My time is spent working 16 hour DAYS just trying to keep up with all I am doing. At 75, my schedule is MORE INSANE (but more gratifying) than ever!!! I am here in Denver until June 3rd, as 'Visiting Distinguished Professor" (the University of Denver's description of me, not mine).
I have already been assigned to 22 different events (!!!) as well as appearing in classes and seminars for the Sociology department, Creative Writing, French Studies, Anthropology, American Studies, Drama and Film, Jewish Studies, and of course the Music School.
Everything I do will be to encourage students of all disciplines to work hard, be prepared to bring more to life than is expected or required, pay attention to everything and everybody, have respect for the treasures of the past and beauties of the present, and try to relate the principals of organization, structure and spontanious reaction to the unexpected, all of which composers and improvising musicians learn to apply throughout their lives, and which can be of great use to everybody, regardless of what you end up doing in life to pay your rent!!
I am also involving members of the Denver community, as well as students and the faculty in all kinds of performances, readings, screeneings of films etc which, while hectic, is really fun.
While driving through the streets of Denver, which I first visited 65 years ago with my family just before WW 2, and seeing the old haunts on Larimer street that Kerouac and Neal Cassady loved so much, with the magnificent snow capped mountains in the background, I remember all the times I have spent here, and treasure the few remaining small houses and old neighborhoods that remain.
Like everywhere else in America, gentrification seems to wipe out as much or more than it restores.
Still, it is wonderful to see so many healthy people in a big city, who are so open and warm, and smile a lot.
And the country's best jazz station, KUVO, is on 24 hours a day and run by people who treasure the music.
I am also provided with a fine piano in both the office I have been provided at school, as well as a second one where I am staying, so in between frantic activites, i can hide out and finish my new orchestral work, Symphonic Variations on Song by Woody Guthrie, as well as completing my new book, Nine Lives of a Musical Cat, and begin work on The David Amram Reader, which is being written, using my lifetime of writings, interviews etc.
I'm also preparing the conducting of the scores for my symphony concert in Latvia next month, so I am not having any time to get into trouble!!!
It is really a treat to try to spread something positive in these crazy times, and share what I have been blessed to learn from so many others no longer here.
Big hugs from the Wild West.