I usually think about preparing myself. One of my better performances was when I had no time to do anything after rehearsing but get dressed and go on! Dark chocolate, I guess that’s the new ritual, and cola. I did find that a bagel and cream cheese was a nice fuel that went down easy. Heavy food is not good.
I definitely think about making a transition. One is a persona as a soloist, not your ordinary self. You are making magic. I think about cleansing, leaving thoughts behind, dedicating the space, what I want to achieve, mostly what I want the audience to experience. I create a space for them. I tune to them like the harp, and with my program carefully arranged, I serve them a series of delights and stimulations until they are brought to their feet in ovation (or exiting). In fact, my record for standing ovations since I began programming very deliberately for them has been something like 9 out of 10 recitals. I messed up the last one because I ended with Salzedo’s Suite of Eight Dances instead of his Recessional, which has a very rousing ending. The Rumba is not rousing enough.