Starting from Porcupine
The title of my first book. The Porcupine is an area in northern Ontario about 440 driving miles north of Toronto. It includes the towns South Porcupine, Porcupine, Schumacher and Timmins. I was born in Timmins in 1938. My love of virtuosity and great singing took form there; I learned some of the Chopin Etudes on my own and collected recordings of Callas, Sutherland, Tebaldi and Victoria de Los Angeles.
In high school I was fascinated by A.M. Klein’s poem, “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape” and tried a trembling hand at writing. With the help of the Canada Council, I trained as a professional pianist and planned to make my living teaching in university. I managed the latter, though it took me five universities to finally land the job at U. of Toronto.
“One of the most inventive and imaginative pianistic talents of our time.” Glenn Gould
In the 90’s my friend the author, David Helwig, would connect me with Oberon Press, which later published my four books of poetry. I’ve never had an agent; the support of Alberto Guerrero, Glenn Gould and Sir Ernest MacMillan was enough to guarantee an intense life in Canadian music.
This website is retrospective. I have enjoyed well over 60 years of professional life, if you count my weekly programs on Timmins English and French radio networks. Intermezzo présente Beel Aide, jeune prodige de Porcupine! I have included examples of my playing in all genres, along with poems old and new. Canadian music has figured large in my experience and I am grateful for rich collaborations with scores of Canadian musicians. Though arthritis has put a stop to big playing, I will continue to add more intimate rep in the time that remains. It has been a good Porcupine run.