Alexandra Fol

Quotations by some Very Brilliant People
gathered for eternity by Alexandra Fol

“See, in tonal music we always have a tonic. Sometimes you just don’t get it.” – Martin Amlin in theory class.

“I mean, it’s true when you think of it!” – Martin Amlin after I reminded him of the above statement two years later.

“You are obviously doing a great job, but I can’t, because I have nothing to say.” – Martin Amlin, refusing me a Trustee Scholarship recommendation.

“But I DON’T want to calm down. I WANT to be EXCITED!” – Martin Amlin, after the entire fugue class opposed him about a countersubject and after my remark: “Oh, Sir, please, do calm down, think of your blood pressure!”

“I have nothing to say!” – shocked Martin Amlin when I was telling him how angry I am with Richard Cornell, who should buy me an ice cream.

“I was always so brilliant and you just didn’t understand it!” – upset Martin Amlin after my comments on the quality of his theory class.

“Well, I have some secrets which you don’t know yet” – Martin Amlin responding to my exclamation: “Sir, you are not as rigid as I thought!”

“NO!” – John Goodman on my question: “Can you exaplain this a little bit more?” in our counterpoint class.

“Can you add one more measure?” – John Goodman, pointing at the middle of my invention, after I have re-written it for the n-th time.

“I have no idea!” – John Goodman in same class.

“Well, this is obviously not great, ah, it sounds good, actually!” – John Goodman about his examples on the blackboard in same class.

“Who knows, you may become the most famous Bulgarian song-writer!” – John Goodman, trying to encourage me to write vocal music.

Me: “Sir, I always wanted to admit you something. I, um, never listened to your directions and just improvised this invention on the piano a year ago… I am sorry. I actually liked your class, and…” John Goodman (happily): “Oh, I know, I know. Don’t worry about it!” Me: “You know? But How??” John Goodman: “Hm, er, um, well, you see, um, you cannot write in g and modulate to g sharp so easily as you, hm, er… went there. Very pianistic, see.” Me (sudden realization): “But you wrote me an A!” John Goodman (modestly): “No problem. Don’t worry about it!” – John Goodman being a gentleman.

John Goodman: “Can I ask you a very profound question?” Me: “Does it require thinking?” John Goodman: “Hm, well, may be” – John Goodman and I discussing the age of composers on an ALEA III concert.

“Quotation book? Oh, that’s great! You know, X claims that when I was about 20 I said that I would…” – John Goodman on his youth.

“Oh, I see, I see.” – Marjorie Merryman, hearing me talk about Richard Cornell.

“A-ha!” – Marjorie Merryman, hearing me talk about Julian Wachner.

“Well, he must be right.” – Marjorie Merryman when I told her that Richard Cornell considers her a greater wizard than himself.

“Oh, I know!” – Eric Sawyer on my question: “Do you know that Richard Cornell is the Greatest Man Alive?”

“Oh, I am a genius!” – Leonid, offended when I called him “talented”.

“I want it fast and loud for that noone hears when I play a wrong note” – Leonid, giving me his requirements about my Violin concerto, November 2000.

“But what did you do?!? NOONE could hear me! I could even not hear myself!” – upset Leonid after the performance, February 2001. Me (startled): “But you said….” “This was back then!” – Leonid showing good memory.

“Women are inferior to men, but smarter” – Leonid, about his experience with women.

“I think I start liking this piece” – Leonid about his song, two days after he declared it mediocre.

“I am a lot more complex, than you think” – Leonid, about himself.

“I am not blond!” – Leonid, denying the obvious.

“Do I look good? I mean really?” – Leonid’s most frequent question before a concert.

“Did I do something wrong?” – Leonid’s reaction if I stop praising him every fifteen minutes.

“Well, I mean, you know it, it’s obvious, you know what I mean, so what’s the point of me saying it?” – Leonid on my request to tell me how great I am.

Me: “Listen, I cannot be both entertaining AND melodramatic at the same time. This are two exclusive images which…” Leonid: “Well, ok, you know better. I mean, I am neither of those things.” – Leonid commenting on his character.

Me (happily): “Leonid, Leonid! I just found out that my legs are more then 2/3rds of my body!” Leonid: “Oh, yeah? Well, that doesn’t matter. I am more interested in the upper part, you know!” Me (jaw dropped): “!!!!!!” Leonid (apologetically): “Well, you know. I mean you know what I mean. Everybody has his preferences. Or her preferences. I am more into the upper part. You know… the upper part…” Me (utterly shocked): “Leonid! I have never heard you talking so dirty before!” Leonid: “Actually, I am very well behaved. Your, hm, upper part is, hm, impressive… yes, impressive…, I mean… you know what I mean. You mean I can still surprise you?” – Leonid flirting.

Me: “It was a pleasure seeing you tonight, Leonid!” Leonid: “Definitely!” (SICSICSIC!) (Pause) Me: “HA-HA-HA-HA!” Leonid (sudden realization): “Listen, that’s not what I meant!” – Leonid Iogansen’s eternal joke.

“I am very tactful” – sais Leonid.

“She was ugly, you know.” – Leonid, making a tactful statement.

Leonid: “Wasn’t I just amazing? I played so well!” Me: “Yes, yes, you are great.” Leonid: “Ha-ha-ha! This was SOOO fake!” Me (surrending): “Dear Leonid, you are so talented, fascinating, wonderful, splendid, amazing, artistic, wondrous…” Leonid: “Ok, stop, stop. This was also fake. Show some enthusiasm!” – Leonid asking me to be enthusiastic after two years of constant repetition of the same dialogue.

Three o’clock in the morning. Telephone rings. Me (sleepily trying to find my way around the room): “Hello?” Leonid: “ALEXANDRA, QUICKLY TELL ME WHAT IS THE RANGE OF THE ENGLISH HORN! MY HOMEWORK FOR ANTONIOU IS DUE IN 6 HOURS!” Me: “What… oh… er… sure… written range or concert pitch?” Leonid: “WHATEVER, I DON’T CARE, JUST TELL ME NOW!” Me: “From e to a sharp, but you can push it up to h in critical situations.” Leonid: “Thanks, bye.” – self-explanatory conversation.

Five minutes later. Telephone rings. I pick up immediately: “Hello, Leonid!” Leonid: “WHICH OCTAVE?????? YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THE OCTAVE!” Me: “E from the small octave, a sharp from the second.” Leonid: “Thanks. Oh… did I wake you up?” Me (%@#$#@): “Actually, I have been awake for about 10 minutes or so.” Leonid: “Oh, all right then. (!!!) I guess I will see you tomorrow?” Me: “Sure. Good night!:” Leonid: “Yeah, right. I mean… You too!” – yet another of those warm undergraduate memories to go back to.

Me: “How much did Antoniou give you for the semester?” Leonid: “A minus.” Me: “Do you know what this means?” Leonid (laughing): “Yeah, I basically failed.” Me: “By the way, what is the range of the English horn?” Leonid: “Oh, come on!!”

Me: “Why don’t you talk intelligently during the day?” Leonid: “Because then I am too busy with making pseudo-philosophical statements…” Leonid and I at about 3:30 am.

Me (hopeless): “Remember once I asked you why don’t you talk intelligently during the day?” Leonid: “Because I spend the day thinking and talk at night” – Leonid revealing why he blabbers nonsense at lunchtime.

Me: “Leonid, will you please play in my Requiem?” Leonid: “Have you started it yet?” Me: “No.” Leonid: “I might be busy that day. (WHOA!!) But you don’t take no as an answer anyways right?” Me: “RIGHT! Please?” Leonid: “Sure! Remind me the day before the rehearsal, Ok!” (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SICSICSIC!)

Me: (beginning of Requiem rehearsals). “Leonid, I apologize in advance – you are going to receive several frantic e-mails…” Leonid: “Oh, I am used to those.” Me (silenced): “…” Leonid: “But why are you concerned anyways?!?”

Me (the month of his Violin Concerto rehearsals) “Leonid, please, calm down! Everything will be just fine!” Leonid, acknowledging his past misconceptions: “Alexandra, NOW I understand how you felt when we did Requiem. I was like: Why is she freaking out even more?!” 

 “It is about vibrato, you know. You have to FEEL the music. Why do you always write one-two-three one-two-three one-two and senza vibrato?” Me: “What about the piano? And the wind instruments? I mean, the vibrato is a technique, which…” “AAAAAAAARGH!” – Leonid, failing to convince me in the qualities of vibrato.

Leonid: “My piano quintet sooo good. I mean SO GOOD! It is by FAR better then my Violin concerto. It goes like that… one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two…” – Leonid and the overpowering style of slashes and triangles.

“Food is always a good idea!” – Leonid revealing why he allows me to take him to lunch.

“Art MUST be beautiful. Short e-mails are work of art.” – Leonid defining beauty.

“Dear Alexandra. Yes. Yours: Leonid.” – a work of art by Leonid. 

“This was not right! I was supposed to ask her about HER telephone number, not SHE to ask ME for MY number! This is the duty of the MAN!” – Leonid Iogansen on dating protocol.

“I will NOT write sevenths! They are ugly and rude. Octaves are musical!” – Leonid in the year 2000.

Leonid advising me about my Second Viola Concerto orchestration: “You could use Klangfarbenmelodie right here. It will sound so cool!” Me: “But Leonid, last year you said that klangfarbenmelodie is ugly!” Leonid: “This is because I did not know what this meant! I always say it is bad when I don’t know what it means!” – Leonid about his first-hand reactions.

“Well, Ok, may be I said that, but it doesn’t matter. MY sevenths ARE musical, because music depends on context!” Me: “So what is the context of your Violin Concerto?” Leonid: “SEVENTHS!!!” Conversation with Leonid in March 2002.

Me: “Why do you have only magazines with naked women in stores?” Leonid: “Because you can find everything else in the library!”

“I remember exactly… when was October?” Leonid talking profoundly at midnight on Commonwealth Avenue.

Me (patiently): “Leonid, I have told you a number of times that I cannot distinguish words well. If you whisper, I am just not going to hear, period!” Leonid: “Oh, I know. I wasn’t actually saying anything, just pretending. If people think we are engaged in a private conversation, they won’t sit with us!” – one of Leonid’s Weird Tactics on How To Keep Your Privacy While Dining.

Leonid (about a girl): “I liked her.” Me: “God, Leonid! How could you like someone whose sentences consist solely of the word “er”?” Leonid: “This is exactly why. It makes her easier to deal with.” – Leonid and I in Star Market.

Leonid: “I don’t know what I said tonight, but don’t put it in your book, alright?” – Leonid worried about his stay in history.

Me: “I am so amazing – beautiful, talented, smart, intelligent…” Leonid: “Well, your qualities are nothing compared to MINE!” – Leonid shutting me up.

Leonid (singing): “La-la-laaaa, la-la-laaa…” Me: “You know what, my father sais: “Stick to what you are good at…”” Leonid: “Oh! Ha-ha… oh. Was this a hint?” – Leonid asking a rhetorical question.

Me: “Do you know what my graduate award at Eastman requires? Teaching orchestration!” Leonid (confidently): “I am not taking that class!” – Leonid making multiple suggestions.

Leonid about musicians: “We are all a little strange… now is this going into your quotation book? Something like “Leonid reluctantly admitting”…?” – no comments necessary.

Me: “So who is going to entertain you when I graduate?” Leonid: “Yeah, good question. I will have to entertain myself, I guess.” Me: HA-HA-HAA-HAAAAAA!” Leonid: “Oh, please stop!” Me: “HAA-HAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAA!” Leonid: “Ok, I can get a hint, alright?” – mature Leonid and I discussing the upcoming future.

Me: “Please, excuse me, Leonid. I am tired and don’t really pay attention to what you are saying.” Leonid (merrily): “No problem. I am not paying attention on what I am talking either.” – Leonid’s good social training put in practice.

Leonid (determined): “I want to find a girlfriend.”. Me (matter of factly): “You can just continue to masturbate.” Leonid (wisely): “True, but I had been doing it for too long now!” – Leonid’s reasons to find a girlfriend.

Leonid: ”I have a new Analytical techniques teacher.. Anal Techniques, rather.” Me: “HA-HA-HA!” Leonid: “But it’s true…” – Leonid making a picturesque description.

Me: “So… do you like him (the new teacher)” Leonid: “I don’t know. He hadn’t returned our first assignments yet, if you know what I mean” – Leonid’s reasons regarding liking a teacher.

“So does everything I say go into your quotation book?” – Leonid being curious about his new claim of fame. Me: “Yes!” Leonid: “Gooooooood! So people will know how wonderful I was?” Me: “Hm. Well, you haven’t seen the collection yet.” Leonid (gazing with utter shock): “!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – me being nasty.

Leonid: “We may not perform the entire piece.” Me: “Why so?” Leonid: “Well, it is a difficult piece, you know!” Me: “But don’t you claim that you are the greatest…” Leonid (interrupting): “I CLAIM!” (pause) Me (triumphant): “Leonid, this goes into my quotation book!” Leonid: “Oh, NO, DON’T quote me on this one! Hm, well, why the hell not?” – Leonid and I on self-advertisement.

Me: “Leonid, I am so proud! I have 333,67 in my savings account!” Leonid (practical): “That’s not bad! This is like, 3 months of eating!” – Leonid on the purpose of a savings account.

Leonid: “When you were here I wasn’t showing off, because it would have been Alexandra’s style, not mine. Now that you are gone I can do it. Some people don’t like it.” – Leonid on image.

Leonid: “My ballet has 2 acts and a glorious apotheosis.” Me: “WHOAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAAAA!!!!!” Leonid: “… I am not sure yet where to put it!” (SIIIIIIIIIIIIC!) – Leonid on ballet structure.

Leonid: “I am not quiet!” Me: “Well, I am sorry to say this, Leonid, but I really think you just are a quiet, nice and kind guy!” “Well, I pity you, because I can be really obnoxious!” Me: “HAAAAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAA!!!!!!” Leonid: “Ok, ok…” Me: “So you mean for 2 and a half years you never showed me your real self and you were always quier and polite?” Leonid: “Well, I always try to be polite in your presence!” Me: “Oh, I am honoured! But why? I am not polite!” Leonid: “Exactly this is why I was overdoing it!” – Leonid on his behaviour.

“You know, bureacracy is a very strong force” – Leonid on why he didn’t get a scholarship yet.

“I don’t compete with anybody!” – Leonid failing to be honest.

“Some people can simply not resist me!” – composer Etienne van Rensburg about himself.

“Actually, people become addicted to me.” – van Rensburg making a more specific statement.

“She is completely crazy now. When we were married it was only partially” – van Rensburg about his former wife.

“I will send you one of my most recent masterpieces.” – same Etienne van Rensburg about his music.

Me (about a recording): “What about the other pieces?” “To be honest… they were by some lesser composers!” – Etienne van Rensburg making a subtle reference to his talent.

“Food IS always a good idea, especially when I cook it” – Etienne van Rensburg, correcting Leonid Iogansen.

“I am devastatingly handsome!” – Etienne van Rensburg about his appearance.

“Handsome? I never said anything about handsome!” – same person from a different perspective and with worsened memory.

“No, it is not DIFFICULT, it is just a little bit COMPLICATED!” – my wonderful friend Etienne van Rensburg doing my taxes.

Me: “You don’t have any entries in my book for the last 6 months!” “I will have to speed it up then!” – Etienne van Rensburg concerned about his contributions to humanity.

“Darling, I never cheat!” – Etienne van Rensburg blatanly lying.

Vibrato is a very suitable word to use with a sexually frustrated person. Just kidding. Well, actually, I am not.” – Etienne van Rensburg on masturbation.

Me: “When I am famous and rich I will make all my friends happy!” “Well, why do you think I am marrying you?” – Etienne van Rensburg on prenuptual agreements.

Etienne: “There are these fake mature people who are very elaborated on the surface and very primitive on the bottom.”. Me: “But aren’t we ultimately all primitive on the bottom?” “Well yes, but you can be primitive in a mature way” – Etienne van Rensburg on maturity.

Me: ”Ok, so why won’t you bring me the wedding ring to the wedding?” “I am doing things in installments now” – Etienne van Rensburg on wedding expenses.

Etienne van Rensburg: “We can put both diamonds on your ring” Me (outraged): “Scagen, I have some taste left!” Etienne: “Well, they won’t be karbonkels or anything!” – my future husband on taste.

“That’s how you are supposed to feel when you have such a brillinat teacher!” – Julian Wachner, when taking me to lunch in a Japanese restaurant, on my remark that in his presence I get an inferiority complex.

“Why wait ‘till the last minute?” – Julian Wachner contradicting his practical life philosophy.

“Do you know Alexandra Fol? She is crazy!” – Julian Wachner talking to my friend in Tanglewood.

“This is my brilliant composition, organ and conducting student, Alexandra Fol. She is a crazy Bulgarian” – equally crazy Julian Wachner, confirming his opinion about me to the Back Bay choral singers.

“No, what people will say is: Who is Alexandra Fol? Ah, the student of Julian Wachner! I will be as great as Schoenberg and you can be my Berg, you know. He also wrote only one good piece and it is a Violin concerto” – Julian Wachner on my remark that if he continues writing popular semi-tonal crap with constant lydian inflections, he will enter history only as the teacher of the genius decadent innovator Alexandra Fol.

“Oh, just shut up!” – Julian Wachner on my amazed question: “How can something be worse than your orchestra piece?!???”

“You know, guys, Alexandra is like the kid from “Indiana Jones 2”, repeating “it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault!” – Julian Wachner giving examples with the movies of his early childhood.

“I see your English had improved a lot” – Julian Wachner hearing me swearing.

“I have to go play the bondage hymn now” – Julian Wachner about the musical qualities of the Greetings hymn.

“I am being artistic” – Julian Wachner playing rubato on the most difficult Bach passage.

“And you must be Alexandra Fol?” – Richard Cornell on the historical meeting between two of the WGC (World’s Greatest Composers).

“Yeeeees, I will be your teacher…” – same Wednesday, Richard Cornell embracing his destiny.

“Yeah, I guess so. Can we count again?” – Richard Cornell on my question whether my transfer credits will allow me to graduate.

“I will do you a miracle” – Richard Cornell, in Fall 2000, when BU computers didn’t supply me with “Sibelius”.

“Perhaps my wizardy is declining with age?” – same Richard Cornell one year later, fighting to learn my Violin concerto.

“12 years younger than your father? So I still have a chance?” – hopeful Richard Cornell, after me responding to the previous remark. [note: actually the proper number is 14]

“Perhaps you could write some moooore…” – Richard Cornell, eager to see continuation of Violin concerto.

“Just don’t write so much!” – Richard Cornell, one year later.

“So I got this sore throat and went to bed. When I woke up I was fine and I realized that it had been from the counting: one-two-three, one-two-three, one-two!” – Richard Cornell, explaing the effects of my piece on his physique.

“I actually conducted this piece…” – authograph of happy Richard Cornell on the score of Violin concerto after its premiere.

“That’s gorgeous! Almost academic!” – Richard Cornell about the ending of my song, finally revealing his criteria. Me: “HAAAAA-HAAAAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Richard Cornell: “I actually didn’t MEAN what you think I did mean, but I meant the opposite of what I meant!” … silence… Me: “HAAA-HAAA-HAAAA!” Richard Cornell: “Wow! I am so funny today!”

“They pay me for that, it’s just my job” – Richard Cornell and Julian Wachner separately, on my astonishing admiration of their pedagogical vocation.

“Yeah, you are right” – same people independantly, when I expressed my disbeliefe in their materialistic subconciousness.

“Oh, if I eat on your account, I’ll get at least a steak!” – Richard Cornell about his diet.

“So what? I am paying?!?” – Richard Cornell after my explanations about restaurant protocol.

“I’ll get you the best teacher in School!” “Is this you?” “OF COURSE!” – Richard Cornell looking for the most appropriate supervisor for my Independent Study in Analytical Techniques.

“I like this a lot. (I smile gorgeously) Hey, hey, hey, now just don’t become too proud of yourself” – Richard Cornell knowing I cannot go any further…

“Ok, Prof. Sheveloff would say… Just DON’T TELL THIS TO PROF. SHEVELOFF!” – Richard Cornell explaining me Schenkerian analysis.

“You know, my Symphony is actually an excellent piece! But I shouldn’t be saying that.” – Richard Cornell carefully adopting my healthy self-confidence.

“Oh, it’s a great piece!” – Richard Cornell when first telling me about his “Blanco” symphony.

“It IS easy, when you are as brilliant as I am!” – Richard Cornell on the complexity level of Rahn’s textbook.

“I don’t understand it either!” – Richard Cornell on the same book, same lesson!!

“I thought I understood this!” – perplexed Richard Cornell on VTICS.

“I wrote the song for the Pi Kappa Lambda. Music AND text! And it is EXQUISITLY harmonized if I may say so!” – Richard Cornell politely formulating his opinion about his work.

“I should start writing my signs in cyrillic” – annoyed Richard Cornell on GREEK (SICSIC!) students’ interventions!!

“Of course NOT!” – Richard Cornell on my question: “So do you wear a tie because of your faculty meeting?”

“I know you. You are Alexandra Fol, a famous composer…” – Richard Cornell after two years of having the misery to teach me…

Me: “Are you interested in conducting my Second Violin Concerto?” Richard Cornell: “I am not sure…” – impecabbly behaving Richard Cornell becoming more cautious with experience.

Richard Cornell: “Look, it is easy! It sais: “Start – select P”… P? What is P?!?” – Richard Cornell trying to explain to me his teacher’s book!

“Oh, please, stop laughing…” – startled Richard Cornell after I started laughing uncontrollably (see above).

“I actually did read it! I am not really sure I understood anything…” “Yeah, this one was a toughy” – Robert Morris on the same book

Robert Morris: “What is P? It is easy, you know, people assume P is a number, but actually…” – and this is all I understood about P…

Me: “What do you think about the performance?” Richard Cornell: “It was a little… clinical!” – Richard Cornell applying medical terminology to music.

Someone: “How are you?” Prof. Cornell: “Fine.” Me (when we are alone again, startled): “You lied?!?!!” Richard Cornell: “OF COURSE!”

Me: “But we HAVE to meet for an extra lesson! I wrote something GORGEOUS! Really GREAT!” Richard Cornell (laughing): “You always say that!” Me: “Forget about then! THIS time it is MUCH better!” Richard Cornell (laughing even more): “I have heard that before!” Me: “But I MEAN it, REALLY, it is WONDERFUL!” Cornell: “Alexandra, you say this every time…” – my enthusiasm reflecting on my memory.

“Ok, now careful. Don’t get all excited, all right? (silence…)… It is good. Very good indeed!” – Richard Cornell achnowledging the qualities of Viola Concerto No. 2. Me: “YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Richard Cornell (surrendering): “I thought so…”

Me (stunned): “You brought me coffee?” Richard Cornell (modestly): “Well, I thought it might be rude if I am sipping my coffee and you watch me. After all, you didn’t go to sleep this night.” Me (even more stunned): “How do you know?” Cornell: “Well, you e-mailed me at five in the morning!” – the beginning of the Coffee Tradition. (Note from the authour: I never realized that he himself was awake that night)

Me (happily): “How was your day?” Richard Cornell: “Bad. Let’s go to coffee?” Me: “Sure” Pause. “I think it is your turn?” – Richard Cornell exemplifying good memory.

“Alexandra, please! You don’t need to get upset over e-mails. I get stupid e-mails all the time. I even got one about penis enlargement!” – Richard Cornell trying to comfort me after the three anonymous e-mails.

“Oh, I also got one of those! They frequently send them! It seems that somebody somewhere in the world needs a penis enlargement!” – Robert Morris while reading the above quotation.

Me: “Sir, I did the graph.” “Well?” “It was insultingly easy!” “OH!!! It better be a damn good graph then!” – Richard Cornell and I about Schenkerian analysis homework.

E-mails from Richard Cornell: “Greetings. I am sending you a couple of Csound files so you can play around with them.” A couple of minutes later, another e-mail: “Of course it will be easier if I actually attached said files… RC” – Richard Cornell doing e-mail after 6 pm.

Me: “How COULD YOU not write a piece for Collage!!! David Hoose wanted a piece! Why didn’t you write them a piece? How COULD you!” Richard Cornell: “Hey, hey, wait a minute, you don’t know the whole truth! I have only said that I will write a piece for Collage at some point…” Me (tranquilled): “So you didn’t lie to them?” Cornell: “No. I said “at some point”… Me: “Oh….” – Richard Cornell about the usage of the English language.

One year later. I am calling from Eastman and saying: “You go first, Sir, before I launch into a half an hour monologue!” “Alexandra, I am really writing a piece for Collage now! And I have another one. It is due in March.” Me: “Have you started?” … silence… “Well… I have a tone row…” Me: “I see.” Cornell: “How is your film commission?” Me: “It is due in mid-February” “Have you started?” Me: “Well… hm…. No!” “So we are in the same boat?” “I guess” – conversation among pressured composers.

Richard Cornell: “We are having huge budget cuts this year. Several people will have to go.” “ What about X (former teacher of mine)” Richard Cornell: “I am not firering her…” Me: “WHAT? You hare going to keep her? Are you sane? But you know she cannot teach!!!!!” Cornell (tenderly): “Dear Alexandra, let me finish please… I am not firering her… it is just that her contract will not be renewed at the end of this year…” … silence… Me: “Pardon…? Her contract… OH!!!! I GET IT!!! I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU…” Richard Cornell: (content): “He-he-he. I knew you would.” Me: “I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!” – Richard Cornell and I on faculty filtering.

Me: “Can I send your quotations to my orchestra?” Richard Cornell: “You may send ONLY THE ONES WHICH MAKE ME LOOK GOOD! NOT THE OTHERS!!!! YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!” – worried Richard Cornell about his image.

“I am not the greatest man alive. HE IS!” – Richard Cornell about Robert Morris.

“I am not the greatest man alive. HE IS!” – Robert Morris about Richard Cornell!

“Every moment I was thinking – there is no way we can get through the next five measures” – double bass player Ira Gold, after premiere of Violin concerto.

“Don’t worry – on the concert we’ll count!” – anonymous violin player, who comforted me after the disastrous dress rehearsal.

“See – we counted!” – same violin player, after the performance.

“I cannot improvise.” – Scott Jarrett, minute before improvising a 6 minute Prelude.

“See, we have to be serious. Very serious! This is not Alexandra Fol’s show off fun hour!” – Scott Jarrett about my role in Marsh Chapel.

“Did you hear her Postlude, guys? The West Side Story quotations, Bulgarian rhythms and Bartok harmonies? Wasn’t that cool?” – same Scott Jarrett, after my successful brainwashing.

“Yes…. Yes… OH, YES!!!” – Scott Jarrett on my question: “Now, do you know my aritificial smile, which I give to people whom I don’t like, but don’t want them to know that?”

“I am SO SMART!” – Scott Jarrett about his intellectual capacities.

“Shut UP!!!” – Scott Jarrett, hearing me singing.

“It is originally purple! Not like your laundry” – Scott Jarrett on my question: “Sir, is your short originally purple, or secondarily purple?” 

“This is called the fake New England smile. You have to grin.” – Scott Jarrett on my question: “Why did you mimic at her?”

“You think I am boring, but I am not” – Josh Slater. Me: “Wow! How do you know?!?” “I know. You are too polite. This is not normal.” Josh Slater and I exchanging compliments.

“I was raised like a proper gentleman. I just don’t behave like this.” – Josh Slater on his upbringing.

“This is Dr. Fol. She is a genius.” – Josh Slater introducing me to his New York friends.

“Really! Great! I have never seen one before!” (SIIIIIIIC!) – response to the introduction.

“This is our organist Alexandra Fol. She is Bulgarian. This means she can drink anybody here under the table” – Josh Slater creating mythology.

“This is Such a stupid story!” – Wade Newhouse, English professor, about Poe’s “Marie Roget”.

“Oh, guys, I will get fired!” – Wade Newhouse, after talking about John Silber.

“I will give you the topic for the paper, because otherwise some of you will assault me in the break” – Wade Newhouse.

“The paper is due Wednesday, but is not late until Thursday, you get my point?” – Wade Newhouse demonstrating of how to follow University rules.

“I know myself – now I’ll start giving stupid movie examples and we’ll not get anything done!” – Wade Newhouse self-criticising his pedagogical tactic.

“Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, wait, I got a GREAT idea!” – Wade Newhouse in a moment of divine inspiration.

“And noone knew that, until a brilliant scientist, this is me…” – Joel Sheveloff about his professional qualities.

“The best orchestration is mine” – Joel Sheveloff explaining about Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances”.

“David Hoose is the only one who can conduct with his hair” – Joel Sheveloff about David Hoose’s technique.

“David Hoose is the only conductor I know to receive an orgasm while conducting” – a fellow student from Sheveloff’s class having coffee with me after the lecture.

“I brought everybody here… every famous composer. Everybody! I was leading the Best Forums Ever!” – Theodore Antoniou on his management skills.

“I was SO EXPERIEMENTAL! Yes. Very emperimental. I also conducted good.” – Theodore Antoniou being modest.

“Oh, I was WILD at your age. WILD! You guys are nothing compared to me!” – Theodore Antoniou about his adolescence.

“You should be more modest, you know” – Theodore Antoniou, after giving me his inspirering example of humility.

Requiem? Well yes, it shows you are talented. But this is not it… Too wild, you know (WHOA!!! SICSICSIC!)…. Violin Concerto? I remember this. It is a good piece. Yes, it is a good piece.” – Theodore Antoniou manages to shock me twice in ONE day!

“I don’t fail anybody. It is not nice. And why should I? I have a tenure and the highest pay.” – Theodore Antoniou missing to say that his lowest grade is an A minus!

Me (gossiping about a concert): “The first half was good. The second was a bad imitation of Carter.” Theodore Antoniou: “Aha. By?” – Theodore Antoniou trusting my good judgement.

Theodore Antoniou: “Where will you be next semester?” Me: “Eastman.” Prof. Antoniou: “With him (Perkins)?!?” Me: “Yes.” Prof. Antoniou (laughing silently): “Ouch…..” – Prof. Antoniou pitying the Eastman School.

Me (seriously): “Sir, could you please authorise me to release your quotations after my death?” Theodore Antoniou: “After your death, or after mine?” Me: “After mine” Theodore Antoniou: “Oh, then yes” … pause… “Actually, it doesn’t matter either way, because I will be dead, right?” … silence… “So do you really think I am such a funny guy?” – image is important even after a certain age.

“I listened to your performance. It was horrible!” – James David Christie, after writing me a recommendation commenting on my “brilliant organ playing”.

“I never said your Bach was horrible!” – James David Christie worrying about his image of a polite teacher.

“Drive’em nuts, girl!” – James David Christie encouraging me for the Concerto-Aria competition finals.

I am happy for you. Yes. Very happy. This is the best place. I had a Divine Revelation that you’ll do great in Eastman” – James David Christie about his conversations with God.

“Oh, PLEASE! Don’t sing like a solfege idiot!” – James David Christie complimenting my vocal capacities.

“Please, stop improvising!” – same Prof. Chritie after hearing something, which was supposed to be a Bach Chorale…

“Yes, I look sad! Heavens, you just showed that you can play, if you only make a little effort!” – James David Christie after my innocent remark: “Oh, God, Sir, you look so sad!”

“Don’t worry about him. He is an asshole” – James David Chritie describing someone.

“Look at your registration! This is not Stravinski! Organ is obviously not your call. You think as a composer. Every normal person would think this like laaaa-laaaa-laaaa, nice and smooth. And You are doing it like pling-pling-pling, tra-la-la!” Me: “Ha-ha-ha!” James David Christie: “What did I say? I only said that every normal person….” Me: “HA-HA-HA-HA!” Prof. Christie: “Heavenly father… I just said that… OH!!! I get it!” Me (crying from laughter): “HAAAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!” James David: “My God, you are quite a character!”

Prof. Christie (introducing me to one of his doctoral students): “This is Alexandra Fol. She is a genius composer. Come on, Alexandra, tell her you are a genius!” Me: “Er….” Prof. Christie: “Come on, come on, aren’t you?” Me: “Ahhh…. Er….….!!!” Prof. Christie: “But it’s true!” Me: “Well, yes, I know (SIC!), I just prefer someone else to say it! It just doesn’t sound right otherwise!” Prof. Christie (to his student): “She is, she is just being modest!” Me (appaled by this total misrepresentation of my character): “But SIR!” Prof. Christie: “Shhh! Learn to take a compliment, will you?” – Prof. Christie and I in one of our usual conversations.

Me: “Sir, I am a fragile teenager!” Prof. Christie: “HA-HA-HA-HA! Yeah, right!” – Prof. Christie’s opinion of me.

James David Christie: “C’mon, that’s SOUP! That’s not even bad Vierne!” – James David Christie about my rubato.

 “Sorry… I am changing my mind all the time. Like in menopause, you know…” – James David Christie about his views.

James David Christie: “You know, I actually don’t take students so easily. I called some of your teachers to ask what kind of person you are…” Me (horrified): “You did WHAT?” James David (winking): “They said you are all right.” – me being recommended.

Me: “Sir, you will not get rid of me so easily…” Prof. Christie: “Don’t think so highly of yourself.” One year later. Me (whining): “This is our last lesson? I will never see you again! This is so sad!” Prof. Christie: “I don’t think so. As far as I know you, I will never get rid of you. You are like a bad penny.”

James David Christie (farewell phone call): “I will miss you so much when you go to Eastman… remember to call, all right?” Me (nastily): “Soo… aren’t you happy to finally get rid of me?” “Shut up! I am kind of fond of you…” – sentimental good-bye…

Prof. Christie: “Nancy did come (to your recital). She was hailing about it today. Gerald didn’t come, but he wrote you an A, which is all that matters” – James David Christie about priorities.

Eastman School of Music audition day in February 2002. I finish playing my Bach. David Higgs: “This was really very, very good!” Me: “Oh…” David Higgs: “Interesting registration…! But why the tremulant in the full organ?” Me (suddenly excited): “Oh, this is James David Christie’s idea.” David Higgs (inviting intonation): “Oh, reeeeeally?” Me: “Yes, he sais he always put the tremulant whenever he can, because he loves the wa-wa sound.” David Higgs (dangerous spying intonation, which I haven’t heard to recognize yet): “This is so interesting! James Christie has interesting ideas…”

Later in the day. Telephone rings: Me: “Hello?” James David Christie (gossipy intonation): “How did it go?” Me: “Interview or audition?” James Christie: “Both.” Me: “I was really nervous. Robert Morris asked me for 20th century composers and I knew so many names that I was at a loss of words. I had no clue who is considered worth mentioning” James Christie: “YOU AT A LOSS OF WORDS? HAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAAA, THIS IS HILARIOUS!!!! HAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAA!!” – James David Christie’s imagination failure…;-)

Same conversation. Me: “I played really well at the audition. Really well. Probably my best organ shot in the performance field for the last year.” James Christie (happy): “Good, good!” Me (nasty sweet intonation): “David Higgs asked why did I put the tremulant in the fugue.” …(silence) James Christie (hoarsely): “You did what?” Me (even more innocently, high-pitched idiotic voice): “I said that you said that you really like the wa-wa sound and always put the tremulant in every piece” ………………. James Christie (shocked): “WHAAAAAAAT??? You did WHAT? This was supposed to be private information!!!! You told David that? Now everybody (SICSICSICSIC!) is going to put tremulants in Bach (SICSICSIC!!) Oh, my God! Students can bring you to the guillotine sometime…!” Me (sweetly): “Well, I just took an example from my favourite organ teacher…” James Christie: “The hell with my example! (pause. Curiously:) “So… did David like it with the tremulant?” – heated discussion about performance practice.

 “One good thing about you, Alexandra, is that at the end, after all you do fix things…” – Prof. Christie on my practice.

Me (opening the door): “Good morning, please, do excuse me for interrupting, I…” Robert Morris: “Ahhh, you are Alexandra Fol!” Me (forgetting the good manners my mommy taught me): “HOW DO YOU KNOW?” “Oh, I have my ways!” – Robert Morris being mysterious (Note from the authour: Robert Morris never admitted how he knew who I was)

A couple of hours later. Waiting for the elevator. Me: “Is it true that you are the greatest man alive?” Robert Morris: “I don’t know. Nobody had asked me that before!” – Robert Morris on his greatness.

Later in the day. Office of admissions. Robert Morris: “This lady is a prospective graduate student and she would like to know about her interview time.” Secretary of The Office (wisely): “We do not know them. They are handled by the chairman of the department!” Robert Morris (icy voice): “I  a-m     t-h-e      c-h-a-i-r-m-a-n       o-f     t-h-e d-e-p-a-r-t-m-e-n-t.” – here I will gracefully restrain from making comments.

One year later. IML recruiting table with Mrs. Scatterday and a Veguely Familiar Female. Me: “Mrs. Scatterday, would you, please, introduce me to your colleague?” Vaguely Familiar Female: “Oh, I do remember you. We met once… I am from Admissions, remember?” (awkward silence) “So, I see your interview went well?” – intelligent observation by an Admissions officer.

Me: “So you would really teach me? Really? Do you have a good blood pressure?” “My blood pressure is fine, thank you. Don’t be concerned” – Robert Morris in September 2002.

Me: “I HAVE THIS WONDERFUL IDEA, WORLD IS SO BEAUTIFUL……etc.” “Calm down, you are going to give me a heart attack!” – Robert Morris, January 2003.

Me: “Where do you put the date in an American letter?” Robert Morris: “In a formal letter, yes” (!!!!!!)

Robert Morris: “So what did you think of the concert, except that you didn’t like my piece?” Me (stunned): “…… (long pause, hesitantly)…. Why do you think I didn’t like your piece?” Robert Morris (happily): “I have figured out your taste by now” – Robert Morris politely pointing out my assumed transperancy of taste and flatness of criteria…;-)

Me (slyly): “Remember when you said how surprised you were that my orchestration of the Second Viola Concerto is better than you thought?” “I actually said pleased!” – (SICSIC!) Robert Morris observing my orchestrational capacities, a couple of months after giving me an assistanship in orchestration!

Robert Morris’ greeting: “So your string quartet is your first atonal piece?” Me (amazed): “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT???????” “Oh, I read it on the web!” – Robert Morris researching my dark past.

“Definitely NOT pretty. Eccentric, but enjoyable” – Robert Morris on “Cinderella”

“Knowing what you think of musicologists, you should probably do a DMA” – career advice from Robert Morris!!!!

“Harvard? They don’t have a performance degree. You would… hmmmm…. Actually, I like the idea of Harvard. You should mingle with people as smart as yourself. You will have to take a lot of musicology classes!” – Robert Morris exposing a threatening vision of the future…!

Me (suspiciously): “Why are you smiling like that?” “Yale doesn’t offer a doctorate…” – Robert Morris souring my breakfast.

Really, I am actually pretty organized, just not that organized” – Robert Morris looking for his article.

“Actually, I found it! It was right there on the shelf, you know!” – one week later, same topic.

“Really? Afraid of me? Am I so scary?” – Robert Morris curiously inquiring about his image.

Me (excited): “So you are British? I never knew that!!” “I am just born there. I mention it to scare people. Otherwise I am all-American!” – Robert Morris on his cultural heritage.

“… the resulting graphs will become too cumbesome for humans to use… however there is a more elegant solution” – Robert Morris instructing humans, Integral, vol. 7, 1995.

“This is the legend for example 12a. The letter U designates the uninteresting sonorities” – Robert Morris being an objective theoretician.

 “In this case, uninteresting sonorities and contours (for instance, whole-tone scales) are not permitted.” – Robert Morris subtly specifying Who and How Sets the Rules.

“Alexandra, trust me about powerful English expresions, all right? You need shorter sentences!” – Robert Morris correcting what is my 4th language.

“With more experience with tonal canon systems, we could develop the ability to perform musical parlor tricks to astound our colleagues, such as deftly transforming the enigma canon in example 19a into its solution…” – Robert Morris using a powerful English short sentence...

Me (adoringly): “I LOOOOOVED your article!!” Robert Morris (somberly): “The one you made fun of, you mean?” Me (outraged): “Hey, wait I am not the funny one here. You were funny!” Robert Morris (generously): “I guess it’s Ok, I expected somebody to notice!” – Robert Morris on his subtlety.

Me: “But listen, do you really need to specify the uninteresting sonorities? I mean, your article assumes readers with a certain level of intelligence.” Robert Morris: “Oh yes, but not taste (SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!): Robert Morris on the universal validity of his views.

Robert Morris on my Ballet: “You should add some more notes here in the flute to make it sound more abrupt. Trrrrrm! Like add a b natural-c sharp-d sharp to the F. Me (nastily): “So you are recommending an uninteresting sonority?” Robert Morris: “Right. WAIT!! Wait! It is uninteresting as a sonority, but not as an effect. Here you will just use it as a scale…” – Robert Morris on the difference between effects and sonorities.

Next lesson. Robert Morris reads my opera. “A whole-tone scale? Change it! You know that I don’t like whole-tone scales!” – Robert Morris’s revised opinion on scales.

Robert Morris: “You should add more thirds in your spacing.” Next lesson. Me (happily): “Everything, you see here, Sir, has a lot of thirds!” Robert Morris: “Oh, good, you are so compliant!” Less than five minutes later. Robert Morris (desperately heartbraking): “But… but… But what did you DO??” – Robert Morris sees my thirds.

Robert Morris (hesitantly) “Your opera has some nice little….. surprises” Me: “HAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAA!!!!!!1” Robert Morris: “Ok….. ok….” Me: HAAAAAAA-HAAAAAAA-HAAAAAA!!!!!” Robert Morris: “Ok, so now I have a new entry in your report book” – Robert Morris’s insight into my sense of humour.

Me: “I don’t like that book at all!” Robert Morris: “You should probably not say this around here. His spirit is still around. (…..pause……) I don’t like it either” – Robert Morris and I discussing certain literature.

Robert Morris: “Stop worrying that you won’t appear talented.” Me: “I have never said that I am talented.” Robert Morris: “Oh, that’s right, you say you are a genius!” Me: “WHEN HAVE I SAID THAT?” Robert Morris: “Oh, you say it every day!” – Robert Morris’ understanding of context.

Me: “I have no clue what this means. Can you say it with simple words?” Robert Morris: “Simple words, ok… Ok, here are the two mathematical approaches to interval equasions. This one is traditional. And this one… is good.” (!!!!!!!!) Robert Morris on math in music.

Me: “Which article would you recommend? It must be an EASY one” Robert Morris: (silence……………………..silence…………) “Hm, well, he wrote one on 19th century harmony… You can start there…” – Robert Morris’ opinion of my stage of development.

“You are enthusiastic. This is so cute!” – Robert Morris’ misconception of me.

Robert Morris reading my opera libretto: “Beethoven sold his soul to the devil for the 3rd, 5th and 9th Symphonies. Sold his soul…. Hm…. Symphonies… hm….” Silence. ……… Silence. “So this makes the 7th one Ok?” – Robert Morris’s concern about the divinity of the 7th.

Me: “I heard how you were improvising. I liked it. How many pitches does this scale actually need?” Robert Morris: “Only 6, but the tuning must be slightly different. Slightly. So, it is not like this sounded like a complete travesty” – Robert Morris on his improvisations.

Me: “I received your e-mail. What time did you actually go to sleep?” Robert Morris: “Oh, yes, this was 3 o’clock e-mail. People think that college professors have a normal life, go to bed at 8 and wake up at 8, and none of this is true. The only normal thing about me is that I don’t have a normal life.” – Robert Morris’s vision on normality.

Me: “Everything you see here, Sir, is my own propaganda.” “I figured that much out!” – Robert Morris and I discussing the Meaning of Music.

“I don’t care what you quote me for!” – Robert Morris, 13th II 2003.

“I am going to tell you something – so that you can put it in your book, all right?” – Robert Morris, 17. II 2003, right before saying: “Your opera is quilt, but not postmodern.” – or Why I Love Robert Morris.

Me: “I will change it, don’t worry, otherwise you will write me an F or something” “Oh, stop that shitty crap, please!” – Robert Morris on grading.

Me: “Then she (the musicology student) said that when I die she will write an article on me!!!! Can you imagine that?” Robert Morris: “I would reply to the musicologist well, when YOU die, NOBODY is going to write an article on YOU!” – or Why Robert Morris Is Not A Widely Popular Composer.

Me: “So you don’t find the idea of internet sex appealing?” Robert Morris: “Of course it is appealing!” – the one time in history of composition lessons that I was silenced with nothing intelligent to say.

Hallway conversation. Me: “I had such a great party yesterday. It was from the “Ice-cream ‘till you die!” – type. “Apparently you did not have enough!” – Robert Morris’ being observant.

Me: “Ok, first you reproach me for NOT bringing you coffee and I am embarrassed. Then you are angry because I DO bring you coffee. Can you exaplain?” “Robert Morris (briefly): “Never bring me coffee again!” Me (idiotic answer): “Sooooo…. Should I just drink the two of these here?” Robert Morris (matter-of-factly): “Well, since you brought it, I will have it” – the difference between a Firm Principle and a Profitable Situation

Robert Morris: “Come on, I know you are smart. Very smart, actually!” Me: “Aha”. A couple of minutes later. Robert Morris looking at my piece. “This is really stupid.” Me: “Why?” Robert Morris: “I don’t know, it just is! Change it!” Me: “How?” Robert Morris: “I don’t know, make it less bad!” – precice Robert Morris on the connection between intelligence and talent.

Me: “Satan is passionate.” Robert Morris: “Nono, he is the one in control. When she starts complaining with “But you said” he may just say…………… (silence. Stony face)…. “On the contrary!” Me: “HAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” Robert Morris. “No really, he will be really calm and just say…” Me: “HAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” – the difference between British and Bulgarian sense of humour.

Robert Morris: “Hegel had this idea that we are constantly developing. Regardless of how bad we get, we are making constant progress towards God. Imagine that!” Me: “HAAAAAA-HAAAAAAA-HAAAAAAA!” Robert Morris: “Wait, wait what is so funny?” Me: “Haaaa-haaaa!” Robert Morris: “Oh, the constant progress part? Yeah, it is actually funny!” – Robert Morris and I discussing ways to approach God.

Two hours later. Me: “And thank you, hi-hi-hi, professor Morris, hi-hi-hi for the entertaining… HAAA-HAAAA-HAAA!” Robert Morris: “What was entertaining? Oh, yes, the progress. Yes, we are developing!” – Subtle irony.

Post-concert lunch time at spots. Carrie: “You said earlier you were late because you were surprised?” Me: “Yes” Carrie: “By what?” Me: “I got this e-mail by Robert Morris. He is angry with me and I don’t really understand why. So I was trying to reply without showing I am surprised.” Rachel Young (interrupting without really having heard anything): “You were surprised by an e-mail from Robert Morris!! Wow! You are lucky!” Arthur: “Wow, a personal e-mail from Robert Morris?” Rachel: “I would keep that one forever!” Arthur: “And frame it! And show it to my friends! Actually, he sent me an e-mail when he accepted me in Eastman. I started dancing in the shower and then…” etc. Later. Walking home. Carrie: “I hope I am not really stupid, but you wouldn’t frame that one e-mail by Robert Morris and show it to your friends, would you?” Me: “Grrrrrr!!!!” Carrie: “Ok… Just checking… making sure!” – the eternity of e-mails.

“You were completely off the beat. But it doesn’t matter. It says subito piano. Use this to your advantage!” – Brad Lubman instructing the “Cinderella” players!

Me: “Is this an F sharp major song?” Daniel Pesca: “If anything, it is an f sharp minor song” Me (stupid silence). A couple of hours later. Eastman commons. Daniel Pesca says: “I have to talk to you. I realize why you were expecting an F sharp major. This is the B-G sharp-C sharp in the bass and there are many a sharps.” – Daniel Pesca on tonality.

Daniel Pesca: “Not only you. I am also scared of Robert Morris” Me: “Really?” – Daniel: “Hell, yeah!” – exemplification of different types of religious awe…

Me: “HAAA-HAAA-HAAA! My God, this piece is SO FUNNY!” “If you like slapstick humour…” – Daniel Pesca about my septet!

“This opera looks more like hell than like Purgatory!” – Daniel Pesca on my opera.

Me: “Do you want me to be better behaved in your presence?” Daniel Pesca: “Oh no! Nonono! No!”

Abby Aresty: “Alexandra, hm, hmmmm…. I meant to ask you something, hmmm, hmm.” Me: “Uh-huh?” Abby: “So how are your lessons going?” Me: “Very entertaining, why!” Abby: “So…. Hmm… how does Robert Morris let you get away with, hm, hm?” Me: “Huh?” “…with who you are?” Me: “WHOA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!” Abby: “I wish I could laugh like that!” – Abby Aresty on character features.

“I have very interesting lessons. David Liptak and I smile at each other. Then we say: “See you next week!” – Jonathan Graybill on his composition lessons.

Jonathan Graybill: “What a concert! I was bored out of my mind!” “I wasn’t. I took a nap! Was it any good?” – Ethan Borshansky and Jonathan Graybill on Samuel Adler’s concert.

Me: “What was that f*** up sappy background music?” Cody: “But Alexandra! Some people do write f*** up sappy music. They went to Julliard!” – Cody Coyne on the Julliard School.

“I am glad the 7th is not in there, because it is my favourite” – Arthur Williford echoes Robert Morris.

“I will be very vague” - Arthur Williford blatantly lying. 

Gina: “Arthur, can you do my homework?” Arthur: “Ok. Just how obvious do you want to be that I harmonized it?” – Arthur on complexity levels.

Me: “Arthur, you entered my Book of Eternal Quotations!” Arthur: “Oh, my God!” – fear of the unknown.

“I know what you are going to ask me! Don’t! No, it is not finished!” – Arthur Williford on his quartet.

Ethan Borshansky: “I would like to compose for non-Western ensembles. But again, after I write something for tac-a-bowl and a Japanese flute, I will probably decide to stick to Violin and Piano!” Me: “What means “tac-a-bowl?” Ethan: “Do you see this cereal bowl? It sounds different when you take some cereal out!” – Ethan Borshansky on his compositional projects.

“You need three pieces for the sophomore review. David Liptak says this is definitely one. So I have two more left. This means I can be done in about an hour!” – Ethan Borshansky on the sophomore review.

"Nobody really keeps track of sound. I have pictured of my ancestors from the 1920’s or so - but I wish I could hear like a soundwave of my grandparents" - Ethan Borshansky on family heritage.

Ethan Borshansky (LOOKING AT MY DESERT): “HAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAA!!!!!” Me: “?????????????” Ethan: “HAAAA-HAAAAAA-HAAAAAA!!!” Me (utterly perplexed): “But what is so funny????” – Ethan: “ The angle of the bowl makes it look as though it is just whipped cream and a cone! HAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAA!!!!” Me (amazed): “I have some pie in it too!” Ethan: “WHOAAAAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAA!!!! You have pie in it???? HA-HA-HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” – Ethan’s opinion of pie. (??)

Ethan: “I would want to live there. But it would be impossible. Everybody would be fighting for a rectangular room!” – Ethan Borshansky on rooms in the Eastman School of Music Dormitory.

Winnie: “So, Allen, are we going to raise money with the IMS admission?” – Winnie’s vision of fundraising.

Me: “Cody, can you entertain yourself alone for five minutes? I need to go pick up a pen.” Cody: “No problem. I will look at Ethan’s bycicle!” (!!!!!!!!!) – Cody’s idea of entertainment.

Cody: “Wouldn’t it be cool if Robert Morris knew my name? I mean, I go to every symposium!” Me: “Why don’t you introduce yourself?” Cody: “Are you freaking nuts? Oh, wait, of course you are, you are a composer.” – Cody Coyne on composers.

Cody:I will copyright everything I say and you will have to pay me!” – Cody Coyne on my “Book of Eternal Quotations”!

Cody: “I very much liked this Vierne piece. It sounded like Prokofieff meeting Danny Elfman.” – Cody Coyne on Vierne.

David Higgs in an e-mail: “HI! Thanks for your call. Prokofiev and Danny Elfman.

”yes........mmmmmm...” – David Higgs commenting on Cody Coyne.

Cody: “The good thing about your mish-mash desert is that you always have the element of discovery” – Cody about my mountain-like ice-cream-pie-cone-whipped-cream-cake-and-sprinkels desert.

Adam Roberts: “Alexandra, Alexandra! I think I know who’s going to get the job!” Me: “I hope you are wrong!” Adam: “No, it’s not what you think!” Me: “No? But why do you care anyways?” Adam Roberts: “I actually don’t care, since I will be graduating and you will have to stay, so I can be amused!” – Adam Roberts on the prospective future.

“So how do people enter your quotation book? I have been trying to make subtle jokes, but you laugh at the weirdest places!” – Lewis Wong, finally making his claim to fame!

“The good thing about a Mozart opera is that it has an introductory measure. So if the singer forgets to come in, you keep on wamping the accompaniment!” – Gretchen Wheelock analyses Mozart operas.

“This trio is as regular as apple pie. Or, as a Wiener-Schniezel, to be more precice!” – Gretchen Wheelock on the Jupiter Symphony Trio.

“You need a little bit more sexy sound here” – David Higgs about performance practice.

“That’s still not sexy enough” – David Higgs insisting on more 4-foots.

“We need lesbians in this department.” – David Higgs in a departmental meeting!!

“This was healthy food. I am still hungry!” – David Higgs after a Swedish dinner.

Me (the next day): “Did you get to eat later?” “NO!!!! There was nothing!! Did you find some real food?” “I think I am losing my good European taste. I ate ice cream and chocolate!” “There you go! Have something left for me?” – David Higgs and I about our gourmant preferences.

Me: “Ok. Gossip first, or Toccata first?” David Higgs (deep inner conviction): “Gossip.”

Me (sexual connotation-wise): “Hm, well, I guess I can just show up naked. But again, for you it wouldn’t matter either way!” David Higgs (laughing out loud): “Ha-ha-ha, RIGHT!” –discussion on different ways of capturing the audience.

“I heard the ringing. I am sorry that I didn’t pick up the phone, but I was shaving for the party!” – David Higgs’ reasons never ever pick up the receiver.

Adrian Daly (hearing my play the recorder): “This sounds nice!” Me (hysterical): HAAAA-HAAAAAAA-HAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!” David Higgs: “What? What did he say?” Adrian Daly (politely): “I just said it sound nice!” Me: “Sir, I have been playing since yesterday. Were you sarcastic?” Adrian Daly: “Nono, I meant it. I like music.” – Adrian Daly’s reasons to like my recorder playing.

Chris Petit: “Are you straight or gay?” Me: “I don’t know yet.” Chris: “So you are keeping your options open?” Me: “Always. You?” “Straight. This is why I am single!” – Christ Petit and I on dating options in the Eastman School of Music.

Chris Lane: “What did David (Higgs) and you talked about for so long?” Me: “We discussed lesbianism.” “But you are straight!!!!!!????” Me: “Well, still, I am a good person to chat with, you know!” – Chris Lane and I on the extensive length of my lessons.

Me (embarrassed): “Please, don’t kick me out of here, I promise I will stop singing!” Chris Lane: “We will kick you out not for singing itself, but for singing solfege!!!” – I have no clue what this meant, but it was really funny!

Group of organists gossiping. Me: “James David Christy is the second-greatest man alive!” Chris Lane: “And who is the greatest?” Me: “Richard Cornell. He is the most wonderful, amazing, spendid, persistent, dedicated, talented, selfless…” Somebody from the group (interrupting): “Ok, ok! We get the idea…” – on how (not) to expose your views on people…

“You don’t wanna be the seventh lesson of my day….” – David Higgs on scheduling.

“So we will be at 12:30 just this time. Can you do that?” Me: “Knowing your way of keeping track of time I should be free until like, let’s say… 3?” “Make it 4, to play safe” – David Higgs on his timing.

“So you got the idea of the clavichord? You have to treat it seductively” – David Higgs on keyboard technique.

David Higgs: “I want to make you a great organist” Me: “Er… sure!” – Two Great Minds Shaping the Future of Performance…

“I wish somebody could look at my butt when I play! JUST KIDDING!!!” – David Higgs about appearance and art.

David Higgs: “HA-HA-HA-HA! You know, in America you can sue me for sexual harassment for this (the above-written remark).” Me: “What??” David Higgs: “Yeah, if the teacher sais anything which can be remotely connected with sex. Well, Ok, here, I was talking about myself, but if I was to mention your butt… oooops…!” Me: “HAAA-HAAAA-HAAA!” “So you get the idea, don’t you!” – David Higgs and I about crazy Americans.

“Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! This is so cool! Just play it faster. If we were Stokovski, we would have added the horns here, you know! Ta-ra-ram! Taaa-ra-ta-ra-ta-ra-ta-ra-raaaaaam…. He was a smart man. Also an organist, actually!” – David Higgs on orchestration.

“I am sorry I am late. I had a lot of work to do yesterday night. Then I just turned off the alarm!” – David Higgs on his sleeping timetable.

David Higgs (gossipy intonation): “Oh, by the way, Bob Morris told me about nominating you for the Sproull Fellowship for a future doctorate.” Me (practically): “Will it pay my tuition?” David Higgs: “There is… money attached to it, yes!” – David Higgs on the essence of fellowships.

Me: “Can you give me a hug, please?” David Higgs: “Do you want a kiss too?” – Valentine’s day conversation.

David Higgs: “Have you heard of Nicolaus Bruhns?” Me: “No.” David Higgs: “It doesn’t matter. His Praeludium has double pedal, so you will like it!” – David Higgs assuming the level of my criteria. :-D

Me (happily): “Professor Higgs, Professor Higgs! I just learned my Mystery piece!!!” David Higgs (curiously): “Really? What is it?” Me: “Well, it is supposed to be secret, so I won’t tell you!” David Higgs: “Well, you don’t have to Not tell me…” – David Higgs quoting the Department handout.

Me: “If I play the “Alain” fugue on my jury it will be way over 40 minutes. What to do?” David Higgs: “Remember this slow movement by Vierne?” Me: “No. How does it go?” David Higgs “I don’t remember either. But it was short!” – David Higgs and I selecting jury recital repertoire.

Me: “I just cannot get this piece up to tempo!” David Higgs: “It is easy. You play it fast with a metronome from beginning to end.” – practice advice from David Higgs.

Lesson the following week. Me (happily and diligently playing): “I practiced with a metronome, see, see?” David Higgs (mildly sarcastic): “Oh, I see, I see… mind putting some music back in there? … You can play the second theme a touch slower…” – David Higgs teaching music. 

David Higgs on Bach’s Passacaglia and fugue in c minor: “In sometimes play it in major. Move over! (plays) Such a great half dimished chord! It sounds so innocent – like a child!” – David Higgs’ vision on innocence.

David Higgs (entering studio class): “We are changing the improvisation concert – is everybody Ok if it is on the reading day?” (moment of awkward silence) “C’mon, will anybody here be actually reading on Reading day?” – David Higgs’ opinion of our study habits.

Studio class: David Higgs: “Blah, blah, blah” Students: “Ha-ha-ha!” David Higgs: “Blah, blah, blah” Students: “Ha-ha-ha!” David Higgs: “Alexandra, don’t put this in print!” – David Higgs becoming more careful with experience.

Me (worried): “Sir, was I hallucinating, or an organ was playing?” William Porter (matter of factly): “You might have had hallucinated… but an organ was still playing!” – William Porter on correct wording.

William Porter in studio class, commenting on someone’s hymn playing: “You started the last verse on a 6/4 chord. Now, that wouldn’t have bothered me until I started teaching theory” – Prof. Porter on becoming more rigid with experience.

Me (happily): “Sir, you entered my book of eternal quotations!” William Porter: “Oh-oooh!” – the fear of the unknown

Me (admiringly): “Sir, I am extremely impressed with your English!” Hans Davidsson: “As I am with yours. This is because we studied it in school!” – two Europeans reflecting on European education.

“You are nervous. Don’t be. It can’t get any worse than that!” – Lynn Blakeney, calming down one of her violin students.

“You are so talented! When you sound good, you sound damn good. But when you sound bad, you sound pretty awful, you know!” – Lynn Blakeney in a violin lesson.

“You are scared. Is it because of me?” – Lynn Blakeney faigning ignorance.

“Ok, it is because of me. You don’t have to be, really! I mean, I am a pretty nice person… and I am patient… at least most of the time…” – Lynn Blakeney’s self-promotion.

“If you do it my way it will be better! God, I am such an egotist!” – Lynn Blakeney about herself.

Me: “Kyle, you are more screwed up than I am!” “This is hardly possible” – Kyle Blaha’s opinion on me.

“Well, I thought about red myself” – Michael Prince after my remark: “I considered dressing entirely in yellow today” on my Trustee Scholarship interview.

“As far as I do remember, we gave you something mooooore” – Assitant President Craig Klafter tactfully correcting me on my remark about the Trustee Scholarship.

“YES!” – histerically laughing Craig Klafter on my question: “So are you amusing yourself on my account now?”

“Ok, I am a laywer” – Craig Klafter explaining me about honest means used by international students for different purposes.

“You will write a letter… and YOU will SIGN IT!” – a very double-meaningful conversation with Craig Klafter.

“Wow, Really?” – anonymous Trustee Scholarship commettee member on my explanation that I am the greatest talent to come to Boston University in the last 20 years.

 “Men are stupid, but, if nothing else, they like sex.” – Alice 

Me: “I had a visitor. She brought me ear-plugs”. Alice: “Why?” Me: “because I have to attend some organ juries tomorrow.” Alice: “Wow – are they that bad?” – Alice forgetting my hearing troubles.

Me: “There are some people here in Eastman whom I want to date.” Alice: “To date? Do people date there?” – Alice on dating options in the Eastman School.

“Impossible!” – Alice commenting on my remark “Alice, I am more intelligent then I thought!”

“All these neon lights are famous. Don’t know why.” – American Jamie Owens showing me Times Square.

“We don’t have history, but we have tall buildings. One of those over there is the Empire State Building. There is another famous one, I don’t know how it’s called, but it looks like a pencil.” – Jamie performing tourist-guide operations in New York.

“For Americans the idea of a classy European movie means that everybody dies at the end.” – Jamie Owens elaborating on the 7th Art.

“See, in Europe you call it historical evidence. In America we call it racism. But you can get away easily saying saying it was just “a cultural thing”” – my wonderful friend Jamie Owens.

“Yes, but you can learn!” – Nick in response to my question: “Do you think I am a hopeless idealist?”

“I may graduate cum laude. Remember, I may be smart, but I sometimes have prolonged attacks of school related apathy.” – Nick on his IQ.

“Yes, yes, YES, now take a cookie!” – Rev. Hope N. Luckie on my question: “Have I told you that Richard Cornell is the greatest, most wonderful…”

Me: “No thank you. I fuck only people with brains” Brian: “Hey, listen, I was just making a gesture, all right? Nothing more, just a gesture. I didn’t even say anything, really. Goodness…!” – Brian and I kidding around how to try to seduce a female…

Me: “Brian, you MUST come to the Philharmonia reading!! I want to have a chance to prove that I am as talented as I claim!” Brian: “I don’t need to come. I heard your Requiem. I know you are as talented as you claim. I can just practice or take a nap!” – Brian’s options of the afternoon.

Me (happily): “Mike, I honestly thought you were really boring before I got to know you better!” Mike (surprised): “Really? I am honoured! Actually, you are a nice person!” Me (happily): “Thank you!” – Michael Unger and I exchanging compliments after a few drinks.

Me (in the heat of the performance): “MIKE! NOW! EVERYTHING TO PEDAL!” Mike: “What?” – on the risks of having an assistant during a concert.

Mike: “So this is what I will be famous for? The word “What”! Oh, my god! Can you add some smart quotations by me?” – Michael Unger about entering history.

“Someone, clean up your white… trash!” – Chris Petit’s call for a pleasant environment.

Me: “Oh, shit!!”

Marc Pacoe: “We’ve heard this before” – eternal Departmental meeting jeweleries…

Me: “Why do black and yellow go so well together?” Bill Wisnom: “I don’t know. I guess because you look like a bumblebee. You know what this means? Bzzzzzz” Me: “HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!” Bill (perplexed): “What did I say?” Me (crying): “HAAAA-HAAAAA-HAAAAAAA!!!!!!” Chris Lane (who had been sitting between us!!!): “What were you talking about?” Bill Wisnom: “Well, I said that black and yellow go well together because of the bumblebee. The other thing is a taxi cab” (!!!!!!!!!!!!) Bill Wisnom on tasteful colour combinations.

Me: Andy, can you, please, come to my jury? I will have a surprise for the audience!” Andy: “Oh, boy!” – Andy getting used to my surprises.

Me: “Kyle, what are you doing on Saturday at 1 pm?” Kyle: “I don’t know yet!” Me: “I will tell you what you are doing. You are…” Kyle: “Oh, dear!” – Kyle – also getting used to my surprises.

Me (suspiciously): “So, sir, are you making fun of me now?” Stan McCormack (politely): “No, I am not. But again, I can be very subtle!” – Stan McCormack on reading between the lines.

Me (happily): “I started my new opera. It is very tragic.” Janice McCormack: “Well, it is an opera! It is supposed to be tragic!” – Janice McCormack on standart operas.

Mrs. McCormack: “Can you play the middle of page 6, please?” (I play) “thank you!” (we sing. End of song) Mrs. McCormack: “Oh… so we are NOT doing that one?” – Mrs. McCormack paying attention.

Bill Herzog’s farewell party. Bill Herzog is holding a speech: “Regrettfully, cookie-monster’s voice is going with me. But I am sure something can be found. (to Mr. McCormack) I understand you talk like a duck?””Yes!” –  McCormack imitates a duck. Bill Herzog continues: “As you see, we are a very talented congregation!” – Bill Herzog on diverse talents.

Me: “You have to make her happy for her birthday. Surprise her. Perpare a candlelight dinner. Take her out to a party. Go to…” Mr. Chambers: “Hey, hey, give me a break! I need some rest.” (pause): “So… Do you want us three to go to lunch and to Boris Goudonov next week? It is on me” – Mr. Chambers, vision of resting.

Mrs. Chambers: “Follow that car!” “Which one?” – Mr. Chambers trying to orient himself. Me: “WHOAAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOLLOW THAT CAR, HAAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Mr. Chambers: “What was so funny? Oh, right, there are more than one!!” (SIIIIIIIIIC!!!) – Mr. Chambers following directions.

Me: “How do you call that thing in which you heat the tea?” Mr. Chambers: “A microwave” – Mr. Chambers on contemporary utilities.

Me (greeting Mr. Chambers by giving a hug): “This was so wonderful! Thank you so much!” Mr. Chambers: “Oh, it is my pleasure.” Later on: “So, THIS is what you were thanking me for?” Me: “You didn’t know?” Mr. Chambers: “No. I just like being hugged!” – Mr. Chambers accepting gratitute.

Mr. Chambers: “We may have a person to rent our building. When you return we may have some vitality.” Me (naively): “Does this mean money?” Mr. Chambers: “Exactly” – Mr. Chambers’ views on vitality.

Mr. Chambers, beginning of October 2002: “Why do you do this? It is not written in and you always play that little trill.” April 2003: Me: “I am really impressed… you sing these high B’s all the time…” “It is in the style” – Mr. Chambers after Alexandra’s brainwashing activities.

Me: “Mr. Chambers, you just entered my Book of eternal quotations.” “Is this good or bad?” – Mr. Chambers demanding clarity.

Mr. Chambers: “Hey, you know what? I finally remembered the last line of the song I wrote for Sylvia. It goes like that: “I loooooooooove you.” Me: “How come you forgot that one? Mrs. Chambers, did you hear, he said…” “Oh, I heard, I heard what he said!” – Mrs. Chambers being sarcastic.

Me: “I love you!” “That’s nice!” - more on Mr. Chambers and love.

Copyright © 2004 ELF Software & Alexandra Fol