Monday, December 15, 2008

My buddy in Bordeaux

The Internet is really making the world smaller every day. I mean, look at that time in the Ellicott Square Building when that nice gentleman walked up to me and knew that I had had my braces adjusted that morning. (I prefer to say "adjusted," not "tightened." It feels better.) He had read it on my blog. That was a funny feeling!

Today my cell phone rang and it was a concert pianist from Paris named Ivan Ilic. That is Ivan Ilic pictured above.

This is how my book and my blog have changed my life. I see this European number on my cell phone screen and I think: It could be anybody! Now that I am the authorized biographer of Leonard Pennario everyone wants to know me. Dignum et justum est, as they say at Mass. That means, "It is right and just." It is always a little awkward to talk to someone who has been reading your blog. Your brain cannot quite figure out if the person is a friend or a stranger or what. But I enjoyed our conversation.

Here is a picture of Ivan Ilic's Debussy CD that he sent me a few weeks ago, to my great delight. Good thing he did not send a copy to Susan Banks! OK, I will stop now. I said enough about that yesterday.

Hmmm. Looking at that CD gets me thinking that our new friend Mr. Ilic looks a little like our old friend Stephen Hough, the pianist who was reading the blog last week or whenever. Remember Stephen Hough?

There are other things too that are interesting about Mr. Ilic. One is that he puts his birthdate on Facebook as Aug. 11, 1911. He is looking good for his age! That is what someone wrote on his wall on Facebook. Needless to say I asked Ivan Ilic if he would be my friend on Facebook. You do not get a call from a concert pianist and not ask that. And he said yes! That will show a certain few people in Buffalo who are hemming and hawing about whether or not to be my friend and you know who you are.

Mr. Ilic has a dandy Web site you can check out here. He is coming to Toronto on his next tour. He will be performing on Feb. 17 and 19 at the Glenn Gould Studio. I can't wait until there is a Leonard Pennario Studio too. Perhaps we can locate it in Big Blue! We have room. That is for sure.

One more thing: Mr. Ilic let me talk a lot about Leonard Pennario, and I mean a lot. Over the ocean! He was calling from Bordeaux, where he was practicing Godowsky transcriptions of Chopin etudes. We were laughing about however big and difficult something was, Godowsky would figure out a way to make it bigger and more difficult. In case you are new to classical music, trust me, you will love Leopold Godowsky. You can learn about this unusual super-virtuoso here.

Normally Ivan Ilic is based in Paris. It is no wonder he called Buffalo. Both cities are known as the City of Light.

OK, Buffalo is actually the City of Light Beer.

But we do not mind if a word is lost in translation.

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