I love this photo. Here is Emanuel “Manny” Ax, one of the great pianists of the world, who just performed Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (and played it like a god) standing with Cincinnati Bengals assistant head coach Paul Alexander, right after the Bengals’ win against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium today.
I bumped into Coach at the CSO concert in Cincy on Thursday. I’m not surprised he was there. Besides the Bengals (where he’s also offensive line coach) he’s a dedicated student of classical piano. That’s right. He has even performed in public and written a book: “Perform,” comparing lessons he has learned at the piano with motivation and skill on the field.
As I wrote in my review, it was a joy to hear Ax “perform” so beautifully in the “Emperor.” I was also able to catch him last week for a few minutes for a brief conversation after he arrived in Cincinnati, and was surprised to learn that he gets nervous, just like the rest of us.
I would venture to say, after watching today’s Bengals win and that amazing US Open Final, that sports and music have more in common than meets the eye.