My fondest memory of SMU-trained pianist Alessio Bax takes me all the way back to high school. I was fifteen or sixteen, and playing violin in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Right before one of our concerts at the Meyerson, the piano soloist had a family emergency and suddenly dropped out. We were pretty much screwed. Rhapsody in Blue without a pianist? George Gershwin would probably turn over in his grave. But then Alessio Bax came in and saved the day. He was stage-ready after only rehearsing with us once. It was brilliant! I remember thinking, “Wow, this guy is amazing, and he looks like Ewan McGregor.”
According to yesterday’s NYT Diner’s Journal, SMU-trained pianist Alessio Bax is also a fancy schmancy eater. Bax, at 35, is called “a rising star in classical music” by Jeff Gordinier, but – take it from me – he’s already a star. Born and raised in Italy, Bax moved to Dallas in 1994 and studied at SMU. He’s now part of the faculty there.
Here’s a snippet of his interview with the New York Times:
On an Apulian dish he longs for “Fave e cicoria. It’s fava beans, puréed, with bitter greens. We make that here at home. That one really brings me back to my childhood. Not only eating it, but just the smell of the fava boiling.”
On his bottomless stomach “When my mother was feeding me as a kid, she had to use two spoons. Because by the time she would put a spoon down, I would start crying for more food. I’ve been told that I used to open the oven and get food from the oven. And that was very dangerous.”
On a meal he can’t forget “If I have to single out a really memorable experience, it was probably a Kyoto-style meal in Japan — two of them, actually, in Tokyo. It was fantastic. What I liked was that it was about subtlety. It was all about matsutake mushrooms. They were in season. The first thing I could think about is music, where you really have to go deep inside it to know it.”