Friday in Penang 2/2/2007

Hi all,

A midnight greeting from Penang, Malaysia! First, let me say if anyone would prefer not to get these messages, please say so and I'll take you off the list.

A full day today; this morning met with the chair of the music department and the dean of the College of Arts at University Science Malaysia, where I'm playing my recital tonight and giving masterclasses tomorrow. Both really interesting and personable men -- the dean is a painter -- canvas and cloth -- and also uses batik as a medium. Then I had some concentrated practice time in the hall. An underpowered 7-foot Yamaha for a hall that's dripping with curtains and fully carpeted, even the STAGE!!! Something about the dancers wanting it that way, it's a multi-use space. This afternoon they brought in a bunch of wood sheets and made a small wooden stage on the carpeting, which helped quite a bit. Had to take a break from 1-3, Muslim prayer time on Fridays, not allowed to do stuff during that time (fortunately most of the shopkeepers are Chinese, so stores and restaurants stay open!) I was joined by 3 of the music faculty -- my former student Yumi, her husband Jason and another pianist on the faculty, Victor, (seems like all the music faculty are pianists, though they teach a broad range of music courses). We went to a HUGE shopping mall and had wonderful chicken and assorted Malaysian delicacies for lunch. Then, since my luggage wasn't due until sometime this evening at best, Yumi and I shopped for a few more necessities (like pantyhose for the concert tonight!) before going back for another hour of practice. Back to the hotel to rest before the concert. Still no luggage.

I dressed in my back-up outfit and went down to the lobby a couple of minutes before Yuni was due to pick me up, and there in the lobby I saw my two suitcases, just arriving through the door! Yay! So the bellhop brought them right up to my room, and in about 2 minutes I changed into my real concert clothes. Still beat Yumi to the lobby by about 30 seconds! I felt much more legitimate with my long skirt and heels, I must admit.

My recital was well attended -- a large number of high school students as well as the college and community members. Couldn't start until 8:45 PM, after evening prayers. But I don't really feel like I know what time it is anyway, so the late start wasn't too significant.

The recital went well -- my first playing of this particular program. People especially liked the Ginastera, Castillo (thanks again Paul!), and either loved or hated the Copland (didn't encounter anyone who had heard it before, I wonder if it was a Malaysian premiere after all this time!)

Afterwards a nice reception with a lot of interesting Malaysian food, beautiful orchids, and a small traditional Malaysian drum as a token of my visit. I hope I can pack it home safely!

Tomorrow morning, masterclasses at the university. Then in the afternoon, I can finally go exploring Penang as a tourist! I'm ready for some fun!

Hope all is well with everyone. More soon from Malaysia!



Last updated 12/07. Copyright 2007 by Richard C. Morenus. Questions? Send email to