"In 1957, at fifteen, I saw the movie The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell. The use of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto (music which I knew well) in this romantic comedy mysteriously prompted my decision to become a musician. (The photo, below, is of Rachmaninov and his daughter.) It was a commitment seriously made. Buddy and Mom approved heartily and we looked for a suitable piano teacher. I auditioned for Mr. Robert Riotte. I could not read music very quickly anymore, since I had forsaken piano lessons when we moved to Montclair, but I had continued improvising and providing accompaniments for home quartet-singing made up of myself, my father, Uncle Jim, and Willy (“Shine on Harvest Moon” .......etc.) Mr. Riotte was not impressed by my by-ear impromptu renderings of themes from the works of the romantic masters. He judged that I had no talent for music and no chance for success. Anger and discouragement fueled my determination.

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082Rachmaninoff