Photo: Courtesy of Brian Ach, Copyright 2007

On November 1st, David Foster celebrated his birthday in New York City with his friends, family, and Andrea Bocelli and his lovely family. The Ziegfeld Theater provided the setting for the Great Performances special of Andrea Bocelli in Tuscany, which David Horn produced and David Foster worked behind the scenes and on stage. His own music is featured and is unique that it blends Italian aria with Rachmaninoff -like musical imagery. David has always respected the great composers and opera, which provides him with the ability to transform these genres into his own wonderful individual style.

I met David through a fax. Through a channel of people starting with my friend, Keith Emerson, it was Keith’s suggestion that I send my pop music to David somehow. It was like Glinda telling Dorothy to find the Wizard of Oz to get home. Through Atlantic Records, I found my way to David’s then personal assistant, who told me to fax my ’stuff’ to their office. At the time, my web site featured my 1997 audio/video recital online. A few days passed, and my answering machine had this unbelievable message which David left, something like, “Hey man, if that’s you playing, call me”. I did, and several months went by and I visited David in Malibu and played my music for him, he coached me, and listened to me play Chopin’s ‘Ballade no. 1′. I have tremendous respect for David as a pop music composer, arranger, producer and in general, he is perhaps ‘the’ most generous man on the planet. He gives his time to as many people as he can humanly do, and has a foundation that raises millions of dollars to help families with children needing organ transplants.

David decided to throw himself a birthday bash in NYC just after the Ziegfeld show, to celebrate his birthday and to celebrate the collaboration with the great tenor, Andrea Bocelli. To listen to Mr. Bocelli in the concert-documentary, reveals his great gifts. He has an enormous range, in register and sound. He builds songs like architectural creations, taking you from the start and leaving you in a wonderful place each time. My wife and I met with him and he is warm, and kind. His aura is stellar, and you feel like you are with someone who cares about everything and everyone he comes in contact with. David’s girlfriend, Yolanda, joined David for the celebration. She is elegant, charming, and reveres David in a warm and beautiful way.

To celebrate David’s birthday, he asked some his friends to perform (on the spot!), which was spontaneous, and brought out the best performances we could offer. I chose Chopin’s best known ‘Polonaise in A-flat Major’, perhaps the safest piece for me to play considering David invited the top record executives on the planet who were sitting 10 feet away! They are the best in the biz and were as approachable as anyone I could imagine. The great songwriter, Neil Sedaka, sang and played a delicious medley of the songs we grew up on. Neil was also a pupil of Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School in the 1950s, and I also studied with the great Adele Marcus from 1979-85. We share a special connection, and we talked about Ms. Marcus during the party. There were other marvelous performers, and then David accompanied Andrea which was a magical event. To be within 25 feet of this voice is a special experience indeed. Happy Birthday, David Foster!

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