Learning piano with the Best Piano Instructor, Mischa Kottler

Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler Thanks to My Dad. This blog is in memory of my father. Much of the content will be in my eulogy for my father, Bernard Ohrenstein. He just passed away at age 97.  Dad was from Poland. He was a survivor from four years in the camps.

Learning piano with Mischa Kottler thanks to my father.
My father, Bernard Ohrenstein, saw to it that I studied with the best piano instructor, Mischa Kottler.

My father saw I had a flare for piano and composing. This was at age 11. He did everything possible to nurture that. I began composing as soon as we got the piano. He arranged for a solo concert of my eastern European flavored music at the local synagogue in Detroit. I was 12 years old when I played the concert.  Later that year wrote a musical play. He arranged for a presentation with renowned Detroit Mi  and Louisville Ky cantor,  Joseph Birnholtz.  I had been studying piano with a Mrs. Foster. At my 1st year recital I played the entire Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven from memory.

Learning Piano With Mischa Kottler

Dad then took me to the best, Mischa Kottler.  Mischa was  considered the finest teacher and prima piano player of Detroit. He headed the piano department at Wayne State University. He was the official pianist of the Detroit Symphony. He had his own radio program with WJR, On it, he played a different program every Sunday. My father paid for my college education and piano lessons with Mischa.

Minute Waltz (Mischa Kottler Version) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziJb4KAcwA
Dec 28, 2013 – Uploaded by Joseph Beels
It gets better: When 1st accepted by Mischa, you were placed on a waiting list. Lessons could even be 2 months apart. So what did my father do?  Being a jeweler, he made a solid gold ring. He then sent the ring to Italy to finest craftsman. The head of Beethoven was carved  intaglio on a sardonyx stone.   Beethoven was set into the ring.  My father’s plan worked. I got regular piano lessons. Mischa wore the ring at every concert he gave. It was his pride and joy.  So what came of my learning piano with Mischa?
  • Even at my current age, I play six nights weekly at the Gasparilla Inn. There, I’ve entertained two American Presidents. Guests have also included members of the British House of Lords. I am currently completing my 8th year.
  • I married a wonderful book writer-lyricist, Sharon Ohrenstein. Together, we write and produce shows. Below are short youtube samples. They are from our newest show entitled, Golden Roads. Thanks to my dad (and mom, of course) I’ve had a wonderful life filled with love and music. My advise to parents with children: Do any of the following: Give them piano lessons. Teach them to sing; or, to play any other instrument. Joy for everyone will follow. Feel free to share this with friends.

2 Comments

  1. Years of unbounded energy and enthusiasm have produced
    fabulous virtuosos. The superb productions/compositions have
    blessed us with a splendid foretaste of “nirvana.”

    /s/ Drs. Ana & Jerome Schmidt

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