About: Bruce Potterton
Instrument you teach: Piano
Do you play any other instrument in your spare time? I garden, both indoors and out.
Education: Montclair State University; then three years of private study with Sascha Gorodnitzki.
Where are you from? A house on a river, at the edge of a forest in Boonton, NJ (born in USA).
Favorite age group to teach: All!
Favorite style of music to teach: All!
Favorite song: God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday).
Favorite piece of music: (Today?) Mozart, Piano Sonata in F, K 533 (andante); Bach, Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, WTC I; Beethoven, String Trio, Op. 9, No.1; Chopin, Nocturne in D-Flat; Sibelius, Symphony No. 5; Debussy, Ondine.
Favorite food: Chocolate chip cookies.
Favorite color: Spruce green.
Do you have a pet? (Describe them): In the beautiful spot where I live, Mother Nature provides provides an astonishing variety: cardinals, chickadees, goldfinches, tufted titmice, wrens, starlings, grackles, woodpeckers (downy, red-breasted, even the pileated), blue jays, doves, sparrows, owls, wild turkeys; on and in the water: beavers, otters, great blue herons, cormorants, ducks (mallards, mergansers, hooded mergansers, goldeneyes, wood ducks), turtles; on land: ground hogs, deer, foxes, badgers, bears, possums; all of these I feed regularly (some intentionally and some not).
What’s your favorite musical memory? Watching, astounded, as a six-year-old came in to his lesson and played all parts of a complex duet we’d played the week before (including trills), by himself!
What do you like best about teaching music? EVERYTHING!
What is your favorite composer or musician? The one whose music I happen to be practicing
What is the first piece of music you ever learned? “Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.” (Thank you Miss Greener!)
How many hours a day do you practice? Three
Accomplishments: YWCA Studio Club of NYC, “Outstanding Young Artist Award” 1965 (oh, well!); solo, chamber, and concerto concert (then) in NYC, Florida, and Maine; Faculty, Henry St. Settlement Music School since 1970; Faculty, Amherst Summer Music Center (1971 – 1980); founded (and still direct) SummerKeys, A Music Vacation for Adults in 1992 (www.summerkeys.com); founded (and still direct) The Mary Potterton Memorial Concerts (a weekly summer-long series of free concerts offered by SummerKeys) in 1994; received the “Robert M. Guptill Award” (given annually by the Machias Bay Chamber Concert) for “outstanding contributions to the cultural life of Washington County” (Maine) in 2005; received (Maine) Governor’s Award for Tourism in 2010 preparation and performance (in both NY and Maine) of a different full-length piano concert annually since 1975.
These have included: Partitas, Sinfonias, Preludes, and Fugues by Bach; Sonatas of Scarlatti and Soler; Sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert; Schubert Impromptus; a great many works by Chopin and Schumann; some Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky; much Rachmaninoff and Scriabin; Sonatas by Berg, Prokofiev, and George Walker; Copland’s Piano Variations; Preludes and Suites of Debussy; much Fauré, Poulenc, and de Falla; Music of Messaien, Shostakovich and Kabalevsky, plus that of my colleague and friend, Hugh Sam. Chamber collaborations have included all the above composers, plus Vitali, Franck, Delius, Arvo Pärt, Miaskovsky, Lalo, Milhaud, Bloch and Flor Peeters (a considerable body of 4-hand music also in concert).
Fun Facts: If you can read the NYC Subway map and/or type your name on a computer, you can learn to play the piano. Also, I’ve just completed a book titled “SummerKeys Offers an Unusually Understandable Theory Book” – another subject I enjoy teaching very much!