For those of you who might not have heard of George Winston, he is an American pianist who plays the piano in quite a fascinating way. He not only plays without a music sheet, he plays the strings of the piano as well as its keys. Simultaneously! In one of his songs he reaches into the piano with his left hand, playing the strings, while he plays the keys with his right hand…
And since music says more than a thousand words, here is a song that takes you right into his mesmerizing world of divine sounds. This particular song has a beautiful story that touches my heart every time I think of it. It is also the piece of music that I listened to for 4 hours in a row, on October 5th, 2011, when Steve Jobs passed away. The song is called January Stars. Here is how he describes the inspiration which led to this song:“This next song was inspired by looking at the night sky one winter. The start is about looking up and admiring the stars, like so many brilliant diamonds scattered overhead… followed by the feeling of slowly rising up into the sky, out into the wonder of infinite space, to roam and play freely amongst those same stars… it concludes with a return to the ground, filled with both the memory and the longing for where I had been…”
How do you like it? Did you travel to the stars and back?
My story of George Winston doesn’t conclude with just listening to his music over and over again. I finally got the chance to see him play live in concert in Hartford, Connecticut in December 2011. The concert was way beyond my expectations. It was an experience that is hard to put into words. As I was savoring every second of his performance, I found myself writing, pouring out feelings that now, when I look back, didn’t seem to have come from my mind. It felt like a sublime epiphany of contentment, happiness and gratitude, all rolled together. I remember asking myself: How can so much passion be contained in just one individual?
During the performance George wasn’t wearing any shoes, only his socks. His hands seemed to move faster than the beat of his heart. His piano was talking, telling us its beautiful story through George. We were all mesmerized as we watched his reality unfold. He looked like he was meditating while he was playing. His perfection was ultimate.
Right at the intermission, Matthew and I gave the man who was adjusting George’s piano a signed copy of The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom. It was for George. It was our way of expressing our gratitude for the sublime performance that we were a part of. The second half of the concert was the apogee of the evening for me. I found my inspiration growing along with the notes of Thanksgiving and felt the urge to continue writing.
When the concert ended we had the chance to meet Larry, his manager, and ultimately met George in person. I looked at him and he looked like a different person than the one who was on stage. We talked about life, music, key inspirations, the Universe and… Romania. He lit up when he heard that I’m Romanian, because one of his very talented technical assistants was also from Romania. Her name was Loredana Crisan and even if I haven’t met her I can sense that she is one of those individuals who represents Romania’s values at their best.
Almost every time I stop thinking that people know about Romania or have any connection with it, life surprises me in the most exquisite ways. Who would have ever guessed that one of America’s most inspiring piano players has his “talking piano” tuned to share its wonderful stories by a Romanian?
The night ended with stories and sounds meant to be food for thought for a long time…
To your infinite wisdom,