I studied piano my entire childhood under Salvatore Fransosi. Prior to this concert with the BSO I had done some concerts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (Bloch, D'Indy, Hovhaness), and I arranged and conducted Jesus Christ Superstar at LaSalle Academy with David Beausejour, Donna DeMichele, Jon Caliri, Jimmy Scialdone, and Tommy Dickie under Michael Chille and Timothy Rapa.
Yet were it not for my lifelong friend Myron Romanul, I would not have played this concert with the BSO. The orchestra consisted of the regular BSO members less first chairs. I was so nervous because the pianos would be center stage. Myron decided to make me play the Saint-Saens in recital at the Conservatory prior to rehearsing with the BSO. For this, he gathered an orchestra from the student body and conducted from the piano. I took that opportunity to play the first movement of a piano concerto (Mantis) I had written; a piece I still play in my head after all these years.
At the first and only rehearsal with the BSO, Harry Ellis Dickson cued me on one of the movements where the piano leads the orchestra. His emphasis was on the upswing, not downward as I anticipated, so I missed my cue. This was very embarrassing and the rehearsal came to a grinding halt. Myron sat across from me at the other solo piano and cued me the next time with his head. That miss turned out to be my only musical glitch, and the six or so concerts that followed went off perfectly.
That wasn't the first time Myron cued me in. We had been playing together in the New England Conservatory student orchestra under Gunther Schuller; wonderful orchestral pieces by Bela Bartok. I played Celeste, Myron played piano. Between long gaps where the Celeste was absent, early on in rehearsal I would get lost. I would watch Myron instead of Schuller. Of course, Myron went on to be a famous conductor.
Myron and I played a Jazz concert at the Conservatory. I played a piece I had written in honor of pianist Errol Garner. Myron accompanied me on upright Bass. Then Myron and I changed places : he played a piano rag and I played the Bass. Everyone laughed. That was my first time playing Bass fiddle, so I made frets using chalk so I wouldn't get lost.