I Left My Heart in San Francisco for solo piano

One of my oldest friends requested me to play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Not that he and I have ever travelled together to this city of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the cable trolley. I did, however, stay at Queen Anne Hotel before touring the Napa Valley in a rented green convertible Spring of 1997. Years later, I would visit ‘Frisco each consecutive summer for work and play. One of my fondest memories was the sight reading workshop, part of my Call for Scores project.

Jetting into SFO and hopping on the BART was convenient. I still have credit on my BART card from my last trip in 2013, when my Singaporean friend and I took selfies on the steep curves of Lombard Street.

Early in 1998, I visited my sister in San Francisco. I sat for a portrait and was aghast at the pencil sketch she made. “All those wrinkles around the eyes — do I look THAT old?”

Pencil sketch by Frances Ku, San Francisco, 1998

Pencil sketch by Frances Ku, San Francisco, 1998

She replied,”It’s not about how you look but how you feel.”

Indeed, I was feeling quite low on that trip. My boss had told me to take as much time I needed. Was I sad over the passing of my friend Hiroko in Irvine? Was I missing the high life in Houston? Or was it simply the end of a long London winter?

It will take some digging to find a photo of me taken around the time of the sketch. Perhaps my sister will indulge.

In any case, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” is one of the most requested pieces. Everyone knows it. And it’s not only about San Francisco, either.

“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” words by Douglas Cross, music by George Cory.


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