Your host, Ron Brickman….
Ron Brickman’s parents, both raised in Oakland, decided to take advantage of the booming lumber economy of the Sierra foothills to raise their children in the country. A chance opportunity in 1946 led to the purchase of the West Point General Store, which the couple managed until their retirement in the 1970s. With his two brothers and sister, Ron was educated at West Point Elementary School and Calaveras High School. A good student, he entered Stanford University in 1962 and graduated with highest honors in 1966. A longtime friend of his piano teacher, who remained in the diplomatic corps, invited him to work at a small institute of international relations in Paris in 1966-67, and after a year, Ron entered graduate school in political science at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his doctorate in 1972.
Ron retained his interest in France and did his dissertation on reforms in French higher education. This led to his first appointment at the University of Strasbourg, where he remained for four years, specializing in the new interdisciplinary field of social and political influences on science and technology. Ron maintains an extensive network of friends in Europe, both musicians and non-musicians, and is fluent in French.
Ron returned to the US in 1976, taking an appointment at Cornell University. He later was a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and was an intern on the staff of the Commerce Committee of the US House of Representatives. He later taught at the school of management at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and was a consultant to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
A variety of circumstances led him to return to West Point in the early 1990s, with the original intention of staying only a year or so. However, the temptation to remain on the property his piano teacher left him was too compelling, and he has remained in West Point ever since. Besides the extensive renovation of the home and property, he developed a flourishing piano teaching business that drew students from two counties. He became the founder and director of the Mother Lode Friends of Music, now the premier organization of classical music performance in the central region of the Sierra-Nevada foothills.
Ron had continued to study piano with his teacher through high school. From his university years and beyond, the piano remained an important outlet, although he no longer continued formal studies. His years in Strasbourg were particularly important, and the young, gifted musicians he met there became a life-long inspiration. Chamber music became his dominant musical interest while he lived in Washington, DC in the 1980s and he started to attend summer workshops. At this time, he started to amass his collection of chamber music.
Upon founding the Mother Lode Friends of Music, he performs several concerts a year. Every two years he performs a piano solo recital in his home, in large part in homage to his teacher and benefactor. He has accompanied international concert violinists Corina Stoian and Joseph Gold, many ptominrny singers including Alexis Magarò, Daniel Ebbers, Jessica Siena, Joseph Wiggett and Sandra and Chris Bengochea, flutist Laurel Zucker, clarinetist Roman Fukshansky and others. In addition to accompanying and performing chamber music, he has played concertos of Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Schumann and Gershwin with the Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music and other ensembles. In the spring of 2016, he will perform the Concerto for Violin and Piano of Felix Mendelssohn, with Corina Stoian.