Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

So - today I spent some time thinking about my dad and what he is and means to me and how he has influenced me personally, artistically, and emotionally. I was one of those fortunate people that grew up in a very musically aware household. My parents - both influenced by the psychedelic and experimental factions of the culture in NYC - listened to a lot of everything. From acid-rock to pop to orchestral, opera, eastern, and on and on.

One minute could be Puccini, the next could be Frank Zappa, Flamenco, or Janis Joplin. My dad in particular had interests in Eastern traditional styles. I remember listening to Ravi Shankar and other Indian recordings, as well as Chinese Opera. He is an avid opera fanatic(!) - so there was no shortage of that in our home… to such a degree that I generally find it difficult to listen to or sit through even half an opera. That said - there are also MANY magical moments in opera that are sweepingly gorgeous in texture, and raw emotional power. I remember going to the Metropolitan Opera House as a child and watching many lavish performances way up in the bleachers through (you guessed it) opera glasses! What a lucky thing for a child to have access to. The overall spectacle is something I'll always treasure.

One of my dad's best friends, a composer and pianist named John Beaulieu, had an enormous loft space in Tribecca and hosted many eclectic and avant-garde live performances in his home that I got to experience. Sometimes I was even part of the performances - hell - the whole audience was! It was after one of these shows in the late 70s that I got to play with my first synthesizers: A Synket, Moog Sonic Six and a Mini-Moog. Clearly those moments of having free access to such wonders was an incredible experience for me as a child. I was utterly fascinated! A box with knobs and lights that made different kinds of sounds when you turned the knobs and held down a key… A box that had no pre-defined sound to speak of from one moment to the next. A morphing hodgepodge of random sonic delights!

I still don't know what my dad thinks of the music I've made or recorded, but he has many a time willingly come to a number of my performances over the years - which I truly appreciate. He has always promoted the idea of having me follow my creative and artistic interests  - which is another priceless gift.

For the past few years he has (finally!) started taking voice-lessons and it's been fascinating talking to him about the more technical aspects of music and performance from the perspective of him as a student wrestling with things like keeping pitch, following a beat, and the difficulties of rehearsing and slowly learning to play the piano.

My dad, Professor Lawrence Galante, an eternal student and teacher who continues to embody the idea of growth by learning. We don't always communicate as well or as openly as I would like on occasion - but his steadfast pursuit of learning and challenging himself is a noble quality I have always admired - and his eternal love of music and how it has enriched my life is a gift beyond compare. It continues to be one of the more steadfast and defining interests in my life.

So, Dad, thank you for all the notes - both high and low!

With much love and admiration, your son - anthony.

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