Friday, August 21, 2009

"Abe Torchinsky Remembered" by B.J. Major

(Abe Torchinsky (right) in 1972, talking with George Allen,a teacher at Simon Gratz High School)

"My own brief thoughts on this influential musician:

I had the pleasure to meet Abe decades ago when I was a teenager. I think I was 14 or 15 years old at the time. My own brass instructor at the time, Dr. Donald Reinhardt, took me and my mother to arranger Frank Hunter's home in Newtown, PA. Abe was there with his wife and I remember briefly speaking to him and telling him of my trombone studies at the time. We all had a nice meal together and then left for home. It was a pleasant summer afternoon. I distinctly remember Doc addressing Abe as "Torchy" and they knew each other well as Doc was a substitute trombonist for the Philadelphia Orchestra on and off through his Curtis Institute days.

When I came to work for Apple in 2004, Abe was already a member of our One to One personal training sessions and came faithfully to these sessions each and every week. Very rarely did he call to cancel. I remember talking to him on the phone several times when for one reason or another he was not able to reschedule or book his session from home. A few years ago I got up the nerve to go out and speak to him for a few minutes while he was still in the store. I introduced myself and brought up meeting him at Frank Hunter's home in the late 1960s. He did not remember meeting me that afternoon, but he expressed genuine interest in my music background and I even got a few minutes to show him my music discographies online. He recognized many of the recordings he saw on my artist sites.

It was unusual that a person of Abe's age had such a strong interest in technology, but he did.Through his sessions at the store, we helped him learn to do many different projects -- from the newsletter he continued to write for the Philadelphia Orchestra long after retirement, to converting old films to digital from his early days - priceless footage that might have been lost forever without digitizing it. What I will remember most was his steadfastness in coming to the store, such that he became a de facto part of the store. A few weeks ago I even noticed him handling an iPhone. In the last year, I saw that he was coming to the store in a wheelchair and lost the vision in an eye, which he then wore a patch over. But he kept coming in to learn, despite these difficulties - and that, along with his extraordinary musicianship - is what I will remember about Abe."
-- B.J. Major.
The Music Discographies at -
"Serving up the best internet discographies on select musicians since 1999."

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