I was an unsophis
ticated boy from South Carolina who had no idea how to con
duct myself in the com
pany of distin
ed people, such as the philan
thropist Miss Alice Tully
Albert made it possible for me to play the organ in Alice Tully Hall in private recitals during the days when there were no rehearsals. She often took the time to have lunch with me after in her building or the Café des Artistes; those times with Miss Tully are some of the fondest memories I have of my years in New York.
Albertus Magnus, as he was sometimes known, taught me how to cook—and more importantly how to eat; how to discern the qualities of a fine red wine or an outstanding champagne; how to conduct myself at a cocktail party or a Thanksgiving dinner with the likes of Ned Rorem at Miss Tully's country house.
It is not an overstatement to profess that I am today in large part who I am because of the years I spent with him in the organ studio, the churches where I played my recitals, the restaurants where we dined, and most importantly, in his West 67th Street apartment. I will always miss him and be grateful to the man who changed my life more than any other. Albert, may your soul rest in peace.