My mother, Naomi Miller Coval Apel, was an accomplished pianist and classical music was always being played at home. My piano lessons began at five, with Miss Valentina Gershgorin, who had studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia before the Russian Revolution (1917). Miss Gershgorin also taught my sister, Ilya, and my brother, Larry. For eleven years, under her tutelage, I learned my Hanon scales, Bach, and Beethoven. Miss Gershgorin was a gift in my life and endured my constant improvisations, which I often preferred to the Classics. The one-hour a day I played, for 11 years, gave me musical chops with the keyboard a friend for life.
I discovered jazz at 16 and my musical direction shifted, but the underlying classical foundation always expressed itself through lyrical and atonal expressions. Many hundreds of improvs were recorded between 1970 to the present and a few are offered here.