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My Sort-of Love Affair with Classical Music

My first ever interlude with classical music dates back to the late 80′s.  Some Eastern European philharmonic was visiting Kuala Lumpur and my aunt was generous enough to give my parents and me three tickets to attend.  We wouldn’t have been able to afford those tickets back then. It was a school night and I wasn’t much of a night owl, so all I remember of that concert was falling back and forth between semi-consciousness and full-out sleeping.  Nonetheless, the bits that I did catch I enjoyed.  That was also around the time that my father purchased a Yamaha piano for me as a birthday present.  Again, not something we could easily afford back then so my father had to take out a loan to buy it but I remember him carrying me down the stairs to the living room, telling me to keep my eyes closed for a big surprise.  I remember being shocked and excited by the huge gesture.

Unfortunately, I was a huge brat when it came to the piano for the next few years.  I never practiced beyond the bare minimum to pass my exams, my piano teacher complained endlessly that I never practiced, and I would often conveniently “forget” about rescheduled piano classes.  I hated memorizing chords, memorizing strange Italian words that I promptly ignored when playing the pieces I was supposed to be practicing, and pretty much anything to do with the piano.  I didn’t understand why it was so important that I learned to play the darn thing.  My father would often talk about how he wished he’d had the chance to learn how to play growing up, but there was no way that his father could have afforded the lessons for my Dad, let alone the equipment.  Like I said, I was a brat, and these stories didn’t impress me.  Seriously, adult me wants to go back to the past and smack younger brat me.

Fast forward to today, I long to be able to play the piano the way that some of my peers who did keep up with their lessons have over the years.  If we ever have room for it, my next big ticket retail indulgence will be a piano that I can tap away with whenever the desire arises.  The next best thing to being able to play the piano is listening to it being played, live.  One of the biggest things I’ve been looking forward to with our move to NYC has been the chance to frequent performances at the Lincoln Center, especially concerts by the New York Philharmonic.  My brother-in-law has generously given us a number of tickets for performances this season and nothing makes me feel more adult than dressing up for an evening performance at the Lincoln Center.  We went to our first performance this year and it was more fun than I remember from previous visits.  Perhaps because this time I’m not there as just a visitor, but as someone who now lives in NYC.

The pieces from that evening (we attended on Oct. 6th @ 7:30pm):

Bach, Berg and Brahms
J.S. Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor
Berg: Violin Concerto
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

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