Stories About My Father

My father was a relatively well known composer and conductor during the mid 20th Century.

He died in the late 70's while I was quite young. While he was known for his role as a composer and also as a radio producer, all my life I've heard stories about his personality; how generous of spirit he was, how kind and funny, and what an amazing mentor and teacher he was. I've heard these stories from countless family members, former students and often, strangers.

Last night I received a very touching email from a man a bit older than me, whom I'd never met, and who barely knew my father. He had been deeply inspired by a brief encounter with him and his music years ago and it spurred him on to become a professional musician. The post he shared with me, written a few years ago, was about his living room recreation (as a boy near my eldest son's age) of my father's piece, "The Nazarene". It is earnest, touching, honest and gentle and it left me feeling both proud of my father, and sad my children would never know him.

Actually, it left me feeling sad because I would really never know him either. He was apparently, pretty damn amazing and I missed out on a great deal of that. Sometimes I wonder if he'd have liked me as I am today, if he'd be pleased with the work I've done. I don't know if he'd groove on improv or not. It's not permanent and I'm certainly not famous in any way. Doubtful his nature (while politically quite liberal, his upbringing was midwestern Christian) would approve of my focus on sexuality in my volunteerism. I'm not religious, or culturally conservative. I'm not a teacher. I know I've not created anything even close to his legacy, at least artistically.

But perhaps, I've been able to help people, to support them at the very least. I'm funny, like he was. I hope my generosity of spirit is somehow a thread that connects me back to him, if nothing else.

I wonder sometimes. Regardless, it's pretty wonderful knowing that someone I loved had such a great influence over so many people in such a positive way. He was a special person and I'm lucky to have people remind me of that.


  1. It makes perfect sense to me that you're the offspring of such a remarkable person.


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