Special Lunch Date with a Piano Soloist

I mentioned in my Fashion Friday post that I had a very special lunch date on Friday. It was with pianist Meng-Chieh Liu. He’s kind of a big deal.

No, I don’t have close personal friendships with world-famous piano soloists. I actually “won” this lunch. Last year, I did some volunteer work for the Chicago Chamber Musicians, helping to test out their online music library before it launched publicly. One of the ways they thanked the volunteers was by drawing someone’s name at random to have lunch with the CCM performer of their choice. My name was chosen, and I asked if it could be with a pianist or flautist, since those are the instruments I play. (Also, we each got a pair of ticket vouchers for a future CCM concert.)

Friday was the lunch, and honestly, I was nervous going into it. What would I possibly talk about with such an accomplished musician? Sure, I know a little bit about music, but it pales in comparison to what someone like him would know. But, I knew this was a great opportunity that doesn’t come along often, and I would be stupid to pass it up.

It ended up being a very delightful lunch. Surprisingly enough, at first our conversation was about what I do, as he seemed genuinely interested. (I “do” online marketing, by the way.) Among other things, we also talked about what he is currently rehearsing, when he started playing and why, teaching music, the less-glamorous side of being a professional artist, the local orchestral music scene. (What? I’m sure it’s a scene.)

According to his bio, I am now two degrees from Mikhail Baryshnikov. In case you are also interested, I am also two degrees from Barak Obama, thanks to a co-worker.

I took the Metra, since I do enough driving the other four days of the week, and with the mid-day schedule of trains only once an hour, I had some time to kill before lunch. Since my Metra line ends under Millennium Park, and it was a beautiful day, I went there.

View of the skyline from Pritzer Pavilion 
Willis Tower still doesn’t sound right

I remember when I first heard about Cloud Gate, aka The Bean,
I thought it sounded like some wacky modern art idea.
Clearly, what do I know? 
Maggie & Robert
My favorite picture ever taken in The Bean. This was in 2004, right after we started dating.
We went on a date to the Art Institute.
The Bean was still so new, they hadn’t buffed out the seams. 
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