My love of Bach’s music brought me to knock on Alan Curtis’ door as a freshman at UC Berkeley in 1968. (Fortunately I had never seriously considered thumb-tacking the hammers of my childhood piano!) The harpsichord room was full of unique and wonderful instruments beyond the Skowroneck historical copies, my first practice instruments, and Alan’s musical understanding inspired serious devotees on many of them. My study with Gustav Leonhardt began with his performances at UC Berkeley, his recordings, his legacy carried through Alan Curtis’ teachings and performances, and finally arriving on his doorstep. I knew that my life again would be profoundly transformed when I rang his doorbell. His kindness, knowledge, passionate devotion to artistic truth, and profound understanding of musical line and the underpinning harmony continue to inform my musical journey. Froberger, Bach, Frescobaldi, Byrd, Peter Philips, Gibbons, Sweelinck, Duphly, Louis Couperin, Rameau, Scarlatti and Forqueray were all part of that musical journey. Those pivotal moments of entry, the first at 16 years of age, inspired a career as performer (National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist and California Arts Council Touring Artist), recording artist (“It is a real pleasure to welcome an artist whose playing mirrors the freshness and vitality of Scarlatti’s fecund invention and wit. . . . infectious merriment . . . brilliant . . . ebullient . . .”, Lionel Salter in Gramophone), and ultimately anchored as Stanford’s harpsichord teacher. My recent development as a Navajo-style weaver reflects a similar love of color, detail and pattern.
As one of my students recently announced at his performance of Froberger’s “Memento Mori”, “I dedicate this to Gustav Leonhardt. Although I never studied with him, my teacher did, and I know him to be my ‘grand-teacher’, as I am part of his lineage.” My gift to Leonhardt’s memory and our lineage is today’s appreciation.