Golden Inspiration: Irving Field's Life on Stage

By Katie Gilbert

Irving Fields plays the piano faster than you can type on your keyboard. In his video, his voice comes on over the sound of him playing saying, "I am Irving Fields. I’m 99 years young. I’m a professional pianist [sic], composer, songwriter, publisher, vocal coach, frustrated comedian. I love humor. I didn’t like it when I first started to play at 8 years old. Ya know why? Boring scales!” This senior has a lot to teach us about enjoying life. 

Early Life

Even though Irving Fields complained about playing the piano when he first started, he went on to learn melodies and fell in love with making people happy while performing for them. His passion and talent lead him to win his first competition at 15 with the Fred Allen Radio Amateur Hour, granting him a week to perform at the Roxy Theater in New York City. From there, he went on to join the Eastman School of Music and began to perform classical piano on cruise ships.  

It wasn't until he was 18, ten years after he started playing the piano, that Irving developed his signature style. He was earning $10 a week on a cruise ship and became attracted to Latin music, playing fast and fun songs, which he is now known for. Starting with an octet in New York at the Savoy Lounge in the New York Plaza hotel, Irving began to play the Mexican hot foot and Havana for audiences. 

Irving Field's Life on Stage

Even when Irving was drafted into the US Army in 1941 during WWII, he managed to continue performing. He found a place in the "Special Services." His role? Entertaining the troops by playing the piano for them. You could say that he was able to use his musical talents even while serving his country.

Now, 74 years later, he continues to play Latin music and to create mash-ups of songs for audiences. Still performing eight decades later, Irving can now be found at local New York City cabarets, restaurants, and rooms, where he continues to entertain music fans.

The amazing thing is that Irving has continued playing this long without losing his charisma and passion for performing so apparent in his records from  1930s and 40s. When you find his videos on YouTube, or see him live in New York, you can still see how much fun he has at his piano seat as his smiles and winks at the camera.

He explained his passion in an interview saying, "I've had such a wonderful life and I can hope that it will go on and on and on and on and on. People appreciate my music and I love what I do. I do what I love and I never want to retire — never — because I make people happy and it makes me happy.

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Tags: Golden Inspirations

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