before it is too late

and before everything runs away from my little head and heart, here are few images from september. oh how i want to expand on every single one of them. wait. you many not want me to though, haha!

 of beautifully inquisitive yet certainly individualist cat who lives with dear friend in nyc. i was so lucky to get to see her before another season of mayhem ensues (she's touring- best wishes! for rests and sanity...)

 pleasure of taking slower tempo than the reality. propeller planes can be so organic, who knew?

a small scene near my gym. i have no idea what the white said to black, but clearly, black wasnt feeling indifferent after that. 

the dear citizenship test that i was waiting and dreading for. more on that later. it was a quite an experience. 

 magic shop lady. i wonder what her story is.

a typical nyc nut scene. 

atypical yyz nut scene. long life 'difference' and 'similarity.'



etymology: accompany:
early 15c., from M.Fr. accompagner, from O.Fr. acompaignier (12c.) "take as a companion," from à "to" + compaignier, from compaign (see companion). Related: Accompanied; accompanying.

i do all kinds of accompanying. the one i rather like is accompanying minnow to the grocery store to pick up delicious things for dinner.  i wasnt aware until this summer, but i also like accompanying my friends in happy occasions like weddings and long hikes.  i may even prefer my job title to be 'accompanist', not a 'collaborative pianist,' as the second title is very specific and somewhat restricted in my head- though the use of such term came from the misunderstanding of the word 'accompanist,' which simply came to mean 'someone you can blame for bad performances and must to exactly what the employer musician dictate, including such minor details as high or short heeled shoes and weirdly coloured shirt.'  i suppose i just like being with people and doing stuff we like. how sophisticated is that (NOT)

last year spring, i put up some silly poster for gigs.  and i do get rather specific calls- i suppose i did put them up in a music university.  most of it concerns professional musicians or music students; i do consider music students professionals anyway- if you ask them, on their credit card application, i bet at least 75% have checked 'occupation-student' option. then their occupation is student! a music student.  a professional. just on the other side (paying for training vs. paid for being trained/apt)

but once in awhile there are more unusual and interesting projects.  currently there's one that's very dear to my mind: mr. max.  max is not a professional musician. but he is a musician. he studied the double bass back in greece and at certain point, he picked up a new professional activity- he works in a science-related firm, i think.  but you see, that never stopped him from being a musician.  he listens, plays, enjoys, cares , practices and loves  double bass-tradition-diverse disciplines-electric bass- new things, i mean you name it.  it is so inspiring for me to get to know someone who is so open and alive, even at the tender young age of- well, i never asked him his age, but let's say his hair is silver coloured.

he initially contacted me to accompany him for a vivaldi sonata, so that he can record it. i wondered: how old are you, what is this for, what is your commitment and how would you like me to work with you: dictator? together? collaboratively? zero preference?  the first meeting, i was very curious. in fact, i was a bit taken aback about how little i know of this person and how different he could be, as i dont usually get to play with non-professionals.

we still meet on sunday mornings. i, in fact, missed him quite a bit while i was away in uk, as these sunday meetings are really valuable for me.  he comes, sets up his instruments and recorder, gets his score out and i, usually panting, running into the room, simply 'play.'

what's so remarkable?

well, he really cares. he records the entire session.  he listens to them through. he archives the sessions. and he gets better. this week, he really blew my socks off. it was just SO MUCH BETTER! what did you do?! you play better than most of these kids who play the bass as 'pre-professionals!!'

he simply said: well, im trying to incorporate what we work on. i went to the piano to check my intonations before i played my bass. i looked up the notes, etc...


the man spoke with such humbleness and open mind.  and what he did was a perfect practice model.  and he not only practised, but he played. every single time. he never stopped being a musician in that whole week.  he lives a quite an active life, in fact, he's playing with his greek band for a wedding next wk (so there'll be no sunday session for us, boo) and it is so clear that he is a simply a happy man.

i wonder how long we will play together and what kinds of things we'll end up doing.  i wonder what he will keep from the experience of working with me.  i wonder if he's enjoying it as much as i do.  i dont wonder about whether he'll get better. he will.

simply because he loves it.
what would be 'it?'
i think his 'thing' is 'life.'

there are many others who i love playing with.  people who i love playing with so much that i would simply be happy to be one of their accomplices.  and this man, max, is quite special. especially because he is a non-professional musician. of the best kind: the real, genuine, living and open human being.

thanks max, for brilliant sunday mornings.

i spy- no no, i love-

wee paper puppy, born this spring.

i recently broke down and converted to so called 'smart' phone. all it has done for me yet is to prove how smart 'it' is and how much i may start to depend on it...so far i only have installed a few things and am staying away from social networks and games.  the email access and free tools- metronome, tuners, GPS trackers (a great fun while on the bicycle for commute) are funtastic.  but the best thing so far is-


it's been out for awhile and i have been seeing it on other people's photos.  a few pre-sets and a portable camera. and there we are. a way to capture fleeting images of all things of life..  and luckily there has been a couple beautiful images that i like. and a few silly ones.

i wonder what people do with these smart phones. i wonder if more people take picutres, like i do.  i wonder what things capture one another imaginations and what is kept and what would be deleted. what memories it would bring and how it may be- would it be like flipping albums, where you flash back into the history, or more like a perfume, where one can start to sense it from far away, the intensity changing ever so slightly as one approaches to the core point.

i am grateful that i get to see and find all kinds of beautiful things.  i am lucky. what have you seen today that is beautiful and took your breath away?  sending many thoughts and well wishes to your way, friends.

 wee rabbit being a darling. he wonders when i will come to bed and snooze with him.
 a small piano reconstruction shop. with an open invitation to...?
 and within 5 minutes, seriously, another invitation. 
 im sure that the bench is out to lure new members.
i can only think: detention and punishment.
corner chair with the dunce hat.
 beautiful bird and a genius man = magic


monkey at your disposal

ahem... after much deliberation and tootling around, i finally come to a point where summer has ended and the new autumn, well, fall semester must begin.  and being a freelancer i am, it's always a bit tricky to find out how to 'market' oneself.  do i become serious? cheap? expensive? funny? exclusive? inclusive? there are so many ideas and so many tactics, but i have to stick to one thing i know... 

be what i am and be good at it. 

often i wonder whether i should be a bit more louder in what i do/who i talk to.  self-promotion is one of the most wealthy traits that one can be born with.  funny enough, some people do it naturally and then there are some who do exactly the opposite- put oneself slightly down.  why would that be? well, i suppose there are no repetition of colours even in the basic twelve colours crayon set.  i tend to joke about what i have done and i dont think it does any favours (in comparison to being all serious and business-oriented), yet i cant help but to laugh a bit about what i do.  yes, i do have a doctorate degree but you see, i still am very happy to move chairs and piano around the stage.  

but i am going to try one new thing this semester: to be serious and honest about the work i do. it's enjoyable to poke fun at oneself and i do quite enjoy making often brutal comments about my own affairs- certainly in canada, as we tend to be a bit more modest than, say, americans.  and this self-deprecating humour is a rather peculiar thing, as no one has the license to be more brutal than- self, yes.  

remember? only the black people can say the big N word- anyone else, even when the blacks dont mind, would be slapped on the face by some political-correctness-insanity.  i get a real kick out of calling self a banana, or even a twinkie: an eastern asian who is fully white-washed.  haha, i can imagine a few flinching at that expression.  but see, it is sarcastic yet... accurate.  it's like self-round of the comedy central's infamous 'roast' *check out this url. the youtube link is my favorite comedian (RIP) giraldo roasting joan rivers... brilliant.

i often think of my wee bro. and my granny, who is unlikely to keep on living (she is 86 this year) - we never know how it'll all turn out. life is a fragile thing and because it is so fragile, it involves some level of frivolity. luckily i work in music.  i think as life contains much humour, being a bit frivolous with self is a healthy side effect of being a musician.  i can only be who i am. only i know the best of my ability at a given point in time.  and i do hope that i bring myself further and further, as every single thing i do, it has potential to add- and to create, ignite, provoke and combust (BOOM)

but there's the silly point- a few people i know are very good at self promotion and let me tell you, it works very well for them, like a dependable amplifier. so here it is, my self-promotion.  i hope that if not gigs, it would bring a bit of laughter, even a smile.  music, being what it is, is impossible to set a objective value.  i always enjoy working with others and i can only hope they also enjoy working with me.

though ive been known to rather be demanding (in preparation, punctuality) and that there has been occasional quarrels- but it's because i care... well, if they didnt enjoy the process, i can at least say that i did give a fair shot, as much as i can.  and being myself, i cannot completely uproot the silliness- but what is life if not a frivolous ride between birth and death? if you need a pianist/harpsichordist/organist, i may just be your monkey. seriously.  do shoot me an email and i will be there. enough of advertisement- the important thing is that even if you dont need a musician, i do need friends and family. so here is my love, going outward, as i am constantly enveloped by love, flowing so easily and graciously from my dear peeps.

*now to shameless advertisement:

greetings and salutations everyone!

hope summer was smashing well and that everyone's excited about the new semester starting soon.  just thought i would send out a short hello and also let you know that my (questionable) company can be yours for a price! *insert evil laughter.

i am currently on accompanist list for the utoronto and GGS (which means GGS students can convert their accompanist budget into monkey grocery bill!) and i do throughly enjoy difficult and unwanted things, including:

reading from full-score *i play for prof. harcus' orch lit class for brass/winds, filling-in from full score

making impossible reductions to sound 'tolerable' *such as jolivet trumpet concertino; i make good cuts!

very old music *i do read figured and unfigured continuo

shifting bench to harpsichord or pipe organ *i studied these seperately for years...

repertoire for all instruments, including a-bit-awkward-ones such as viola, trumpet, bassoon...

contemp music *even when they look 'black'

and last minute fiascos *i learned martino cello sonata 1 and strauss cello sonata in a week last sem... for a recital

but i also do like normal-pianists-preferring-accompanying music, say, violin-cello-flute (okay, let's put back viola, trumpet, bassoon...) repertoire.  i would also love to do some more vocal accompanying, which i never had enough of...

it is all very silly but true. i do like playing and i do enjoy the challenges of each project (though i hope it wont be too demanding most of the time).  but it may also be of your interest that i am also available as recording engineer.  i currently work with peter olsen @ walter hall, utoronto as an assistant and i do have access to decent gear. do talk to me into recording your next application cds...

of course, i can be at your event voluntarily BUT
should you ever be in need of a keyboard monkey,
(or when you, the pianist, are running out of standard 24 hours/day)
holler up! i be glad to be involved in your- or your-associates' projects.
and after all, we only do this because we love what we do- music!
impractical, money-draining yet... oh... so... satisfying...

good luck everyone and see you around soon!
im quite inept with phone, but am good with email and texts :D