Five years ago, when I was pregnant with my son Nathaniel, I started writing down vivid memories of my childhood in Odessa, the former Soviet Union, and of immigration to the United States. Gradually, these started to take the shape of a book about a life in music. At that time, I was living in New York City, performing, and curating my series Music/Words, where poets read between musical performances. Poetry has inspired me for as long as I can remember, and found expression in my first CD (Sound of Verse, MSR Classics). As I hadn’t written in years, it was profoundly satisfying to be exercising that aspect of my persona once again.
A few years later, after I had moved to Los Angeles to head the piano department at UCLA, the chapters of the book found their way into the hands of one Cynthia Comsky, an incredible producer and magnificent lady. She insisted that I use them to create a recital-monologue. Many memories described in the book had musical pieces inexorably connected to them. I chose pieces that had been with me since childhood, as well as others that—along my path to becoming a concert pianist—had found their way into my repertoire. The format—playread-play-read—duplicated the structure of myMusic/Words programs, where the poems and the music create an arch that, I hope, resonates emotionally with my audiences. In 2015, just a few months after my daughter Frida was born, the brilliant director Cameron Watson directed me and wonderful actress Rebecca Mozo in a performance of the work at the Ebell of Los Angeles.
I know that I am the artist that I am partially thanks to growing up in the Odessa of the past: seven people in a three-room apartment, surrounded by books, music, ideas and childhood friends—one of whom is Misha. You will meet him in the story. He is my husband and the father of my two children.
Recording this story, and this music, is the most personal project I have ever undertaken. It not only chronicles and illuminates my life’s path— travels, seminal influences and evolution as an artist—but it’s also my love story.
— Inna Faliks