A friend of mine in Michigan, who worked closely with a local presenter there, had set up a meeting for me with a New York artist manager, Sherman Pitluck. I didn’t see how this could lead to anything, but [my friends] encouraged me to go ahead, even if it only resulted in crossing another item off my list. To my surprise, Sherman Pitluck turned out to be a quietly friendly but businesslike person who was happy to meet with me. He explained some of the realities of the concert scene and asked if I would like to play for him. An audition for an artist manager, just like that? I had figured that he was doing my friend a favor and hadn’t expected that he would want to hear me play.
Since I had nothing to lose, I played some of the repertoire that I had developed in my many play-throughs. To my amazement, Pitluck seemed immediately interested and suggested that I also audition for his colleague, Mark Bichurin. Bichurin, a large man with a resonant voice and a thick Russian accent, also had a friendly demeanor, liked what he heard, and seemed interested in exploring some possible tours.