Monday 3/12: Vienna

A bit of a slow start this morning because I needed to wait for my luggage to arrive – it finally got here a little before 10 AM, so I could finally change clothes! (I had one change of clothes in my carry-on, but that had to be something in which I could perform, so I didn’t have much to choose from!) After squaring things away, I headed out to see a little bit of the city near my pension. It’s less than a 5 minute walk to Karlsplatz, a hub for the underground rail system and the edge of the inner ring of the city. Karlsplatz includes the Technical University on one side, a nice little park running for two or three blocks along the ringstrasse, and the grand and imposing Karlskirche, a marvelous huge Baroque church, rivaled among Vienna’s places of worship by St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I was thinking I’d go in the church for a first look around, but found that there’s a 6 Euro entrance fee (about $10) and I had only a few minutes available, so I quickly decided not to pay entry today. There’ll be a better time. I enjoyed looking at the exterior, though, and just being out on a beautiful, sunny spring morning.

Headed back to my pension to meet up with Michelle – then we took the U-bahn (underground) to Nancy Van de Vate’s residence to meet up with her and rehearse. Nancy has chosen to move into a retirement living complex – she’s in her early 70s, still totally active, she made the move in order to free herself from household duties so she can devote more time to her composing, recording, publishing, etc. She has a grand piano in her apartment, so we had a great place to practice. Then a quick lunch in the residential dining room, quite good food, and headed out for our first performance, a 3 PM recital at Haus Margareten. Our audience was mostly retired folks, very appreciative. The performance space had good acoustics; the piano bench was a 3-legged stool, which I think is a performance first for me – a little scary when I shifted to the top and bottom registers of the piano, but I didn’t tip over! Nancy’s assistant Susanna helped by speaking the German translations of our almost entirely American program. Afterwards we spent some time discussing logistics for the coming days.

Then back to our respective lodgings. Michelle needed to rehearse a modern piece she’s performing tomorrow night – with pre-recorded accompaniment – so I struck out for dinner on my own. I followed a recommendation from a Viennese guy I met in Thailand a couple of weeks ago – had the address, but didn’t know the cross-street, and I ended up walking a LONG way – 30-45 minutes worth! The food was good, though honestly not a 45-minute walk good. Still, it was an interesting place for people-watching. Returning, I was able to take bus and underground, since I knew where I was headed! I must say, though, the walk wasn’t a waste. It was already dark, so I couldn’t see everything, but I did get better situated in the city, went past several museums including the Museums Quartier, the Fine Arts Museum complex, the Volkstheater, enjoyed the wonderful architecture, and worked up a great appetite! I’m also getting the various ‘districts’ figured out (a sort of grid by which the city proper is divided, making things a little easier to find).

Not an adventure-packed day, to be sure, but a busy one. I especially enjoy spending time with Nancy Van de Vate. She’s such an interesting, intelligent woman, with such a breadth of interests, a true world traveler, a fascinating conversationalist, and very down-to-earth too. It was a bit intimidating at first to be practicing her music with Michelle, but she soon put us both at ease. I’ll be spending some time with her tomorrow, going over some of her piano pieces that I’m performing; that should be very interesting.

More to come. Tomorrow is one of our most important concerts, for the Vienna Composer’s Society (or something like that). Should be an interesting audience!

Love to all,


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