Yamaha 88 key piano got wrecked by UPS. They still haven’t reconciled the damage despite $600 in shipping and insurance.

I need a new piano though. The humidity is hard on

Kennedy Center- Euro Kids Week 2011 till Nov. 10

17 Oct

If they aren’t laughing at you, they might not laugh. Laughter, a potent medicine for the heart, was the gift from the Slovakian Embassy in  “Clown – musical virtuoso… ” by Adrian Ohradka at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage for the Kids Euro Festival 2011 is from last night’s performance ( October 16, 2011). There are 27 EU embassies contributing to some 200 events and multiple performances throughout Washington D.C. until November 10, 2011.

I particularly enjoyed the blank music score that the children shake & hand back to the clown full of notes. Splendid fun! There are free admission performances on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center every day of the year. Target is one of the performance sponsors at the Kennedy Center.  There are  6 main venues for performances in DC for this Kids Euro Festival 2011.

 

Visit:   http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/KidsEuroFest.htm

For more Festival info and a list of participating EU Embassies

Asian Women in Classical Music

17 Oct

My lunchtime thoughts were too intense…Today I decided to have lunch at Thai Village and I ordered a vegetarian green curry dish. $9.79 and I calculated the 20% tip of $1.87 despite wanting to leave more. On the walk home;- I found a $1 folded and laying on the sidewalk. definitely one of my smaller money laying on the sidewalk finds. It wasn’t some drunken gambler who dropped his bound 12″ stack of Franklins who possibly just left a hidden gambling room. Then, I didn’t have to hand this dollar back to anyone, I gave it to my cat to play with.

I sat below an antique cloth sculpture with tarnishing metal sequins, river polished moon stones and other embroidery articulations. On the adjacent wall, there is a Western style painting of a Village scene at the foot of a mountain in Thailand. In the water are energized water lilies/ lotus floating by a bridge. Since I’m from the East Coast and have spent most of my years on the planet regularly between New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore my mind has grown weary of the superficial life in Hawaii. It’s difficult to have a conversation with someone about what college/ university you went to. Instead, people get very excited over those who went to the main private high schools on the Island. There is little to no appreciation for anything that isn’t difficult for them to get and expensive to pay for. Then, especially if you are a female;- there is a very nasty side that translates to “sex trade” and someone else capitalizing off of your efforts to stay alive. And the worst part, is that the Island of Oahu is small enough so that people can find you easily if you don’t do what they want or ask of you. There is no big city anonymity or luck by chance of running into the right person through hard work.

So finally time for me to mention, Yuja Wang, pianist, this past August at the Hollywood Bowl.  She wears dresses on stage that are shorter than the traditional cocktail dress. I myself, think that her taste in dress is demeaning to a lot of women. Her club clothes that seem more appropriate for an American strip club or Hawaiian hostess bar.  Though, I’ve seen some of the women coming out of Hostess bars at night to eat at local restaurants in Honolulu and they wear longer dresses & high fashion shoes.

There has been a conversation going on for some time about “changing the Classical piano performance”.  The thing that really really gets to me though;- is that my colleagues and performers who I read about (like Yuja) who I think Gary Graffman mentioned to me back around 2001;- is that the change isn’t clothing. The change in the Classical piano world is the publicizing of “ethnic” people of non-caucasian background. Try telling someone from Guam or Japan or China they are “ethnic” in Hawaii like I did when I moved here from my Philadelphia and NY life. I was met with a shocking comment from them;- That I am not ETHNIC and am part of the MAJORITY (that is, over here in the middle of the Pacific), and neither are they. They have little to no awareness of how badly women of Asian descent can be and are treated on the East coast because those women (and men) are considered “Ethnic” to mainstream America.

I could probably write more than a dissertation to unpack the problems of minority women (not just women) in the United States with regards to classical music and other professional fields that are predominantly Caucasian male run. Instead, below are some statistics from the book, “Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream” by Robert I. Simon, MD; 2008, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. www.appi.org.

  • 33-35% of men fantasize about raping a woman, and say they would if they knew they wouldn’t get caught (pg. 64-65)
  • “51% of rapists are white, 42% black, 6% have other racial backgrounds” note percentages are based on reported rapes. (pg. 61)
  • “The National Women’s Study estimated that 683,000 adult women are raped each year.” (pg. 61)
  • “Power is the major motivation for rape”(pg. 61)
  • 14% of single rape victims are 12-15 years old.(pg. 61)
  • “The group at the highest risk is between the ages of 16 & 24.”(pg. 61)

My thoughts on Yuja Wang’s short dress that belongs in an age 21 and over club, where there are only adults and possibly alcohol.  I think Yuja should have stayed with a nicer image that doesn’t advertise cockpit hemlines. I know I’m not thinking about the music, I’m thinking about the continued exploitation of Asian women by the United States. I have heard at least 3 generations of sad tales from Asian women coast to coast and in Hawaii, of those who speak english well. I and my friends have lived through a lot, and there is a horrifying reality that this attitude will only become worse in the USA. Mostly because of the economy. And, when there is a lack of wealth;- women are some of the first to be exploited without financial compensation. Even in Hawaii, domestic violence cases are being ignored by HPD. The more stable women are hurting more already. When I was in my college years, because of a lack of family in the USA, I stayed and interned for leading Feminist and rights groups around Washington D.C. That was how I stayed safe for some short times I was in need of help. If I could say something.Please Yuja, keep it graceful. Your face & your musical performance and interpretation is the change in the piano performance world. Your short dress, doesn’t distinguish you from the rest of the Asian sex trade.

To be edited….

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