While flying into Charleston, South Carolina, I realized that in bringing the mercurial ‘Rach 3′ (Rachmaninov Third Piano Concerto) to Charleston, I had done the same in 2005 for the same weekend in January to the El Paso Symphony–which, by the way, has always been a top-class orchestra. Perhaps it is karma; I should make sure to book Rach 3 the same weekend every year! I am indeed excited about this collaboration with David Stahl, music director for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. It is actually Stuart Malina, music director now of the Harrisburg Symphony (and one of my best friends of all time!) whom I need to thank. After we did the Rach 3 in Greensboro in 1998, he told me he was suggesting me to David Stahl, as he was assistant conductor in Charleston in addition to his duties in Greensboro. Finally, ten years later, we will meet later today and rehearse the Rach 3. Maestro Stahl had called me from his cell phone from Germany, where he he conducts regularly, and said, ‘I hear you play the best Rach 3, and we must do it together!’ Of course, I said many pianists deliver a beautiful Rach 3–it’s hard not to, such amazing music. I agreed on the spot. I’ll report back after the experience, which I am looking forward to immensely. I was particularly taken by the beauty of the city of Charleston. Reminds me a bit of New Orleans, due to the history, and King Street, at times, reminds me of a mix of Flensburg, Germany and the Hamptons of Long Island! Very special, with a Euro-American feel. Shops closed at night, and streets were empty, much like in Europe.

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