Guest playlist: Teo Milea

“See you Tuesday at 10 AM by the cemetery entrance.”

Not your everyday meeting place, but for my neighbour, pianist and composer Teo Milea , and I it’s a no-brainer. Under a baseball cap, his trademark curls find a way out and frame a friendly smile. Double-double timmies in hand, we stroll in a crisp sunny November morning through Mount Pleasant, all the way to Glenn Gould’s resting place. We chat quietly, unobstructed by the mega-city constant hum of Toronto.

The vast stretch of the Mount Pleasant cemetery, behind the condo towers on Merton street in midtown Toronto. Glenn Gould is buried there.

 

“The year he died is the year I was born”, Teo reflects looking at Gould‘s grave marker. We whistle together the first few bars of the Goldberg Variations chiselled under his name. Now that he became a Canadian citizen, the Romanian-born pianist resonates more with the Great White North’s famous artists and people. I point out that Gould is known more for his recording career than live performances, but Teo is quick to remind me that in 1957, aged 25, Gould was the first North American musician to tour Soviet Union after WWII. Gould would give his last public performance in 1964 at 31 years old.

“You’re not giving up concerts, aren’t you?”

“No, of course not! My Romanian tour is booked for January 2020, followed by Toronto in the spring, and then US appearances… I’ll be on a tight recording schedule as well, so 2020 will be a busy year, my friend!”

I’m about to dive into the playlist discussion, but a coyote crosses our way as we approach Yonge street inside the cemetery. We’re rightfully ignored in favour of a healthy squirrel, so I get to ask Teo to build a playlist for me, beginning and ending with his songs. “It’s just music you recommend to other people.” “I don’t want to go out and recommend, it’ll be just some music I’ve been recently listening to.” “I hope there will be salt and pepper in there, Teo.” “Oh, don’t worry: with me, always expect the unexpected.”

We end our walk at Starbucks, the northeast corner of Yonge and Davisville. “How long do you think until this block is replaced by a condo?”, I ask. “Not much.” “Will you still be around in Toronto?” “For sure, my friend. I’m not going anywhere. My students and my music belong here for now.”

Apple Music playlist: launch here.

 

 

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