After the live radio show in Houston
I am sitting in front of my mac powerbook in the zen cottage of a yoga master who has gone to India for his annual winter homage. It's a windy but warm day on the island of Maui, exactly twelve hour time difference from the place I've called home for the past few years. The unexpected cold that developed on the 8 hour plane ride from Houston has turned into a numbing headache, dissuading me from more adventuresome activities. So here I am, with the ocean breeze sweeping the palm leaves and banana stalks that enclose this little haven of paradise, recollecting the events of the past week since I left Amsterdam.
It all happened so quickly that I'm still somewhat stunned. Although we had already planned on giving two house concerts in Houston since end August, the possibility of reaching a greater audience through radio didn't materialise until five days before the show. Houston Public Radio is THE classical music station in the Houston area. The one hour Front Row programme that's aired every weekday from 3 pm has regular listeners, something like 14,000 every 15 minutes. That's more than we had ever performed for. Invisible audience. No chance to gauge their reaction to our music until after the show. That's daunting.
On the day itself, we arrived one-and-a-half hour in anticipation of a pre-recording of 30 minutes of music to be used later in the live interview. While Todd, the sound engineer, adjusted our microphones, I played on the 9 foot New York Steinway and Robert on his Hilhorst guitar. Here was the real test: could the Hilhorst beat the Steinway? I had once proclaimed that the Hilhorst was the Steinway of guitars. But Robert corrected me, the Steinway was the Hilhorst of pianos.
At 2:30 pm I asked if we were going to do a pre-recording. To my surprise, I was told that the one hour programme was to be completely LIVE. In other words, live interview with live performance --- no pre-recording at all!
While I waited for the show to begin, I resisted the temptation to tell the host my own agenda and instead trusted that there would be opportunity to touch upon those subjects. What made our piano guitar duo possible: Jeroen Hilhorst's concert guitar, the composers who wrote for us, ..... and how we met. That being my first radio experience, I observed how professionally the interviewer conducted himself and how smoothly the show went.
I wasn't prepared, or rather, experienced enough, to catch the leads that weren't direct questions. Only in hindsight did I notice pauses where I could have jumped in with snippets of my own agenda. The Hilhorst story didn't get mentioned. Neither did Enron. And it wasn't quite right that the composer Gijs van Dijk wrote us a new piece unannounced, as I had affirmated. He did say he'd like to write a piece for us - and that he would. I simply didn't expect it would be so soon --- merely two weeks after he attended our "Duo for Export" house concert in Utrecht. Robert Bekkers' replies were also a bit off the mark. The Italian guitarist Giuliani didn't write TWO concertos, he wrote THREE. He wasn't "OFTEN" in Vienna but had actually made it his home for many years ---- he moved there in 1806 without his family and left in 1819.
After checking with the English composer David Harvey, I learned that our performance of his "Floating" from his Little Suite was actually the world premiere, for piano and guitar. So was the first movement from that suite "Three Parts Run Aground" which we premiered in Amsterdam. All that remained were the second movement "It Takes Two" and the last one "Russian Dance."
I was extremely glad that we managed to squeeze in excerpts from works of live composers in the short space. I could honestly say that none of the music has been heard in the USA before.
Immediately after the show, we received a call at the radio station from pianist Jimmy Mathis, whom we had met the day before. He congratulated us on a job well-done. And then the emails came flooding in.
As we drove away, we listened to the CD recording of the show. What a memorable experience it was to appear LIVE on radio. Thank you, Tom Yeager of the Songbird Sanctuary for suggesting it. Thank you, Linda Marroquin for arranging our first concerts in the USA. Thank you, Bob Stevenson, Catherine Lu, Dean Dalton, and Todd Hulslander of KUHF for making it happen. Now we're ready for our second radio show ----- in Maui.
22 December 2007
KUHF 88.7 FM airs Piano Guitar Duo