Boston: the mecca of brain candy and classical music

The brain candy of classical music is available in abundance in Boston, the highest concentration of institutions of advanced education.

I wrote on my Facebook that I was visiting Boston for classical music and brain candy. I timed my arrival so I could attend Robert’s solo guitar concert at the New England Conservatory. Little did I realize that Boston had the highest concentration of colleges and universities — and with that, brain candy.

My graduate school classmate Kathryn, who specialized in corporate governance after running several restaurants, coined the term “brain candy.” Our brains need topics to chew on. It’s more fun to share candies than chew alone.

Before Robert’s solo guitar recital began, I recognized someone from a distance. It was the composer Tom Peterson whose piano sonata I had played, recorded, and blogged about. I had last seen him in Phoenix in early November 2010. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona. What was he doing in Boston?

Before Phoenix, Robert and I had invited him to dinner in London where he was finishing his masters degree at the Royal College of Music. Before London, we had met, for the first time, in Cortona, Italy, in July 2007.

As it turned out Tom was in Boston to see the Celtics game that same evening. He had seen the announcement of Robert’s guitar concert on Facebook. He decided to surprise us. Actually he was in this part of the world for another reason — the premiere of a commissioned piano solo piece for the Fisher Prize in New Haven, Connecticut.

Tom, his tuba-player friend, Robert, and I convened at Uno Grill and Bar Restaurant after the recital. We chewed on music for brain candy. When we parted our ways, Robert and I went to yet another concert that day — a string quartet in Jordan Hall.

I don’t think I have had such an in-depth discussion of classical music, composition, and performance since last summer in Utrecht, Netherlands, where we made brain candy out of music.

I have forgotten what it’s like to travel via mass public transit and eavesdrop. In the Netherlands, I could not, but here in Boston I could. On the “T” which is also the oldest metro system in America, I overhear conversations among students, teachers, business people, and tourists. Sometimes I get the urge to join them. Maybe that’s how I’d get more brain candy!