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Remembrance / Report of June 21st, 2020 Event on Zoom

Our Online Open Mic Classical on June 21st, 2020 was one of the most intimate events we have had. Thank you all who tuned in to play or listen to our Zoom session, asked questions, and gave feedback to our performers. Performers, and audience alike were involved, and inspired to share stories, and knowledge.

Special thank you-s go to our performers: Carl Gutowski (flute - NY), Lisa Gross (piano - Eastham, MA), Tim Lankester (bass clarinet - London), Mónika Veress Woods (clarinet - Brewster, MA) and guest performer Michael Holt (piano - Truro, MA).


We started our afternoon with a remembrance of pianist Deborah Geithner, who's presence was felt. At least three musicians at our event met thanks to her friendship, and they fondly remembered the times when they played music together. Open Mic Classical co-founder Monika Woods is showing an after concert photo of her and Deborah from the time Deborah was already receiving cancer treatments. Deborah died shortly there after, in 2014, but her memory will always live in our hearts, and minds.


An other dear friend of Deborah's, Lisa Gross, who played a Mozart 'Piano Sonata' for us, showed us more photos of Deborah, reminding us of her Christmas Concerts in her amazing living room with two Steinway pianos side by side. We also met Lisa's adorable labra-doodle-poodle Chichio, who attentively listened to our concert without a woof. He was not the only doggy at our concert. His neighbor Tosca with owner Felice Coral (WOMR host) was also present. We got at least one glimpse of his tail wagging to the rhytm of music, or despite?.


Clarinetist Tim Lankester, all the way from London, played 'Song of the Birds' by Casals on bass clarinet, in the memory of Deborah Geithner. He knew Deborah the longest, their friendship went back to the 1960s.

After Tim mentioned how the bass clarinet literature is rather small, flutist Carl Gutowski suggested him to check out bass clarinet works of an accomplished composer, son of a friend, Jonathan Russell


Clarinetist Monika Woods was asked by two of our listeners, both clarinetists themselves, that she share her transcription of the '2nd Cello Suite' by Bach.

Monika's second piece Grieg's 'Chanson de Solveig' from Peer Gynt inspired Tim Lankester. Monika appreciated his warm compliments on her tone, which reminded Tim of the British clarinetist Emma Johnson.

Now that is quite a compliment to live up to!!!


Flutist Carl Gutowski's rendition of 'Tango Etude No.3' by Piazzolla inspired Felice Coral to recommend: "For more tango, check ‘Tangos Among Friends’ (Daniel Barenboim et al) & also CDs of Argentinian music by Pablo Ziegler. / Also the Film: "The Tango Lesson". Carl talked about Piazzolla, and Bach as both great embellishers of melodies, and he demonstrated both with excerpts. We all love these teaching moments. One of our listeners typed in the chat-box "I love how we not only are listening to wonderful music, but also learning along the way!"


Michael Holt started out his feature spotlight with two early Preludes of a composer not very well known to many, Alexander Scriabin, who is said was one of the most innovative and most controversial of early modern composers. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia said of Scriabin "no composer has had more scorn heaped on him or greater love bestowed."

Tolstoy described Scriabin's music as "a sincere expression of genius."

Michael paired Scriabin with one of his own compositions, which we felt expressed his love of Scriabin, but in a way that it was absolutely original to Michael's own composition style.

After the "beautifully and poignantly sad", as Lisa described the 'Three Part Invention No. 9 in F minor' by J. S. Bach, WOMR host Felice Coral suggested "See the film ‘32 Short Films About Glenn Gould’". Tim Lankester complimented Michael by saying he played the Bach in its complete reflective style, holding back beautifully, and that's how it needs to be played. I think Tim expressed what we could all feel from Michael's performance of this piece.

We met Michael's parents, who's mom suggested Michael to end the afternoon on a high note by playing his composition 'Gypsy Waltz', and of course mother's always get it right, everyone agreed!!!!

Unlike Scriabin, who Michael informed us died from an infected pimple in 1915 at the age 44 - ("that should put our current pandemic in a perspective" chimed in Lisa), Michael's 102 (and a half) years old father, lived through two pandemics. We learned that he inspired Michael's love of classical music, but also taught him about something we should all learn to do, especially nowadays in pandemics time. To find out what, we suggest you read this great Father's Day article from the Provincetown Independent:


To everyone's surprise, and astonishment (see our faces on photo?) we learned at the end of our afternoon, that we had an artist in the audience sketching the musicians. Well the ones who didn't move too much while playing clarinet. No, not our co-founder (who says "You all know me, I can not stop dancing"), but you guessed, YES, the bass clarinetist Tim Lankester, from London, where it was dark by this time (see top photo, right top corner).

The final consensus coming in to our chat-box was: "Great afternoon ... you should continue during the summer & fall."


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