This past week my brother in law Ming Tsai made a surprise visit to SandBox. When I got word he would be arriving in a couple of hours I headed out for ingredients we might provide him with to create the magic that happens when Ming cooks. We have a magnificent kitchen that was designed by the much loved architect, Jerome Lomax. I suspect it was never put to such good use as this meal with Ming. I realized as I watched Ming creating the recipe from his imagination, inspired by what he had to work with, that it is very much like the process of curating musical programs in SandBox. It's all a balance of flavors, textures and colors. The common thread throughout is that the real pleasure culminates in the sharing in community around the table or in SandBox. Ming travels the world cooking just as we musicians travel the world performing. We savor the food and we savor the arts. I don't believe we could live without either.
We are so fortunate in Monterey County with the freshest food. I walked down the pier to the Monterey Fish Market to find local Halibut, sword fish and rock cod. What a treasure exists in that store! The vegetables were all locally grown and fresh. With the bounty from nature and the cultural bounty that exists in our region not to mention the natural beauty that abounds, we are truly blessed to cal this region home.
On Sunday July 9, the sell out crowd at SandBox was witness to the brilliant young, gifted Romanian pianist, Alina Bercu. Mark Mancina made not only Alina's appearance at SandBox possible but was also the one to make the introduction The program displayed the versatility in Alina's technique and interpretation of the many styles on display. The program took us on a journey that began with a stunning performance, masterfully revealing the contrapuntal complexities of J.S.Bach's Italian Concerto. This was followed by two Chopin Nocturnes Opus 29 which the triggered a collective sigh from all who were present. With only one rehearsal under our belts, I joined Alina and violinist Jenny Cho in a performance of the Trio Elegiaque in g minor by Rachmaninov. The spontaneity of the brief encounter made for an exciting palate cleanser to set the scene for the main course which was Modest Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The audience was on their feet and as members of the audience left one could see awe, smiles, contentment and and even tears in their eyes.