Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I'm a vegetarian and a food fanatic, and I plan my concerts like I plan my meals. I like to keep the palate unencumbered with an overdose of sauce and murky textures, preferring simple ingredients that complement each other's flavors and allow the discerning gourmand to appreciate the subtleties of each. I confess I have a sweet tooth, but even the puff pastry at the end of the program needs a twist of lemon or an accompanying rooibos tea to put the sweet and the light in context. My favorite part of every cooking show is when the chef enlightens the tasters to the raison d'être of his plat du jour. Both cooking and music need no explanation, but sometimes the right words can be the key that lets the consumer see through the eyes of the creator.
I like my ingredients locally sourced, and I work with area producers to ensure the finest quality and to prepare their food in a way that is satisfying for them. Recently I've been working with the Latin-flavored hors-d'oeuvres of Reinaldo Moya and the carefully-seasoned wild greens of Lindsey Jacob, with an added improvisatory touch for some extra spice. I am a fan of the staple grains from the American plains. I program the Piano Sonatas of Elliott Carter and Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland's Piano Fantasy as often as I can. I spent seven years in Australia refining my palate and I've imported some unusual finds that are hard to find on these shores by Roy Agnew, Richard Meale, Larry Sitsky, and others. My wife is an accomplished pianist (currently on sabbatical preparing for our soon-to-be born son), and I have concocted a few postprandial nibbles which we present as a duet team. Our most popular is "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific, although I have a few good ones from other musicals—Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady—as well as a fandango, Niña del Fuego.