Saturday, December 18, 2010

And The Winner Is...


Courtney McGukin and I mastered the Timeless II CD yesterday, and if you don't mind my saying so, it sounds wonderful!

Here's the lineup:

Chopin is the big dog on this CD, with 5 songs.
Tied for 2nd place are Rachmaninoff and Bach, with 2 each.
In last place, we find Beethoven and Saint-Saens, each with one song.

I can't pick a favorite among the 11 arrangements. I love them all, and hope that you will, too.

The CD is just over an hour long, at 60 minutes and 57 seconds.

We hope that the love of Christ will shine on you this Christmas.
If you don't know Jesus, I pray that you will come to know him during the coming year.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Catch Up

Hey guys, a lot has been going on lately - so much, in fact, that I haven't had time to update this page!

Greg Maroney and I performed together on November 12th, a benefit for the York College School of Nursing's Managed Care Program. Jan and I had a great time on that trip, and were happy to have some time with Greg and Linda Maroney.

Another highlight of this trip was a buggy ride and a tour of an Amish farm outside of Lancaster. As usual, I asked the Amish driver too many questions, and Jan kept punching me in the ribs...

On November 18th, Joseph Akins and I performed together in Jackson, Mississippi, in a benefit for the Millsaps College Music Program. This concert was underwritten by Lester and Ellen Hailey of Beemon Drugs. So if you live in Jackson, please buy your meds from Beemon Drugs, at 1220 E. Northside Drive.

Joseph spent the night at our house Wednesday night, then we drove to Jackson on Thursday for the concert. Around 4 PM, while we were at the hall trying out the pianos, Joseph got a call informing him that his father-in-law had just died in Chattanooga. Joseph was a real trooper, and decided to go on with the performance, and he played great! My playing was also some of my best, and our dueling Steinways improv at the end of the program really smoked!

Please pray for Joseph, his mom, and their family during this difficult time.

Jan and I are celebrated Thanksgiving at the beach this year. We walked 4 miles on the beach every day that we were there. I know this thanks to the Nike GPS app on my iPhone.

The weather was absolutely perfect. We saw dolphins playing and pelicans diving for food, had great meals and a lot of relaxation.

This week I finish THE LAST SONG for the new Timeless II CD. Then it will be off to the duplicator. I can't wait for you to hear it.

Hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving. Even with whatever bad is happening in our lives, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Take care...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On the Road

Jan and I are leaving in the morning for Pennsylvania. We are driving, because we want to take Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way back. Great views, 5 days alone with my beautiful wife, a concert, and the chance to visit with our friends Greg and Linda Maroney! Who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real Life

Fall is in full swing here in the deep South. We have a lot of hardwoods in our neighborhood, and the leaves are falling in massive quantities. Most of my neighbors obsessively try to remove all traces of autumn from their lawns, driveways and decks. I, however, am a little less diligent, to their dismay, I'm sure.

I'll miss my German lessons for the next few weeks. Next week Jan and I will be in Pennsylvania for the York benefit concert. The week after that I will be playing in Jackson, MS. The week after THAT Jan and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach. That's the story of my German studies; two steps forward, one step back. Or in my case, probably one step forward and two steps back!

Did you know that I play the cello? Not really, but as a keyboard player, I can play ANYTHING! I finished one of the last songs for the Timeless II album yesterday - an arrangement of "The Swan" by Saint-Saens. I added a solo cello to the piano part, and it sounds like the real thing. I'm thinking about creating an imaginary cellist and giving him credit on the CD for this solo. Maybe I'll name him "Alexei Volkov" or perhaps a good ol' southern name like Billy Joe McCabe. Then I'll sit back and see if anyone calls me on it.

I practiced the piano a lot today. I'm adding a few new tunes for the upcoming concerts, and relearning some of the songs from "Christmas at Our House" for the December concert in Nashville. Today is Thursday; most Thursdays I practice 4 or 5 hours at home before going into the studio around 2 PM.

Jan and I bought a new Vita-Mix blender last week, and I love it so much that I have almost stopped eating solid food! I am now living on smoothies. We were at Costco, and there was a guy there demonstrating the Vita-Mix. I was like a pesky kid who wouldn't go away. I kept asking him to make a coffee drink, then soup, then a sorbet, and before you know it I had eaten a full meal's worth of samples. Today's smoothie was red grapes, a few almonds, strawberries, blueberries, a whole apple (minus two slices for Riley) and an orange, with a little vanilla yoghurt and some orange juice. Oh, and a few baby carrots. Pretty soon I will be so healthy that I'll be absolutely unbearable!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An Added Benefit

Sorry I haven't written in a while. Can't believe that it has been over a month.The studio has been very busy, and I have been working like one possessed on Timeless II, and having a wonderful time!

As some of you know, on November 12th I will be performing a benefit concert in York, Pennsylvania. Once again I will be sharing the stage with my good friend Greg Maroney, who is one of my very favorite contemporary instrumental composer/pianists. The concert benefits the York College School of Nursing. You can see the poster, with all of the information about the concert, on my Facebook artist page. While you're there, why don't you sign up as a fan?

I have just been asked to play a benefit concert for Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. The concert will take place on November 18th. I have invited Joseph Akins to take part in this concert. Joseph is a fine pianist/composer who is on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State's Music Recording program.

I am excited about the Millsaps concert, because I have never visited the campus before. I know about the college, of course, by its wonderful reputation. Jan and I have visited Jackson on several occasions. Jackson is full of cultural activity; one of our favorite trips anywhere was a visit to Jackson to see a terrific Degas exhibit at the Jackson Museum of Art.
Isn't Leontyne Price from Jackson?

The details of the Jackson concert:
November 18th, 7:30 PM
Millsaps College
Gertrude Ford Academic Recital Complex
1701 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39210

$15 general admission
$5 students
Please call 601-974-1422 for more information.
Tickets will be available at the door.

Our concert in Memphis was a lot of fun. Attendance and CD sales were both a little less than I had anticipated, but what the audience lacked in size it made up for in enthusiasm. Jan and I finally visited Graceland! I actually hadn't thought about it, but Jan wanted to go, so off we went. And I have to admit that it was fun. We also had some great BBQ at a Memphis favorite, Rendezvous Alley.

I promise I won't wait a month next time!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dogs Are People Too

Jan's mom died two months ago. We took Riley with us to the cemetery earlier this week. Normally, when confronted with an expanse of grass like one finds at a cemetery, Riley becomes a whirl of ceaseless activity, sniffing every blade of grass in sight for yet another place to mark his territory.

When I patted the grave and told Riley that Meme was there, he became very still, and lay beside her marker until we left to go home.

Jan's parents had lived with us, and Riley loved having them there. He flew down the stairs to their apartment twice every day to get snacks from MeMe. After Buddy died, he started spending a lot more time with Meme. It was as if he knew that she needed him to be there with her.

But since MeMe died, Riley has refused to go downstairs. He normally follows my every step like a shadow. But now, whenever I go downstairs, he refuses to go with me. He will lie at the top of the stairs and wait for me to come up.

Somehow, he knows...

My friend Jeff Bjorck ( said that, although the Bible says nothing about our pets going to Heaven, it doesn't absolutely forbid it. That's a good thought; I would like to see Riley there. As it is, when he dies, I will have to go to grief counseling...

Riley at the top of the stairs

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Matters

Sorry I haven't updated my blog in a couple of weeks, but read on and you'll see that I have been otherwise occupied...

I've always told Jan that I love her more than anything in the world EXCEPT THE PIANO. Hey, I'm supposed to be honest, right? I mean, music isn't just something that I DO; it's a part of me, like my heart or my arms or my liver.

During the past few weeks, though, I've discovered that the reality of my life is
something else altogether...

Jan had a biopsy several weeks ago, and the surgeon told her that he was 95% sure that the pathology report would prove to be cancer. A week later she had a lumpectomy, followed by another path report to wait for...

Cut to the studio, where I was supposed to be working on my new CD, which is already way behind schedule. But was I working on the CD? No, all I could do was walk through the halls, mumbling "God help me" over and over, as I contemplated for the first time what life would be like without my Jan. Not that I expected her to drop dead all of a sudden, but just to look over the edge of that void that life would be like without her...

It was then that I realized that, without Jan, there IS no music in me. The part of me that hears and creates music would just cease to exist.

So what Jan hears from me now is "...more than anything. Period."

By the way, the surgeon was wrong. Totally benign!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Listen Free

Another Saturday at the studio...Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a normal job, just go to work for 8 hours, then have a LIFE!

The release date of the new CD is September 28th. You can listen to 4 COMPLETE SONGS on the home page of the website. Be sure to listen to Sicilian Song - it is a wonderful melody, and I am really happy with the way it turned out. Kathy Parsons of, one of the most respected critics of new music, is reviewing the songs as I finish them. Her review of Sicilian Song is printed below.

Sicilian Song
Michael Dulin
Timeless II 2010/Equity Digital

Sicilian Song is an adaptation of Siciliano from JS Bach's Flute Sonata #2 and is one of the highlights of Michael Dulin's Timeless II. Although Dulin's arrangement is very true to the piece's classical roots, the addition of strings and other orchestration to Dulin's piano gives the piece a more contemporary sound and feeling. Played slowly and soulfully, this piece is absolutely gorgeous!

The pieces starts out fairly simply with the piano carrying the melody with strings in the background, setting the tone of the piece. In the second variation, the orchestra carries the melody as Dulin improvises with light, sweet, nimble passages. The third variation is the most dramatic with full orchestra, tympani, and Dulin's marvelous piano. The fourth variation returns to a quiet mood and brings Sicilian Song to a gentle close. Bravo!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Coming to a Town Near You....

I'm appearing in concert with fellow Solo Piano Radio artists Joseph Akins and John Albert Thomas on September 25th, in Memphis. Tickets are available HERE.

Be there or be nowhere!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Lucille Bailey Renfroe (Lou)

We lost Jan's mom last week. She died last Wednesday, July 7th. She was 84. Lou was the kindest, wisest, finest person you could ever hope to meet. I was so very proud to be a member of her family. Our sweet girl will be forever missed.

Lucille is described so perfectly in Proverbs 31:

Who can find a virtuous woman?
For her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust her,
So that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She is like the merchants' ships;
She bringeth her food from afar.
Strength and honour are her clothing;
And she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
And in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household,
And eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up, and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously.
But thou excellest them all.

Young Lucille Renfroe

Friday, July 2, 2010

Music on Hold

Take a look at the beautiful cover for Timeless II. Matt Strieby of New Leaf Design has once more amazed me with his artistry.

On the music side, not much to tell this week. Jan and I are spending most of the time in the waiting room outside intensive care. In fact, I am writing these lines from the hospital, and I haven't been to the studio at all today. Today is 9 days after Lou's bypass surgery, and she is still in ICU on the ventilator. I had really hoped they would take that horrible tube out of her throat today, but it looks like it may be tomorrow or even the day after. She is MISERABLE.

Jan and I were supposed to leave yesterday for a 10-day vacation, but obviously this not going to happen.

Timeless II has to be released by September 1st to be eligible for Grammy nomination. God willing, I will meet that deadline. The piano tracks are all finished, just have to finish the orchestration, mix, and master. Now that the cover is done, I'll get the individual songs to iTunes as soon as each one is finished.

I'll be performing in concert in Memphis on September 25th, more details later. I'm also working on dates in Little Rock and Jackson, MS.

Sorry I haven't updated the blog the last couple of weeks. Virginia was in Paris and then Meme had her heart attack...


Friday, June 11, 2010

Timeless Tutu

Okay, Timeless II, song 2

While we're waiting for the Timeless II cover, and for reviews from ZoneReporter's RJ Lannan, take a look at the review by Kathy Parsons of song #2, Alone, which is based on Chopin's E minor prelude.

Click the link to hear a 30-second preview of Alone.

From Timeless II
Michael Dulin
2010/Equity Digital

Michael Dulin continues his quest to breathe new life into classical pieces, giving them a more contemporary styling while staying true to the original intent of the composers. Alone is nothing short of stunning. Based on Chopin's "Prelude in E minor, Opus 28, " Dulin begins the piece with an introduction (a prelude to the "Prelude"! ) that rapidly accelerates up the piano keyboard and then slowly comes back down in a mysterious mood that hints of a crisis or emotional tragedy. He then plays the prelude through as written before repeating it with strings playing the right hand melody as Dulin plays the left, adding his own amazing touches with his right. The result takes the music to an even darker place than Chopin did with his original. Chopin's Preludes are among my favorite pieces to play, and I really didn't think there was any way to improve on this one. Dulin has proven me wrong. A pianist with an incredible background that includes competing internationally in the classical music field, Dulin's interpretation of this gem is right on the money. I'm sure Chopin is looking down from the heavens with a tear in his eye and a smile of approval.

Kathy Parsons


Friday, June 4, 2010

Partita Hardita

If you enjoy Timeless, you are going to love Timeless II. We're doing something a bit different with the new album; we are going to release the songs one by one on iTunes before the complete CD is released. Album design is once more in the gifted hands of Matt Strieby of New Leaf Design, and as soon as the cover is ready, the songs will begin appearing on iTunes.

Click the link to hear a 30 second preview of the first song, Partita.

In preparation for the iTunes release, Partita has been reviewed by noted critic Kathy Parsons. Please read the full review below.

Partita by J.S.Bach
Michael Dulin
from Timeless II

Partita by J.S. Bach is the first piece to be released from Timeless II, Michael Dulin's anxiously awaited follow-up to Timeless, his best-selling and award-winning 2005 collection of classical music. Subtitled "Classics for a New Age," some of those pieces were performed exactly as written for solo piano and some were arranged with various intruments for a more contemporary sound. Timeless II will have a similar format, and if the rest of the album is as exciting as Partita, we are in for another real treat!

Partita is based on the first movement (Praeludium) of Bach's B-flat Partita (BWV 825). Bach's six Partitas are considered to be among his most challenging keyboard works to play, but Dulin handles this one with ease. The first half of the track is Dulin's performance of the piece as written, with note-for-note perfection; strings were added in the background for color and a silky contrast to the more percussive piano. From there, Dulin seamlessly incorporates his own variations on the theme which sound even more challenging to play. His flawless trills on either hand are breathtakingly (try doing this at home, kids!) as is his effortless technique.

It is with good reason that Michael Dulin is known as a pianist's pianist. There seems to be no limit to what he can do at the piano, and yet he makes it look and sound easy. If you are a fan of Timeless, you will be thrilled with Timeless II. Classical music lovers, even purists, will find this music to be a joy. If you'd just like to listen to something top-notch and a little different, this if for you, too. Literally something for everyone! Highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Michael Performing in St. Louis

Michael is performing two concerts in St. Louis this weekend, so he asked me to tell you that he is sorry that he didn't have time to write this week.

He uploaded the first song from Timeless II to iTunes. It should be available in a week or two. We'll include a link when it is available. It is called "Partita". I was lucky enough to hear a preview and believe me it's wonderful!

The Maestro's Right Hand Gal and Photographer-in-Residence

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Crabby Cabbage

My wife Jan played the Crabby Cabbage in the kindergarten musical this week. She wouldn't let me come to the performance, but she did practice her lines for me:

"Plants, plants, hear me once and for all,
These weeds are getting way too tall.
I can't see where my head touches the ground,
And I am the queen, after all."

I have a video of Jan saying her lines, but she has threatened to cut off my fingers if I let anyone see it!

Next week I am putting the first song from Timless II on iTunes. I'll let you know when it's available. The title is Preludio, and it is based on the Prelude from Bach's B-flat Partita. Of course I add my secret sauce to it...

Last week I had a nice long visit with my college piano teachers. Delores Hodgens and her husband Samuel Howard taught me almost everything I know about the piano. Honestly, I can't think of a thing that I learned at Juilliard that they hadn't already touched on.

Delores asked me to hear two of her advanced students who are performing in competition next week. I had a feast of great piano music, wonderfully played: Beethoven's op. 53 and op. 57 sonatas, Chopin's 3rd Ballade, the Ginastera sonata, and Rachmaninoff's op. 39 #5 Etude-Tableau.

Delores and Sam have had a long and distinguished international career as duo-pianists Hodgens and Howard. Before that, they both studied at Juilliard with Rosina Lhevinne, who also taught Van Cliburn, John Browning, and many other wonderful pianists.

Next weekend I have two concerts in St. Louis, sponsored by Solo Piano Radio. I have emailed all of my fans in the St. Louis area, but if you have been left out for some reason, please let me know and I will give you the details.

Isn't she cute?

Mike with Sam and Delores Howard

Friday, May 7, 2010

Home Again

The Pennsylvania benefit concert was a great success. The audience was very appreciative, and I made new friends and fans. Sold a lot of CDs and sheet music books too, which is always nice...

Jan is back from Portland, and I was SO happy to see her again!

My next concert is in St. Louis, on May 22nd. More on that later.

Hope you and yours have a happy Mother's Day.

Mike in concert

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Play That Mountain Music

Last weekend Jan and I went to the theatre to see a new play by my friend Norton Dill. The play is entitled "Wedding on Sand Mountain". Norton wrote the book, music and lyrics, and he also directed AND was one of the actors! I had other friends in the cast, Scott Stewart and Theresa McKibbon. I think everyone in the cast played at least 2 instruments, and they were all terrific! Norton's music continues the Appalachian mountain music tradition, and was inspired by the time he spent on Sand Mountain filming the documentary "Music in Their Bones".

The cast members are also the members of the "The Dill Pickers". You can check them out at I am trying to convince Norton to write a " Cornbread Concerto" for piano and dillpickers. Shoot him an email if you think this sounds like fun.

Speaking of the theatre, my lovely wife has an important theatrical engagement coming up. She is going to be the Crabby Cabbage in a kindergarten production at a local school. Believe me, I will be in the audience to see this and will post a picture.

She is also going to be atop one of the floats in one of our city festivals. I'm coaching her on waving techniques. ( No Honey, from the ELBOW, now do it again....)

Yesterday I received a wonderful surprise in the mail - a copy of the first CD by my friend Derek Patton, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Derek is a wonderful guitarist and composer. You can buy his CD on CDBaby. When reading the album insert, I was very touched to see that Derek had dedicated one of the songs, These Three Remain, to me. I had no idea! Get a copy of his CD, you'll really like it.

Timeless II is really gaining steam now. As with the first Timeless, I am giving these classical pieces a new and unique treatment, so it will really be like hearing them for the first time. I can't wait for you to hear it! I am just about ready to start the album design process.

I am leaving next Thursday for 3 concerts in Pennsylvania. Believe it or not, this time I am DRIVING! Seriously, the last two flights to PA were disasters, so this time I am taking a nice drive up the back of the Appalachians. When I get home Jan will be gone to the west coast for a a seminar. So I won't see her for something like 10 days. I'm lonely for her already...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tippecanoe and TImeless II

The new album is coming along. I think you'll really like it.

I am extremely happy about the Bach Siciliano, and this week I added another Bach piece, the 1st mvt. of the B-flat Partita. I have always loved this Partita, and remember hearing an excellent performance by Andre Watts at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I was surprised at the simple elegance of his Bach playing. The repeats were beautifully ornamented in perfect style.

There will be lots of Chopin on this album.

If you haven't done so, please sign up as a fan on my Facebook artist page. You can access it from the homepage.

As the NY Times says, that's "all the news that's fit to print".

Hope you got your tax returns in on time!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Hazard

Since I have no news other than that I am sitting at some type of keyboard almost every waking moment ( piano, synth or computer), I'll try to amuse you with a true story....

A couple of years ago Jan accompanied me out west for a concert. It was very well attended, with about 600 people in the audience.

After the concert was over, Jan helped with the CD sales while I sat at a table some distance away, autographing CDs.

Let me say that I tell everyone who will listen that I am a very happily married man, and I frequently talk about Jan from the stage.

On this night, however, it was obvious that a very attractive young woman was undeterred by my marital status. Since she didn't see a wife nearby, she must have assumed that I was traveling alone, and therefore fair game...

After a while, all the CDs were sold, the crowd had gone home, and one person was left at the autograph table...HER.

I could easily have handled this situation, but Jan, who has a sixth sense about these things, came to my rescue. In fact, on this occasion she couldn't have timed her appearance any better.

At the VERY moment that my new "friend" leaned over the table and said, "I noticed that your wife isn't here with you tonight," Jan walked up beside her, so all I had to say was, "She's standing right next to you!"

She looked at Jan and, somewhat sheepishly said, " You are a very lucky woman." Then she turned tail and quickly left the building.

My Jan - my love, my bride, my sentinel...

Friday, April 2, 2010


I recently took a drive to Brookside, the little town where I grew up. In 2003 the town was devastated by a major flood; most people sold their houses to FEMA and moved away.

The town has a fascinating history. Around the turn of the century, Brookside rivaled the wildest of Wild West towns. There were SEVEN saloons on Main Street, and disputes were more often than not settled with the pull of a trigger.

After coal was discovered in the surrounding hills, a flood of Eastern European immigrants arrived in Brookside to work the mines. Little by little, Brookside was transformed from a Wild West town to something resembling an East European village.

My grandfather Dulin, who was Ukranian, arrived at Ellis Island with his mother in 1904, when he was 6 years old. After a short time in Pennsylvania, they came to Brookside.

When I was growing up, the old world culture was still strong. I vividly remember All Saints' Day in Brookside, with the priest swinging a censer full of strong incense, followed by church members holding banners aloft, as they all marched up Tiger Hill to the only Russian Orthodox cemetery in all of Alabama. As night fell, the cemetery was magically lit with hundreds of candles, one marking every grave.

Our family celebrated an old-style Christmas Eve on January 6th every year, with carolers going from house to house, coming in to sing a few Russian songs and being rewarded with delicious Russian food and wine.

I have been told that my forbears in the old country were very musical, that they played all sorts of instruments by ear. I am proud to continue that tradition.

The onion dome, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

A headstone in the Russian Orthodox Cemetery

The Russian Orthodox cross

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm having to relearn all of my own music!

My first concert since Buddy died is coming up in about a month. I am so pleased to be sharing the stage with my good friend and fellow artists Greg Maroney. Greg and I will be performing our original compositions at a concert benefiting the York (PA) College Nurse Managed Care Centers in York County.

The concert will be Friday, April 30th at 7 PM, at DeMeester Recital Hall on the campus of York College, York, PA.

Greg and I will also be performing that weekend on the Harmony Grove Concert Series: Saturday May 1st at 7PM and Sunday May 2nd at 2PM. Email for tickets. Better hurry, tickets are selling fast.

So I am practicing the piano at least 6 hours a day, not only my own music, but I am also learning (finally) Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit.

This reminds me of a story about pianist Moriz Rosenthal, who was once forced to listen to a prodigy. The conversation went something like this:
"How old are you?"
"Seven, sir."
"What would you like to play for me?"
"Please, sir, the Tchaikovsky concerto, sir."
"Too old!"

To old or not, I'm totally immersed in the Ravel, and Jan has a hard time getting me out of my music studio. In addition, I'm either polishing or keep up a lot of other classical repertoire, plus reviewing the music from Timeless and A Nice Boy From Brooklyn...

Those of you who have seen me in concert know that my wife Jan is one of my favorite subjects. Here's a true story that I especially like to tell:

Several years ago after one of my concerts, a newspaper critic walked up to Jan and asked, " How does it feel to be married to a man who has been touched by the hand of God?"

Jan made the unfortunate mistake of telling me this...

So today, whenever Jan and I have an argument, all I have to say is, "Jan, how DARE you disagree with a man who has been touched by the hand of God?"

Here's a picture of my muse and me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blount Springs

Jan, her mom Lou and I took a day trip to Holly Pond recently. I had never been where Lou grew up, and I wanted to learn more about her heritage. We saw the old home place, the family cemetery, and I learned a lot about her younger years.

There's a lot of farm country there, and I drove past a sign that said, "Bulls for Sale...New or Used". Pretty funny... Sorry I didn't get a picture of it.

We drove through the Blue Hole Village of Blount Springs on the way home. Designed by town planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, it is a lovely place. Duany Plater-Zyberk, by the way, planned the wonderful resort of Seaside, Florida, which holds many great memories for our family.

Jan and I have visited Seaside many times. I've played a couple of concerts there, and we celebrated Jan's parents' 50th anniversary at Seaside. We were there while the Truman Show was being filmed.

Jan and I at one time considered buying property in the Blount Springs community, but what made us decide against it was the local school system. If the developer had opted to build a private school within the village, I'm convinced that Blount Springs would have been a resounding success. That oversight has kept the Blue Hole Village from becoming the vibrant community it might have been. It has everything else going for it. If only they'd asked me... :)

The houses are architecturally very much like those at Seaside - Victorian in style, painted in pastel colors, with tin roofs. I am attaching a photo of the waterfall and lake from the entrance to Blount Springs.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Et tu, Fluté?

A friend of mine, Ekkehard Bonatz, in addition to being a gifted doctor specializing in the hand, is also a fine flute player. He recently recorded a couple of songs at our studio.

With me as his accompanist, he recorded the Bach Siciliano and the Schubert Serenade.

Ekkehard's wife Jill, a fine pianist herself, and physical therapists Susan Brown and Nicki Harris came along to watch. I had invited them so they could see their boss in action. I got to know Susan and Nicki when they measured me for the silver thumb splints, and Ekkehard was the doctor who diagnosed my thumb hyperextension problem. Bill Monk was the engineer at the session, and lo, my "photographer in residence", Virginia Jones magically appeared!

The talented Dr. Bonatz

Susan, Mike, Ekkehard, Jill and Nicki

You can see more of Virginia's beautiful photography on her blog:
Birmingham Alabama Daily Photo. While you're there, you can click on the gnome and see her great photographs of Paris. She is also featured everyday on the cover page of the B-Metro website.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Art Attack

When I was in St. Louis, I got up early Sunday morning so I could go to church. I found a church on the internet, but when I got to it, not only was it in the ghetto, but it was totally deserted.

So, since I wasn't able to worship, I fed my soul in another way. I visited the St. Louis art museum. It's a beautiful place, located in a beautiful setting in Forest Park.

I had a wonderful couple of hours there.
Why not take the tour with me?

A large panel of water lilies by Monet. It must have been 20 feet across.

Cezanne: The Bathers

Degas is one of Jan's favorites. We have a small model of this tiny dancer at home.

The point man on this expedition is, of course, Mr. Seurat

Friday, February 26, 2010

Farewell to a Friend

Gary Robertson

I will be in St. Louis this weekend to pay tribute to my friend Gary Robertson, who died on February 12th, of Multiple Myeloma. He was 62. I am going to play the piano at his memorial service, which will be Sunday, February 28th. I am going to play my compositions The Way Home and Letter From Home, respectively symbolizing his continuing journey and our song of gratitude for his years on this earth. He also requested that I play the John Williams' Hymn to the Fallen from the film Saving Private Ryan.

Gary was a gifted director and playwright. Writing the musical scores for his productions of Equus, Summer and Smoke, and A Streetcar Named Desire will remain highlights of my creative life. I remember so many details from our collaborations: moving sets around at 1 AM in an empty theater: me yelling, tearing my shirt off and kicking the wall because I accidentally erased a wonderful cue, while Gary laughed at my outburst. To see Gary's production of Sunday in the Park with George was an indescribable pleasure.

In addition to his talents, Gary was a wonderful human being, and I was proud to call him my friend. This weekend I will say goodbye to Gary for the last time.

Please pray for his wife Jeanie, their children Jennifer and Sean, and the host of friends Gary had around the world. He will be missed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Business

My buddy and me


We had three inches of snow in Birmingham over the weekend. Jan, Riley and I took a walk on the golf course. Enjoy the pictures......

Got it!!

It's mine!!

Heading home

Friday, February 12, 2010

Veni, Vidi, Video

I came, I saw, I finally got something up on YouTube.

Production value isn't great, but this is what I sound and look like. Sorry about the microphone in the face.

Several more original songs will be on YouTube soon, as well as a few classical pieces.

Oh, and I'll be performing in St. Louis again in May, this time with my friends Joseph Akins and Philip Wesley. Thad Fiscella, whom I have not met, will also be on the bill.

You can see the dates and details of concerts on Eventful.

I have most of the piano recorded for Timeless II, and I am working on the orchestration now. I recently bought a new library of orchestral samples, and it is incredible! Can't wait for you to hear it.

Mike playing the violins for Timeless II

So far, the lineup for Timeless II is:

Rachmaninoff: Vocalise and D Major Prelude
Bach: Siciliano (and maybe the B-flat Partita)
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata
Chopin: E minor Prelude, 2 nocturnes, and the E major Etude
Also the beautiful 2nd mvt. of E minor concerto
Saint-Saens: The Swan

I haven't selected a lullaby yet. Any suggestions?

If I only had my own orchestra I could finish this album in no time. Problem is, I have to play every note of every instrument myself, and every note has to be just right before I can let it go.
I endlessly repeat things that nobody but me will ever notice, so it takes a while. But the upside to it is that this is all music that I love, so it is still a lot of fun.

We're expecting snow for Valentine's Day. That's global warming for you...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Inner Life

Have you ever noticed that the more you get done, the more boring you become? For you non-southerns, "get done" = accomplish.

I'm totally engrossed in the new album now, and when I'm involved in a musical project I tend to block our everything and everybody. I don't mean to, it just happens.

So I really don't have any new, except to tell you that I'm having a wonderful time practicing, arranging and recording music that I love.

Timeless II is taking shape, and I am also practicing hard for some classical performances that are in the works. I'm working on the Prokofiev 7th Sonata- (driving the neighbors crazy with that one), a set of Mendelssohn variations, Mozart Sonata K. 330, couple of Bach transcriptions, a Beethoven sonata, and a nice Rhapsody by the British composer John Ireland, also the Chopin E minor and Beethoven G major concertos.

The rest of my day is spent studying German and Italian, and the Bible of course. No more of this. I can hear you yawning......

Friday, January 29, 2010

Two Thumbs Up!

How do you like my new jewelry?!

Looks like something Elton John might wear, doesn't it? They are actually splints for my thumbs, which have lately had problems with hyperextension...again.

I say again, because I had the same problem in college. At that time I cut two shoe horns to size and taped them to my thumbs while practicing. It worked, and I had no more problems for over 25 years! I really should have patented my "fix", because these silver splints look suspiciously like my old shoe horns of 25 years ago! A month of this and I should be in good shape for another 20-30 years. The great thing is that they in no way impede my playing.

Susan Brown is the wonderful therapist that measured me for my splints. I had a picture of her on my Blackberry, but couldn't transfer the pictures to my computer or my iPhone. The iPhone by the way, makes my Blackberry look like a real dinosaur. Have I already said that? Well, it's true.

Timeless II is coming along. I'll let you hear a sample in a couple of weeks.

By the way, the dates and times for my April concerts in Pennsylvania are set. All three concerts will feature my friend and fellow artist Greg Maroney and me, each of us performing our own original music. Our styles are very different so you get two concerts for the price of one.

Friday, April 30, 2010, 7PM
DeMeester Recital Hall, on the campus of York College, York,PA
You say DeMeester, I say der Meister... =)

Saturday April 31st 7PM
Sunday May 1st 2PM
Harmony Grove Concert Series in Dover, PA
For ticket information please email

Thanks for visiting.
God bless.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday With Ted

On Christmas morning, I received a delightful phone call from a dear friend of mine, Ted Haddin. As a Christmas greeting, he read a Christmas poem that he had written, then dropped the phone and played the beautiful Coventry Carol for me on his 250-year-old violin.

Ted's a true Rennaissance man, with an astonishing range of talents and interests. He is a published author and poet, a former professor at UAB, he taught not only English literature, but Russian, German and French literature as well. He is also a very fine musician and gifted raconteur.

So, bright and early Thursday morning, Virginia Jones ( my new photographer-in-residence, remember?) and I set out to pay Ted a visit at his home. He serenaded us with some old standards, a little Fritz Kreisler, and at Virginia's request, a lovely rendition of La Vie en Rose. I even accompanied him in a performance of a Corelli sonata.

Ted and his violin

If you happen to find yourself in Birmingham on a Friday night, you can catch Ted performing at Nabeel's, a neighborhood restaurant known for its great Mediterranean cuisine.

As our visit came to a close, Ted smiled, and said, "I have a present for you." Imagine my surprise when he handed me an old impossible to find Melodiya recording of Vladimir Ashkenazy playing all the Chopin etudes and Liszt's Mephisto Waltz. Ashkenazy made this recording when he was 17 years old. He plays the etudes in a masterful way, and his performance of the Mephisto Waltz will send chills up your spine. He plays the leaps at the end faster than anyone alive. I always thought he must go to sleep every night with a smile on his face, thinking, "I'm the only one in the world who can do that." I have been looking for this recording for 30 years, and was absolutely bowled over by Ted's thoughtful gift.

Ted dedicated the following poem to me, saying that it was my music that inspired it. I was flattered by his kind and beautiful words.

( for Michael Dulin)

In the afternoon of evening

before morning came

I knew where I was going

down a certain lane,

and then it was morning

and the way I had come

reminded me of singing

I had heard in the evening,

a voice so pure and lovely

carrying itself along

I didn't want it to end

or a single note be wrong.

This singing sang to me

as if it did belong

to everything we know

in all the world's song.
Ted Haddin

Thursday, January 14, 2010


My news will have to wait until Virginia comes back from Paris, which should be in 3 or 4 days. It's terrible to admit that I am so dependant on her for assembling the blog.

Whenever I mention Virginia, I am referring to Virginia Jones, friend, photographer, shipping guru, and toast of three continents (okay, two.)

Perhaps I'll ask her to follow me wherever I go, as my photographer-in-residence. Sort of like Michael Jackson's combination bodyguard/personal magician. No lie, that was his official title.

When I was playing with the Temptations in Las Vegas, Michael Jackson happened to be in Vegas at the same time. Michael LOVES (loved, sorry) Dennis Edwards, and although Michael was afraid to go out in public, he sent his personal magician/bodyguard to our dressing room to pay Michael's respects, and while he was there he did a few magic tricks for us. Wish I could remember his name...

You can check out Virginia's Paris trip by visiting

Come back next week when order has been restored to the universe.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? I have made one – to be more organized.

I seem to spend half my time trying to find the thing that I had in my hand only two minutes ago.

Juggling so many activities – practicing classical piano, practicing my own music, composing, recording, managing and working in two studios plus running the record company – is a real challenge for me, and I often don’t do it very well.

This year I hope to do better…

Virginia, my blogmeister, has left me for a week in Paris. Can you believe that?! I am doing this post myself, hence its brevity - and errors, if you find any. Next week will be a masterpiece, I’m sure. =)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Redux

You've heard of a horse doctor, haven't you? Well our daughter Anna actually IS one - rather an equine vet as she'll be quick to tell you. She is in the middle of a one-year internship at an equine clinic in Florida. She and her dog Tucker spent a few happy days at Christmas with us. Anna is fun and fearless, and we love having her around. We were sad to see her go.....

Here's a shot of our beautiful girl.

Anna in the kitchen on Christmas Day

Now Tucker is a piece of work. He was SUPPOSED to be a full-blooded Bull Mastiff - at least that's what we thought we were buying. By the time we discovered that he was a mutt, (part Bull Mastiff and part Greyhound, at least that's what I think) Anna loved him and wouldn't hear of returning him. Love (hers) trumped outraged sense of justice (mine). Or headstrong daughter trumps doting parents. Take your choice.

Tucker scares Riley to DEATH. Whenever Tucker enters the room, Riley instantly becomes a statue. It's as if he thinks that by standing still he will be invisible. Riley did have one manly moment, though. Tucker tried to nose in on Riley's food and he tore into Tucker with a terrible roar. I cheered him on, but the ladies were very ashamed of Riley for his inhospitable behavior.

Tucker the 10th reindeer, in front of our tree.

I had to look up the number of Santa's reindeer, by the way. I lead a very sheltered life. =)

On December 26th, Jan played reveille about 7 AM and a mere 12 hours later, not a single remnant of the Christmas holidays remained in our house. An archaeologist would swear that Christmas had never existed here. Did I mention that Jan likes to be busy?

I bought myself a new iPhone for Christmas, and I LOVE it! I also surprised Jan with a new 13-inch MacBook Pro. (We also have a couple of Dells, but I use them mainly for target practice.)

Sorry to tell you this, but I am discontinuing the weekly download until Timeless II is finished. I'm in the middle of what Beethoven called a "raptus", so I have to take advantage of the inspiration while it's here.

Happy New Year,
May God bless you richly in 2010.
Welcome to my News Page. This is where you will find up to the minute information about recording projects, new releases, upcoming performances and more. You will want to visit every week because each FridayI will be offering a new original song for you to! In addition, from time to time I will be sharing studio happenings, what I am listening to, favorite books, and glimpses into my personal life. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions on what you would like to know about me and my music.


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