We lost Leonard Pennario lastnight. He died at midnight, as I understand it.
I have been calling the papers because I am acting as spokesman with the consent of Leonard's brother. If anyone needs to get a hold of me for info on Leonard, my cell is 716-816-6279. Howard is also on call, if for some reason I don't pick up. His number is 716-833-6111.
I didn't feel free to say this earlier, but the reason I flew out here yesterday on the spur of the moment was that I had spoken with Leonard on the phone and got the idea that he was going fast. I wanted to see him one more time before he died. When I got to his bedside (after that long and awful fight with horrible Hertz rental car) he was on oxygen and mostly unconscious, but I got the idea he knew I was there. So I stayed there. When I left lastnight I leaned down and kissed him and cuddled him. The beautiful old man. I am going to miss him so much.
I will always remember meeting him in Buffalo last fall, how courtly he was, how romantic -- this man who had made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at 19, who shared the stage at Carnegie Hall with Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. Spending last winter with him in California was like stepping into a movie. I thought that many times, while I was there with him. They do not make pianists any more like Leonard Pennario. There will never be another one.
I am comforted in that I was able to read him so much of my book over the past few months, and that he said he loved what I was writing. Everyone who read what I wrote about that on the blog was so supportive, too, and I am so grateful.
Well, there is a lot of work to do, so now I have to get a grip and do it!