Albert Fuller, who was one of the most influential people in my life, died on Sept 22. I just read about his passing in the Juilliard newspaper. An obituary from the NY times is here
I met Mr. Fuller when I took his class on performance practice in 1992. Tyically, one would think a Juilliard class such as this would be centered around "what kind of trills to execute" and "which editions of Bach's works are the most authentic". However, I'm happy to report that his class had very little to do with any of that.
His lectures reminded us how magical the invisible world of music really is and how fortunate we are to study it. He encouraged us to use our imagination, to question authorities, and to create our own rules and lives. He wanted us to understand that the master composers were not just statues and chapters in music history books. They felt what we felt - they were warmed by the same sun, breathed the same air, walked on the same earth. They felt love and lust, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat. We are all one.
I was so taken by his lectures that I signed up for private chamber music coachings with him - and he let me take them as a solo guitarist. One day I played a Bach Largo for him in a rather dry manner. He stopped me half way through and simply said "think hand mic" and then sang the melody freely as a jazz singer would - pretending to hold a microphone in his hand. It might sound humorous, but I tell you that this one lesson changed my entire perspective on music.
Albert wanted us to think outside the box - and to realize that the box was put there by someone else. I'm very grateful to have known this man for even a little bit of time. May he be joyous.