With great humility I welcome you all to my blog, Conducting LIfe. This blog would not exist without the encouragement of Jon Katz. That's a simple fact. I thank him for his encouragement and for all that he has given and done for so many both near and far. And also want to thank Heather Thomas, owner at the Gold Trout on Main St. in Granville, NY. It is thanks to her generosity, knowledge and professional experience with websites and wix.com, that this blog is as finished as it is. I am extremely grateful to her for helping me as I struggled with wix's way of doing things while I was recovering from hip surgery. I also would like to thank Kimerer Lamothe and Alice Harwood for their valuable advice and unwavering availability to lend a hand.
I am an orchestral conductor and composer. I have been studying music since I was 5 years old. I have worked on 3 continents, produced more concerts than I can list here and have had many, many, many experiences.
My grandfather, Gaetano Toscano, was a mentor to me. I was the first grandchild of the complete family, they were all immigrants and therefore their culture became mine. My Grandfather Toscano was a dowser, baker, master mechanic and verily one of the most competent and ingenius people I ever met. So great was his mechanical prowess that all of his descendants are mechanically gifted in some cases to the extreme. Out of this nucleous of Sicilian immigrants came a great vast ocean of creativity. All of my direct cousins are very creative problem solvers and have made a mark for themselves in their lives. I believe that this all stems from my Grandparents for the other three, Rosa Toscano, and Francesco and Francesca Mazzoni also had great talents. My Grandmother Mazzoni was a consummate seamstress who could re-create any outfit making her own patterns and whipping up the most inspiring clothes. (BTW, in the photo above you find my grandmother Rosa Toscano on the left and my grandmother Francesca Mazzoni on the right).
I am the product of these four very wonderful people and the wonderful environment that surrounded us all. Very simple, very loving. My parents of course, were extremely supportive and both very strong individuals. And, while they were seeking to be good Americans, perfectly integrated into their NYCity reality, I made a very conscious choice to be my own person. (It was who I was so there really wasn't much to say about it). That person was steeped in the reality of my grandparents and the immigrant experience. (In fact, I moved to Brazil, in part, to have that immigrant experience. Living in that mysterious country certainly gave me the complete experience of what it all meant).
My sense of adventure, magic and the ability to face all situations definitely comes from them and from the Sicilian culture which they bestowed upon me. I always think of them as I encounter all the talented people I find on a daily basis.
I hope that you enjoy this blog and the stories which will follow. I have witnessed many amazing events in my life and have met very extraordinary beings, I'm quite grateful. I'm happy to say that magical realities continue, sometimes everyday. We will discuss the magic, the miracles the significance of life. Art, Philosophy, Spirituality, Joy, Ourselves and I'm sure many other subjects
Paul Pines, noted psychotherapist, author, educator and curator of Jazz at the Lake - Lake George - for 38 years, died last year at this time. His loss is enormous and I cannot even begin to explain what a deep and personally valued person he was. In a conversation that I had with him once he called me a "collector of experiences". This concept was quite odd to me at first, yet as I lived with it, I realized that I have been gifted with a large number of events in my life indeed. As the blog continues, some, if not many of the experiences mentioned above will be shared.
Thank you very much for being here. I look forward to the exchange between us which begins now. Thomas