Thursday, 30 March 2017

A few more words before moving to London.

31st. March, 2017

I have mentioned my wonderful lessons with Marcel Ciampi. This great teacher also arranged accommodation for me at the Cite Universitaire. For my first year I rented a room in a large house in La Vesinet, a picturesque suburb about 30 minutes by train from Paris. I hired a piano and was able to keep it in the garage and the kind landlady arranged for a heater to be placed there. The cold was awful during the winter months and so I bought an electric blanket for the piano. This was the only way to stop the strings from breaking. I also bought a silent keyboard so at night I could do my exercises. Life was lonely and I enjoyed listening to the BBC on the radio before bed. It is amazing how just hearing another voice can give you comfort.
The following year I moved to the Cite Universitaire. This is an area in Paris near Montparnas where there is good accommodation for over 30,000 students from around the world. Most countries have their own building where students who are specialising in some advanced course are lodged. There were approximately 12 students from around the world studying piano. The University provided practice pianos, restaurants (awful food) and other facilities that made life as a student in Paris rather enjoyable.
For my first year I was placed in the Franco Britain House as Australia did not have a house on the grounds. The trouble with this was that the English kept to themselves and the French to themselves. I managed to bridge the gap and enjoyed the company of many students. But there was something missing--inspiration---could the composing be resurfacing?? So the following year I moved into the Norwegian House and this had a blend of Norwegian and French students and me. It was perfect. It was also next to the Morrocan House and it was here where I met 3 wonderful students from Marrakech.
Over time we became close. I was known as their brother and I travelled to exciting Casablanca and Marrakech with them. I met their families, enjoyed their hospitality and explored this exciting and colourful country.
And on my return to Paris I composed my first POSTCARDS FROM THE PIANO: MARRAKECH.
So the composing had resurfaced!! Not long after was my accident and then my departure for London. Before I left Paris my second Postcard was completed: PARIS. Much later in my very mature years did PARIS REMEMBERED come into being. This was a time when I always visited my dear friend Marie Driscoll from Australia who moved to Paris to live. She was a great opera singer and a most beautiful person.
Next time I will be in London with a musical score and a brave heart.

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