My first composition teacher, Anne Kish, used to tell stories about Dave Brubeck at her house during young composers weekends. She lived across the street from him when both of them were studying with Darius Milhaud.
I don’t remember a lot of the stories but one has always stuck with me. She would say “Milhaud loved David the most of all of us”, and then recount the story of how, when Madeleine Milhaud would go out of town, Dave Brubeck would go over to Milhaud’s house to help him out — Milhaud spent much of his life in a wheelchair due to debilitating arthritis. Dr. Kish would say “David would lift his teacher out of the wheelchair to help him use the toilet. And this, you see, is love.”
We’d listen to Brubeck a lot during those weekends… I’m humbled to be part of this lineage and carry these stories. I suppose if Milhaud is my compositional grandfather, Dave Brubeck is my cool uncle.
Here’s a short film clip with Brubeck discussing Milhaud. RIP, Mr. Brubeck.