What it Takes to be a Successful Concert Artist: Conversations with World Renowned Musicians

By Rebecca Jackson

Introduction How does one become a successful concert artist? During my twenty one years of studying and performing as a violinist I continue to witness many like myself spend tireless hours trying to master the great works. Besides the obvious requirement of work on your craft I have always been curious of other factors present in the journey musicians take to establish their success.

Why become a classical musician in the first place? Odds don't seem to be stacked in our favor. At first glance, what you see on stage may seem glamorous. Hundreds of people flock to watch and listen to beautiful music performed effortlessly. Paganini, Liszt, Heifetz, and Horowitz are some of the legendary performers that come to mind. Despite the initial attraction, the life of a musician is strewn with difficulties and unpredictabilities. Leila Josefowicz said, “The lifestyle of this whole business is awful. I'll not mince words about that.”1 The unattractive aspects I have observed create a substantial list: (1) It is a life led in solitude within the four walls of a practice room. While I was studying at Juilliard the average daily practice session was between five and eight hours. And this is a ritual that begins very early in life. (2) Musicians spend equal if not more time studying than doctors and yet “starving artist” depicts the characteristically
1 Violin Virtuosos, Mary VanClay ed. (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 20. 1

little money we earn. (3) One endures constant scrutiny. Even the note-perfect Heifetz made Dallas front-page news, “HEIFETZ FORGETS,” when music came to a stop during the Sibelius Violin Concerto.2 (4) Perfectionism is a common trait making it rare to feel completely satisfied with one's performance. (5) Often times musicians live life out of a suitcase, in and out of hotel rooms and airports. And finally, (6) much of the public fear death more than public speaking.3 Musicians handle such stress of public performance on a regular basis.

Cliburn, in retirement, was once told by an interviewer that his friends “didn't see how Cliburn could be happy unless he returned to the concert stage”; he “roared with laughter” and shouted “Try me!” Asked how it felt to play his final concert, in 1978, Cliburn replied, “The one thing I felt when I got off the stage was: I don't have to do this anymore.”4

Job availability in orchestras is rare and with the growing number of musicians the competition is fierce. During my December 2006 audition for the San Francisco Opera Orchestra there were two openings in the first violin section and approximately seventy people auditioned. Not only are the openings rare, many orchestras are on the verge of bankruptcy, many having collapsed already. In chamber music, specifically string quartets, there are only about three groups that can solely live off of what they make from performances. The string quartet repertoire is some of the most beloved but unfortunately the demand is not very high. In the most competitive world of soloist, many go to the top international competitions to get try to get their start. In the case of the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition, violinists are required to prepare an amount of repertoire that most musicians struggle to learn in a lifetime. They also must learn a
2 Joseph Horowitz, Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005): 338. 3 Emily Krone “Studies Show Public Speaking Tops Death on Lists of People's Greatest Fears,” Daily Herald [Arlington Heights, IL]. 13 December 2005, p. 3. 4 Joseph Horowitz, Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005): 356. 2

new commissioned piece in two weeks.

Even with all these seemingly insurmountable circumstances I can say without a doubt I feel privileged to be a musician and whole-heartedly love what I do. Aside from the obvious necessity to practice my instrument, I have found it invaluable to converse with some of the world's most successful about their personal paths. In the following pages you will hear mostly from violinists but also conductors, singers, and a cellist. Many of the musicians came from abroad to study and expand their careers in the United States. In a recent article one discovers the continued dominance of non-American's in this field.

Baltimore Symphony named Marin Alsop music director... This has been big news in the usually somnolent world of classical music for a number of reasons: First, Alsop, 48, is the first woman to take the top artistic job at a major American orchestra. Second, she's American born and trained, in a field still dominated by Europeans. Third, she's made her reputation conducting new, unusual and often American music. Fourth, she's a working jazz violinist and has boldly crossed over idioms in the inner sanctum of classical subscription series.5

Returning to the quote by Ms. Josefowicz I add her next few words, “The lifestyle of this whole business is awful. I'll not mince words about that. So what you end up truly living for is the music.”6 Background In an attempt to quench my curiosity I conducted a series of personal, phone and email

5 Tom Strini. “All ears turn to new director of Baltimore Symphony,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online, (July 24, 2005), <http://www.jsonline.com/> (accessed 12 May 2007). 6 Violin Virtuosos, Mary VanClay ed. (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 20. 3

interviews with world renowned musicians. In addition to those I conducted, I have also added extra interviews whenever I found answers addressing questions I asked in this study. Following are the dates that I conducted the interviews along with the musicians' biographies.

I conducted a personal interview with Laura Albers on May 6, 2007. Colorado native, Laura Albers, is the Associate Concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. She began studying Suzuki violin with her mother, Ellie LeRoux, at the age of two. Laura performed regularly with her parents and three siblings, and at the age of eight spent a month in Japan studying with Dr. Suzuki. From an early age, she loved the stage and soloed with many Denver-area orchestras. Laura received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, where she studied with Donald Weilerstein and Ronald Copes. In Cleveland she worked extensively with the Cavani Quartet and Peter Salaff in the Intensive Quartet Seminar and as an assistant music therapist in the Cleveland University Hospitals. Laura also spent time in Cuernavaca, Mexico playing viola in pianist Sergei Babyon’s festival. While attending Juilliard, Laura toured with the Astor String Quartet and the Wild Ginger Philharmonic, and taught Suzuki violin at the Diller-Quaile School of Music. During the summertime, Laura returned to the mountains for the Aspen Music Festival and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge. She and her sister, cellist Julie Albers, performed the Brahms Double Concerto with the NRO. They also recorded the Kodaly Duo together in Munich for the Bayerischer Rundfunk. More recently she has spent summers performing in Rhode Island’s Newport Music Festival and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California. Laura began her job at the San Francisco Opera the fall after she graduated from Juilliard. In addition to the opera, she is a member of the Albers Trio, a string trio with sisters Becca and Julie. In addition to the opera, Laura performs in the bay area with the Broderick Ensemble and the Empyrean Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City and Sarasota Opera in Florida. Laura volunteers for California Pacific Medical Center’s Soothing
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Sounds program, bringing music to patients, visitors and employees. She enjoys studying languages and creating culinary delights. Laura is an age group triathlete and spends most of her free time training.

I conducted a personal interview with David Arben on May 10, 2007. David Arben, associate concertmaster emeritus of the Philadelphia Orchestra, obtained his early musical education at the Chopin Academy of Music in his native Warsaw, Poland. He continued his studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Switzerland. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Efrem Zimbalist. Mr. Arben's solo career has taken him to many European countries, the far east, Mexico and South America, as well as the United States. His numerous solo appearances with orchestras includes those with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, the Orchestra de la Suisse Romand, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, and others. He was heard as joint soloist with Henryk Szeryng in the Bach Double Concerto in Nice, France and also with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center. M r. Arben has given many solo recitals, radio and television broadcasts, and chamber music performances, and has been acclaimed by the press as an artist of the highest calibur.

I conducted a personal interview with Luis Biava on May 12, 2007. Luis Biava has been associated with The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1968, when he joined the ensemble as a member of the second violin section. He was first asked to act as a cover conductor in 1985, and has served as conductor in residence since 1994. He stepped down as principal second violin at the end of the 1999-2000 season, having played as a member of the Orchestra for more than three decades. Luis Biava began his musical training in his native Colombia with his father, who was director of one of the country's leading conservatories, located in Barranquilla.

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He attended the National Conservatory in Bogotá, and later earned a master of music degree in conducting from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he privately studied violin with Joseph Fuchs. He also attended the Accademia di St. Cecilia in Rome, where he studied with Pina Carmirelli. Prior to joining The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Biava was a member of the National Symphony in Washington D.C. from 1963-68. He has also served as concertmaster and associate conductor of the Colombia Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Biava joined the second violin section of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1968, moving to the first violin section the following year. In 1981, he was appointed music director of the National Orchestra of Colombia and spent the 1983-84 season in Bogotá. He subsequently returned to Philadelphia to assume the position of principal second violin. In 1985 he was asked by Riccardo Muti to serve as standby conductor for Associate Conductor William Smith. During the 1992-93 season he was appointed acting assistant conductor of the Orchestra, and made his subscription debut in April 1993 at the invitation of Music Director Wolfgang Sawallisch. He conducted the Orchestra’s entire series of education concerts during the 1993-94 season. Luis Biava became conductor in residence of The Philadelphia Orchestra at the start of the 1994-95 season. Highlights of his recent appearances with the Orchestra include leading the world premiere of a work for computer and orchestra by Roger Reynolds in October 1997, and the introduction of special-event programs for April Fool's Day and for the Christmas holiday season. In addition to his work with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Biava has served since 1985 as music director of the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia and, since 1986, as music director of the orchestral programs at Temple University, including directing the Temple Youth Chamber Orchestra from the Center for Gifted Young Musicians. In 1995, he led the Temple Symphony Orchestra in the Philadelphia-area premiere of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1. He regularly plays first violin with the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble, and has been featured as a guest conductor in both Latin America and Europe, appearing with such ensembles as the Accademica Napolitana Orchestra and the Municipal Orchestra of São Paulo. Luis Biava has received many awards throughout his career. He was
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awarded the rank of Commendatore in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and the Medal of San Carlos, in the rank of Official, from the President of the Republic of Colombia. In 1992, he received The Philadelphia Orchestra’s C. Hartman Kuhn Award, given annually to “a musician who has shown both musical ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the musical standards and reputation of The Philadelphia Orchestra.”

I conducted a personal interview with Victor DeRenzi on May 14, 2007. 2007-08 marks Victor DeRenzi’s 26th season as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Sarasota Opera. As Sarasota’s Principal Conductor Maestro DeRenzi has produced over 70 different operas, conducting over 400 performances. He has devoted much of his career to building Sarasota Opera while continuing to conduct nationally and internationally. Maestro DeRenzi has appeared across the United States, with Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as at the St. Louis, Toledo and New Orleans operas. Internationally he has worked in many Canadian cities (most recently at L’Opéra du Montréal), Hong Kong, Nice and the Canary Islands. He has conducted much of Verdi’s non-operatic music and Sarasota Opera’s I due Foscari in March 2007, will mark the 25th different Verdi opera he has conducted. Maestro DeRenzi’s artistic vision, expressed in Sarasota through the Verdi Cycle and the Masterworks Revival Series, has consistently garnered Sarasota Opera international attention as a place to experience rarely performed operatic works. This growth in artistic reputation has been matched in many other areas as well. Under DeRenzi’s leadership, Sarasota Opera has created important educational and outreach activities. The year-round activities of the Sarasota Youth Opera Program introduce young people, ages of 9 to 18, to all aspects of opera. The program constitutes a remarkable learning and performing opportunity with four Youth Opera Choruses and an annual production of a professionally staged opera with young people performing. In 2006 the Youth Opera presented performances of Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane. Maestro DeRenzi’s interest in the training of professional singers led to the founding of Sarasota
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Opera’s Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Chosen from national auditions, the participants in the Apprentice Artists Program form the chorus for the main stage opera productions and perform outreach programs. Recently Maestro DeRenzi returned to the Canary Islands in Spain to conduct Un Ballo in Maschera. He followed these performances with a debut at the Spoleto Festival, USA for their finale concert. Although Maestro DeRenzi is a noted Verdi and Puccini conductor, his repertorie includes operas by Janá_ek, Mozart, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, and Stravinsky, among others. For Sarasota Opera’s 2008 season he will conduct Verdi's Rigoletto and I Due Foscari. Through the Verdi Cycle, which he began in 1989, Maestro DeRenzi and Sarasota Opera are committed to performing the entire canon of Verdi’s works in Sarasota by 2013, the bicentennial of Verdi's birth.

I conducted a personal interview with Cho-liang Lin on May 14, 2007. Taiwanese-American violinist Cho-Liang Lin is lauded the world over for the eloquence of his playing and for the superb musicianship that marks his performances. Renowned for appearances as a soloist with major orchestras, he is also frequently heard in recital and in chamber music. Musical America named Mr. Lin its Instrumentalist of the Year in 2000. During the current year, M r. Lin continues his wide-ranging musical activities. Performing on four continents, he appears as soloist with orchestras in Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Canada and the United States. Apart from conventional repertoire, Mr. Lin continues his advocacy for contemporary music by presenting the world premiere of Taiwanese composer Gordon Chin’s Double Concerto with cellist Felix Fan with the San Diego Symphony conducted by Jahja Ling as well as Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s Three Fantasies at the Library of Congress with pianist Andre-Michel Schub. This summer, he will perform at festivals in Aspen, Ravinia, Santa Fe and Naantali, Finland. As artistic director of La Jolla SummerFest for the sixth
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summer, the Los Angeles Times stated that M r. Lin “has put together another bracing and provocative series.” In his capacity as music director, he has helped commission and premiere works by Chen Yi, Chick Corea, Philip Glass, John Harbison, Mark O’Connor, Esa-Pekka Salonen among others. As a solo artist, he has premiered concerti by Tan Dun, Joel Hoffman, Christopher Rouse, Elie Siegmeister, Bright Sheng, George Tsontakis, George Walker and Chen Yi. Cho-Liang Lin has recorded for Sony Classical, Decca, Ondine and BIS. His albums have won such awards as Gramophone’s Record of the Year, as well as two Grammy Award nominations. On Sony Classical, his discography includes standard violin repertoire such as concerti ranging from Mozart to Stravinsky as well as chamber music of Brahms, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Debussy and Ravel. For Decca, he recorded the Concerto for Violin and Guitar by Aaron Jay Kernis with Sharon Isbin, conductor HughWolff and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. For BIS, he recorded Chen Yi’s concerto Folk Dance Suite. His recording of the concerto by Christopher Rouse on Ondine was recently named one of the best classical releases of 2004 by The New York Times. His current recording projects include Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with International Sejong Soloists and Anthony Newman, music of Austrian composer/conductor Georg Tintner with pianist Helen Huang scheduled for release this autumn on Naxos. Born in Taiwan in 1960, Cho-Liang Lin began his violin lessons when he was 5 years old. At the age of 12, he went to Sydney to continue his musical studies. His early teachers include Sylvia Lee and Robert Pikler. Inspired by an encounter with Itzhak Perlman while in Sydney, he arrived in New York in 1975 to audition for Mr. Perlman’s teacher, the late Dorothy DeLay, at the Juilliard School. Within two years of his enrollment, Mr. Lin won the first Queen Sofia Violin Competition in Madrid and his concert career was soon launched. He has been a member of the Juilliard faculty since 1991 and resides in New York with his wife and daughter.

I conducted an email interview with Sheldon Morgenstern on April 27, 2007. Sheldon Morgenstern is Music Director Emeritus of the Eastern Music Festival, where he
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received two ASCAP programming awards. He was on the conducting staff at the New England Conservatory and was Principal Guest Conductor of orchestras in Budapest, Seville, and Warsaw, as well as Interim Music Director of the Mississippi State Symphony. He continues to pursue an active conducting and teaching career, and lives in France.

I conducted a phone interview with Elmar Oliveira on May 27, 2007. Among his generation’s most honored artists, Elmar Oliveira remains the first and only American violinist to win the Gold Medal at Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Competition. He is also the first violinist to receive the coveted Avery Fisher Prize, in addition to capturing First Prizes at the Naumburg international Competition and the G.B. Dealey Competition. M r. Oliveira has become a familiar and much-admired figure at the world’s foremost concert venues. His rigorous international itinerary includes appearances in recital and with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Zurich Tonhalle, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Leipzig, Gewandhaus Orchestras; the New York, Helsinki, Los Angeles and London Philharmonic Orchestras; and the San Francisco, Saint Louis, Boston, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. He has also extensively toured the Far East, South America, Australia and New Zealand. M r. Oliveira’s upcoming engagements include performances at the Amelia Island Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and with the orchestras of Detroit, Rochester, Honolulu, Seattle, Chattanooga, Puerto Rico and Buffalo, guest appearances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and several recitals. Mr. Oliveira’s repertoire is among the most diverse of any of today’s preeminent artists. While he has been hailed for his performances of the standard violin literature, he is also a much sought-after interpreter of the music of our time. He has premiered works by such distinguished composers as Krysztof Penderecki, Morton Gould, Ezra Laderman, Charles Wuorinen, Joan Tower, Aaron Kernis, Andrzej Panufnik, Benjamin Lees, Nicholas Flagello, Leonard Rosenman, Hugh Aitken, and Richard Yardumian. He has also performed seldom-heard
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concerti by Alberto Ginastera, Einoujuhani Rautavaara, Joseph Achron, Joseph Joachim, and many others. A prodigious recording artist, Elmar Oliveira was a Grammy nominee for his CD of the Barber Concerto with Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony. His discography on Artek, Angel, SONY Masterworks, Vox, Delos, IMP, Naxos, Ondine, and Melodiya ranges widely from works by Bach and Vivaldi to the Present. His best-selling recording of the Rautavaara Violin Concerto with the Helsinki Philharmonic (Ondine) won a Cannes Classical Award and has appeared on Gramophone’s “Editor’s Choice” and other Best Recordings lists around the world. Other recordings include the Brahms and Saint-Saens B minor Concerti with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony (Artek), the Respighi B minor and Pizzeti A Major Violin Sonatas (Artek), “Favorite Encores” with pianist Robert Koenig (Artek), The three Brahms Sonatas with pianist Jorge Federico Osorio (Artek), the Joachim Concerto “in the Hungarian Manner” with the London Philharmonic (IMP) and the Tower Concerto (written for him) with the Louisville Orchestra (d’Note), the Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet, and the Lekeu Sonata (Biddulph). Of great historical significance are two unique projects: a CD released by Bein & Fushi of Chicago, featuring Mr. Oliveira performing on some of the world’s greatest violins (fifteen Stradivaris and fifteen Guarneri del Gesus), and a recording of short pieces highlighting the rare violins from the collection of the Library of Congress. The son of Portuguese

immigrants, Mr. Oliveira was nine when he began studying the violin with his brother John. He later continued his studies with Ariana Bronne and Raphael Bronstein at the Hartt College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, where Mr. Oliveira also received an honorary doctorate. Other honors include an honorary doctorate from Binghamton University and the Order of Santiago, Portugal’s highest civilian honor. He has served on the juries of some of the most prestigious violin competitions, including the Montreal, Indianapolis, Naumburg, and Vianna da Motta. Elmar Oliveira performs on an instrument known as the “Stretton,” made ca. 1729-30 by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, and on several other violins by outstanding
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contemporary makers. M r. Oliveira is a Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida.

I conducted a personal interview with Suzy Perelman on May 14, 2007. Violinist Suzy Perelman began her study of the violin at age 6 in the Philadelphia public schools. At age 8, she enrolled at Settlement Music School for private lessons with Lee Snyder who remained Suzy’s teacher for the next 7 years. Suzy then attended the Cleveland Institute of Music (where she received a Bachelor in Music in 1994), Case Western Reserve University (Bachelor of Science in Music Education , 1995), and Carnegie Mellon University (Master of Music, 1998). Her teachers were Linda Cerone, Bernie Goldshmidt, David Updegraff, David Russell, and Andrés Cardenes. Following school, Suzy played for 1 year with the Utah

Symphony in Salt Lake City, and then for 5 years with the San Antonio Symphony. She left San Antonio to become the concertmaster of The Phantom of the Opera national tour, with whom she traveled for 2 years. Suzy moved to NY 2 years ago and became the assistant concertmaster for the Broadway show Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Suzy is a member of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and can also be heard playing in several other orchestras in the NY and Philadelphia areas. Suzy is the assistant concertmaster of the Broadway show “LoveMusik”, featuring the music of Kurt Weill. Suzy is a trained Suzuki Violin teacher and is frequently asked to serve as a guest clinician at various workshops and institutes throughout the country. She is

very proud of her 18 young private students. When not practicing, performing, or teaching, Suzy enjoys rollerblading, doing trapeze, playing games, Israeli folk dancing, emailing, TRAVELING, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

I conducted a phone interview with Arnold Steinhardt on May 4, 2007.
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Arnold Steinhardt was born in Los Angeles, receiving his early training from Karl Moldrem, Peter Meremblum and Toscha Seidel, and making his solo debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at age 14. He continued his studies with Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute of Music and with Joseph Szigeti in Switzerland in 1962 under the sponsorship of George Szell. Winner of the Philadelphia Youth Competition in 1957, the 1958 Leventritt Award, and Bronze Medalist in the Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition in 1963, M r. Steinhardt has appeared throughout North America and Europe as a recitalist and soloist with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others. Mr. Steinhardt is first violinist and a founding member (1964) of the internationally acclaimed Guarneri String Quartet with which he has made innumerable tours across the globe and recorded dozens of albums for RCA Victor, Philips, Arabesque and Surrounded by Entertainment. He is professor of violin at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, the University of Maryland, and the Curtis Institute of Music where he has directed the Curtis Orchestra in several concerts including an appearance on French television. Arnold Steinhardt is the author of two books, Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the fall of 1998, and Violin Dreams, a personal memoir and "love letter to the violin," published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006. He is the author of articles which have appeared in Chamber Music America, Musical America and Keynote. Recipient of Honorary Doctorates from the University of South Florida and Harpur College, Arnold Steinhardt has also received an award for distinguished cultural service from the City of New York presented by Mayor Koch. Mr. Steinhardt's recordings include Romantic Music for Violin and Piano which he recorded "direct-to-disc" with pianist Lincoln Mayorga for the audiophile Sheffield label, an album of music for violin and piano by women composers on Northeastern Records; and a TownHall label recording of unaccompanied Bach works. Steinhardt's latest CD of Robert Fuchs' music on Biddulph recordings features him on both violin and viola with his brother Victor as pianist. Arnold Steinhardt plays a Lorenzo Storioni violin
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from Cremona, Italy, late 18th century.

I conducted an email interview with Lisa Sutton on May 27, 2007. Lisa Sutton, violinist, is a native of Vancouver, Canada, where she began her musical studies at an early age on piano and violin. During high school she studied with Canadian virtuoso Steven Staryk, and performed as concertmaster and soloist with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Having been awarded grants from both the British Columbia Cultural Fund and Canada Council for the Arts, she entered the Yale School of Music as a performance major. While at Yale she was a prize winner in the Sprague Woolsey Competition and performed as a soloist with the Yale Philharmonia. Ms. Sutton holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University, and studied there with Broadus Erle, Syoko Aki and Szymon Goldberg. Currently Ms. Sutton resides in Altadena, California, and is the Assistant Concertmaster for the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. She also works as a recording musician in the motion picture and television industry. For many years she was a Principal player with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as Associate Concertmaster with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to living in Los Angeles, Ms. Sutton was a member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

I conducted a phone interview with Donald Weilerstein on June 3, 2007. Donald Weilerstein has concertized extensively as soloist and chamber musician throughout the world. For twenty years (1969-1989) Mr. Weilerstein was the first violinist of the renowned Cleveland Quartet with whom he toured the world. His recordings with the quartet can be heard on the RCA, Telarc, CBS, Phillips, and Pro Arte labels. These recordings have earned seven Grammy nominations and won Best of the Year awards from Time and Stereo Review. He was a member of the Young Concert Artists and a participant in the Marlboro Music Festival, performing on several "Music from Marlboro" Tours. In 1968 he won the Munich International
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Competition for violin and piano duo. Mr. Weilerstein has taught and performed at such major American and European music festivals as Tanglewood, Caramoor, Aspen, Ravinia, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Salzburg, Luzern, Verbier, Ishikawa, Keshet Eilon, "Chamber Music Encounters" sponsored by La Cité de la Musique and the Paris Conservatory, and many more. He regulary particpates in theYellow Barn Music Festival and the Perlman Music Program. He will teach in Shanghai,China this summer as part of the Morningside Music Bridge. Formerly a professor of violin and chamber music at the Eastman School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he is currently on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. His students have been prize winners in major national and international competitions, including first prizes in the Indianapolis, Naumburg and Hanover competitions and second prize in the Queen Elizabeth Competition. His students can be heard in many of today's leading orchestras and chamber ensembles. Mr. Weilerstein is also a faculty member at the Juilliard School.

My enthusiasm for this project led me to invest in trips to New York, Philadelphia, and around California. Due to the busy nature of a performers' schedule, interviews with Roy Malan (Concertmaster of San Francisco Ballet), Midori (renowned soloist), and Aaron Rosand (renowned soloist) have been scheduled for a later date. In addition to the hours of travel and conducting interviews, there were many more hours spent transcribing their words. This has become a project that I plan to expand either in written form or on film.

My research may be subjective- Cho-liang Lin refers to such issues as the “intangibles” in the music business- but I believe extremely valuable for all music lovers but especially for those interested in pursuing a concert career. I have a high respect and admiration for all those who contributed. They share a profound love and devotion to their art. I am grateful for their service to the field and generosity towards my research.
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Interviews Question 1 What is your definition of a successful concert artist?

Victor DeRenzi: You start off tough [chuckles]. For me it is a person who gets to perform music in a way they want to in places they want to. I think the most important thing is the way they want to.7

Arnold Steindhardt: Somebody who has succeeded in getting people to hire him or her to play concerts with the result that people walk away feeling happy or at least more fulfilled by the experience.8

Suzy Perelman: The first thing that comes to mind is someone who makes the bulk of their living performing and that is usually the result of a very spirited performer who has something to say with their music, who has done their homework throughout the years and plays not only with that beautiful spirit but with cleanliness and precision.9

Lisa Sutton: Someone who is earning a living in their desired profession.10

Sheldon Morgenstern: Someone who performs in such a manner as to attract sufficient interest for engagement by orchestras, and, more importantly someone who continues to strive for improvement throughout their career.11
7 8 9 10 11 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 16

Mark Summer: There's success on a lot of levels. There's financial success which is the ability to support yourself and your family if you have one. Definitely artistic success: feeling inspired to keep growing as a musician and as an artist. There's success in terms of what you're contributing to society. In [Turtle Island String Quartet's] case the string community, creating opportunities for people to join what you're doing. One of the levels that I feel really pleased with my success is that other cellists are playing my music- something I never imagined. And it's confusing to me because my ego is very happy on one level and my critical self is saying, “Why are they playing my music? They should be playing such and such.” Ultimately I'm really pleased with anything I do to inspire other string players, especially young string players.12

Luis Biava: Performing beautifully on stage, whether it's a concerto or recital with sonatas. Personal satisfaction is also to produce a lot of good music, not just to play the notes. In addition, to play for an audience that appreciates what you do. You can feel that on stage. In performance I don't think there is a definitive idea that, “This was great.” We never think that way. If you want to make progress as a musician we consider that we could always do better. I don't know there is an ideal situation for a successful concert artist because we're always thinking of doing better.13

Cho-liang Lin: When I was younger, just out of college, I would have said that a successful concert career would mean that you were regularly engaged by the top tier orchestras around the world, had recording contract of substance, solo albums, and recitals around the world. A few years ago there was a New York Times profile on Yo Yo Ma. He was trying to define success. What he said provoked so many different reactions from my colleagues who read that article. Yo Yo said that real success is how fulfilling your musical endeavors are, in that if you practice
12 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 13 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 17

towards a particular end the process of trying to achieve that goal can already be a very fulfilling experience. In that sense, it's already a success. Some of my colleagues said, “That's great. It's so philosophical.” And then other colleagues said, “Yes. Well, that's easy for Yo Yo to say.” [laughter] To this day I'm grappling with [what a successful concert artist is]. Artistic venues have changed so much. Let's take for example my definition of a successful concert career 25 years ago. It's no longer viable for everybody. Let's use violinists for instance... they use

different, sometimes unconventional venues to promote a career. For instance some will play and actively promote contemporary music. I know some of these colleagues that are true believers of new music. They genuinely love it. At the same time I've talked to managers who worry about these very artists saying, “You know so and so? She's carving a real niche for herself but perhaps in the wrong area. She'll be identified forever as a contemporary music violinist. Nobody will every want her to play Brahms or Beethoven.” Everybody has different worries. I now have a much broader view and definition of what is a successful concert career because I think you can find great joy and reward in becoming a respected teacher. You can carve a very significant niche in your community by advocating concert activities and musical education. Some of my

colleagues have become administrators. Even I have become an administrator in the sense that I have a music festival in San Diego. [Musicians] branch out in all sorts of ways. To deviate from violinists for a second, let me share about two cellists. Matt Haimovitz's career had a great beginning. At 18 or 19 he was recording for Deutsch Gramophone with Levine and Chicago Symphony. Then something changed. His name was no longer on the concert billboards and next thing I knew I read in the New York Times that he was playing at pizza parlors around the country. He played anything from George Crumb to Bach. He seems to be happy doing whatever he is doing. Then there is David Finckel who already has a great quartet established, the Emerson. He finds additional fulfillment in running Music at Menlo as well as Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center. So, in a way, I think everybody gets his or her thrills differently and I think the old definition that I mentioned earlier no longer suffice. Also, when
18

you become a respected member of a tremendous top rank orchestra there's a lot of pride in that too. There's such a broad range of possibilities that I hate painting anybody into a niche saying, “This is the only way you can be ranked as successful.”14

Donald Weilerstein: I don’t think of it as being successful or unsuccessful but more what would be a fulfilled person doing this kind of work. A successful, or fulfilled, concert artist would be one that can directly communicate and move and inspire his listeners. One condition of being a

successful concert artist is whether they have something to say. It's not so much the size of the venue. Another aspect is performing in the community, communicating with children and reaching as many people as possible. The first thing is the ability to communicate. To reach people in any venue is a wonderful thing, whether it be in schools or nursing homes. It's also wonderful if they can teach and inspire others. I do think they have to be moved by what they are doing and really communicate that with people. Some people are able to teach more easily than others are. I don’t think a person would have to be a teacher to be fulfilled or successful as a concert artist, although it’s wonderful if the two can go together.15

David Arben: What one aspires to become in life... You must be very much in love with the music or the instrument that you play and be totally dedicated. And then you have to have luck. When you have both [dedication and luck] you have to have a lot of patience. Through hard work, patience and luck, it is possible for some to make it. There are many wonderful artists and great talents. Not that they don't deserve [a great career] but things in life happen that make it unachievable.16

14 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 15 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 16 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 19

Question 2 What were/are the key factors to establishing your success as a concert artist?

Elmar Oliveira: I grew up in a household where music, especially the violin, was something that was very special. My father had such a love for the instrument. My mother did as well but for my father it was almost an obsession. Of course he adored Heifetz. There was always music in the home and specifically violin music, more so than anything else. Also, my brother was a professional violinist. He was 11 years older than me and played with the Houston Symphony for 20 years and in other orchestras. He was my mentor as I was growing up. He watched over me, the way I practiced, what I did, so that was a great help. So, having that support all the time in the home was one of the most important things for developing my love and discipline for the violin. My schooling stems from the Russian Leopold Auer school. My main teacher was Raphael Bronstein, from the time I was 13. He was a pupil of Auer in the same class as Nathan Milstein... I garnered a tremendous amount from that tradition of teaching. Also, Bronstein had his own things to add to that. I think the tie to that type of violin playing, [the schooling] that produced Heifetz, Milstein, Zimbalist, Elman, has always been a strong part of my playing. The stylistic approach to playing the violin that is inherent in that schooling was something that was unique to me as a younger artist in a generation when that was already not so prevalent. 17

Luis Biava: Sounds like I believe I am really successful [smiling]. But we never stop thinking and trying to be better. I want to make that point. I think it's trying to be prepared in life. If you play the violin try to be the best. When I was born there were already great violinists- Heifetz, Oistrakh, Milstein... That didn't mean that I should lower my guard and not practice. I felt there's room for everybody. My father always told me, 'If you are prepared in life, you will go far.' So that's what I've been doing all my life. I never accept a responsibility I cannot
17 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 20

completely fulfill. I don't like to learn on the job. I like to be prepared and do it.18

Donald Weilerstein: For me the key factors were having a lot of music in the home, being taken to concerts, being around other musicians and being exposed to all kinds of music. I was taken to string concerts but also to jazz, pop concerts and operas. I also had supportive parents and teachers I could learn. It's important to just be excited about it. When I was around 10 or 11 years old I had a recording of Arthur Rubinstein playing Appassionata Sonata. I rode my tricycle frantically around the house during the last movement because I was so excited by it.19

Arnold Steinhardt: First of all, recognizing that I had the talent, the inclination to pursue that talent for at least the first steps. Getting an undisciplined kid, as almost all children are, to practice, because unlike some instruments that you can start later on in childhood, string instruments, especially the violin, demands working pretty early on. What child wants to do that? This is a joint project of parents and teacher and the child involved. That combination, the three being essential, doesn't necessarily always happen, so in that sense I was lucky.20

David Arben: This is a great formula because the child needs the approval of the parent. We were three children and my mother and father would always say to us, “You are very special. Nobody can ever hurt you. You are talented. You are everything good.” Because of living in an atmosphere where the parents say you're very special, when bad times comes along you are a much better fighter to survive. If somebody said, “You'll never amount to anything. You're so stupid. You don't understand anything.” That would have been death. You cannot grow. M y mother used to take me to lessons. My father worried that my mother may not understand what she was hearing and what to tell me so my father started to take me to lessons. In the old days a
18 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 19 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 20 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 21

lesson was not 45 minutes, watching the clock. A lesson was a minimum of two hours and I had lessons that would last 3 hours. Three hours. My father thought I could not digest the three hours, that I would get sick. My father fainted during one of my lessons. We had to revive him. My father was concerned it was too much for me. It was too much for him [smiles]. My father sacrificed himself in a sense, he sacrificed his family. I would go home and practice. He sat in the chair next to me. He would say, “this is a wrong note.” He became very knowledgeable about my violin playing. “You made a mistake. You have to do it again.” And I did it again. So you have to have the teacher, the parent and the child working together to make it a success.21

Suzy Perelman: Oh, I can talk for hours about that. I’m a Suzuki violin teacher, so working with a parent and a student in a triangle is the way all of my lessons work. For a lot of my upbringing, that’s the way my lessons worked. In the early years it was just as important to have the support at home as it was in the lesson. I could do no wrong by my mom. Everything deserved applause. Dad was kind of a counter balance to that. He kept me real. That positive

reinforcement kept me going as a little kid. Later when my parents didn’t have nearly the role in my lessons and couldn’t help me as much at home they still, especially my mom, kept pouring on encouragement I remember my father would sit there and practice with me for years. He would sit on the piano bench and I would stand. He would help me with my practicing every step of the way from six through when I was nine. I remember the day he said, “I can’t practice with you anymore, the music is too hard for me.” And I was totally at a loss. I didn’t know what I would do, but it worked out.22

Lisa Sutton: I would say that factors that contribute to success are a) talent, b) training, c) practice, d) focus, e)intuition and f) awareness.23
21 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 22 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 23 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 22

Cho-liang Lin: Let me go a little further back. I think the key ingredients are (1) family support, (2) educational environment, and that involves teachers. You also need to have a very stimulating environment in which to grow. For me, Juilliard was the right place. I saw the challenge

everyday and I wanted to rise to the occasion. And third is what I call the intangibles. Those intangibles include luck and timing. Also, a personal aura or personal approach that will endear you to your audience and those who shape the music world. This category is the hardest to define. You can be an excellent violinist in school and that does not translate into a successful career. It's how you transmit your ideas on stage, how you walk on stage, how you present yourself in front of the audience, how to communicate your thoughts clearly to your audience. Also, how to work with other musicians. That's why I encourage chamber music training to all young players. It's not that they will end up playing chamber music, there's nothing wrong with that, it's great, but some people who say, “I'm going to play the Brahms or Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic four years from now so why should I bother with chamber music?” I have to remind them that when you're playing a concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic you are in fact playing chamber music with 80 players in the orchestra. You'd better know your stuff because you can't play however you feel that day and [expect] the orchestra to follow. You'll lose the respect of those players and [it could possibly be] the end of your career. It comes down to how you listen to music and how you work with other musicians. This is very important in this third group that I call the intangibles. To go back to the first ingredient, the support, initially, without that support, help, and encouragement, a young talent will find it very hard to grow.24

Laura Albers: I would say discipline is a key factor, having that discipline from an early age. I know a lot of people start much later but it seems that most of us have started fairly early and
24 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 23

had parents who taught us the discipline of practicing every day or practiced with us every day. I think you have to be able to relate to people well and follow through - and I think that’s what a lot of musicians are lacking. Your general personality and energy makes all the difference in the world whether you get hired again.25

Fritz Kreisler: I think the technical element in the artist's education is often unduly stressed. Remember [added Mr. Kreisler, with a smile] I am not a teacher, and this is a purely personal opinion I am giving you. But it seems to me that absolute sincerity of effort, actual impossibility not to react to a genuine musical impulse are of great importance. I firmly believe that if one is destined to become an artist the technical means find themselves. The necessity of expression will follow the line of least resistance. Too great a manual equipment often leads to an exaggeration of the technical and tempts the artist to stress it unduly. I have worked a great deal in my life, but have always found that too large an amount of purely technico-musical work fatigued me and reacted unfavorably on my imagination. As a rule I only practice enough to keep my fingers in trim; the nervous strain is such that doing more is out of the question. And for a concert-violinist when on tour, playing every day, the technical question is not absorbing. Far more important is it for him to keep himself mentally and physically fresh and in the right mood for his work. For myself I have to enjoy whatever I play or I cannot play it. And it has often done me more good to dip my finger-tips in hot water for a few seconds before stepping out on the platform than to spend a couple of hours practicing. But I should not wish the student to draw any deductions from what I say on this head. It is purely personal and has no general application. Technical exercises I use very moderately. I wish my imagination to be responsive, my interest fresh, and as a rule I have found that too much work along routine channels does not accord with the best development of my Art. I feel that technique should be in the player's head, it should be a mental picture, a sort of 'master record.' It should be a matter of will power to
25 Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 24

which the manual possibilities should be subjected. Technique to me is a mental and not a manual thing.26

Sheldon Morgenstern: My horn and conducting teachers, plus the unique conducting program that then existed at NEC; in other words, four students maximum with each having a 45 minute weekly rehearsal with the repertoire orchestra.27

Victor DeRenzi: For me, there are a couple things but I think the most important thing was that I spent a lot of time in the theater watching performances. I try to never take myself out of that position [as an audience member]. The audience is a very important part of any artistic experience whether it's opera, a solo pianist or whether you're in a symphony. I think sometimes as musicians we forget about that- we forget that it's really nice if the audience likes what we're doing. Sometimes we play and perform for ourselves which in certain ways of making music is a valid way of making music but if you're out there and you want to have a career it's good to consider the audience. So for me going to the opera four times a week, growing up in New York where you have the option of seeing 15 things every night if you wanted to, was a very important part of my training.28

Leila Josefowicz: You have to believe that you can have a crack at whatever you want to do, and in this I had incredible support from my family. Some people would have called it pressure, I guess- it depends on who you talk to- but without that kind of help I couldn't have succeeded.

Viktoria Mullova's father, an engineer, attended many of her violin lessons, making notes about her performance, and afterward they would discuss technical details at home. It wasn't unusual
26 Violin Mastery: Interviews with Heifetz, Auer, Kreisler and Others, Frederick H. Martens ed. (New York: Dover Publications, 2006): 63, 64. 27 Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 28 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 25

for the young Viktoria- still a child- to practice for several hours a day under his guidance.

Chee-Yun Kim: ...in my parents' generation, the mother always stayed home with their children to nurture and motivate them. I don't remember any students who were successful at Juilliard, whether they were from here or Korea, who did not have one parent who came with them to Juilliard.

These musicians follow the pattern of starting study at a very young age: for example, Josefowicz began at three, Mullova at four, Hahn at four, Repin at five and Lin at five.29

Question 3 “Talent.” Can one acquire it?

Elmar Oliveira: Talent can be many things. Some people have a talent in a certain area. For instance, the facility in which they play the violin. Others have talent in the more deeper, more musical understanding. Other people have a talent in way they produce the sound on the instrument. These are all individual talents but [ideally] you shouldn't separate one from the other. In the end, the violinist is the total sum of all his talents. Some people have more of one thing than another. But it is essential that one is born with this talent for the violin. One can acquire the development, and even extraordinary development, of the fundamental aspects of violin playing. But one will never sound the same as a person who has the sheer talent for these fundamentals.30

29 Violin Virtuosos, Mary VanClay ed. (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 16, 49, 76, 92, 102. 30 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 26

Donald Weilerstein: I think there definitely has to be a certain amount of instinct. I think that one can develop what one has. I do believe there is something like 20 to 25% that is innate or instinctual and the rest is how you develop it, what influences you are exposed to, how you yourself develop [your talent], such as practice habits. There are some people who may not be able to develop [their talent] if they are completely tone deaf but there are some people who think that you can develop an ear from that too. I think some are more talented than others but you can do an awful lot to develop depending on the influences surrounding you.31

Lisa Sutton: No, I don’t think so. There are however, different levels of talent, which means that with hard work and some talent it is possible to be successful.32

Cho-liang Lin: I think there are two layers of talent. One is the instinctive, your automatic grasp of how you feel about music. That translates into how well you express your feelings through music. I think that is a given talent, you cannot acquire it. The second layer of talent is the physical talent, to be able to play the instrument well. That can be trained although on the highest level you still need the natural ability. That's what separates Heifetz from the other great violinists. There is that extra 10% that makes Heifetz's playing utterly incredible. We all gasp at what it is Heifetz was able to do. I ask other great violinists but we can't figure out what it is that made him do it. That special kind of talent is very unusual but on a more common place level, the physical talent can be taught. In the end it's up to the individual to combine those two talents.33

31 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 32 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 33 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 27

David Arben: First of all, as I said before, my parents called me a violin virtuoso. When I heard talented I thought it was coming with the territory. I didn't know what talent meant. Sometimes talent can be acquired. I've had students who had some talent and after a few years became very talented. With hard work, intelligence and total dedication one can become very talented. Even a non-talent can achieve something.34

Laura Albers: I hate it when somebody tells me how talented I am - because I think that’s the most ridiculous thing. I think that how you play has a lot more to do with your personality than your talent. If you have good solid training, discipline and the nurturing, I think anybody can become an outstanding musician. But some people will get much further with the exact same training and practice schedule because it comes more naturally.35

Suzy Perelman: I think every person can learn to play the violin well. Does it come more easily to some? Absolutely. The reason it comes more easily to some is mostly their environment. If a child is reared with music constantly around them, with constant rhythm, with constant encouragement to express, with constant positive reinforcement, with constant dedication to doing something meaningful, that kid is going to be more talented. Is there any genetic

component? Definitely, but I think there is much more of the nurture in this “nature versus nurture.”36

Luis Biava: Sarah Chang played for me when she was six, the third Mozart Concerto. She's from Philadelphia. I remember when she started. Her vibrato was good. So there was something that comes from upstairs. There was already talent there. There are some instances when the parents start pushing a lot. They think this is support and that it's good for them but you have to
34 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 35 Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 36 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 28

establish a good relationship and make them feel well-balanced. You have to be very careful with the child prodigy because they are not normal. The tendency is for it to go to their head. For instance, if I have a boy that is very good with numbers then I have to give him some guidance in the right direction. I think support from family and friends is important [for those children].37

Fritz Kreisler: I do not believe that any artist is truly a master of his instrument unless his control of it is an integral part of a whole. The musician is born – his medium of expression is often a matter of accident. I believe on may be intended for an artist prenatally; but whether violinist, cellist or pianist is partly a matter of circumstance. 'Violin Master,' to my mind, still falls short of perfection, in spite of the completest technical and musical equipment, if the artist thinks only of the instrument he plays. After all, it is just a single medium of expression. The true musician is an artist with a special instrument. And every real artist has the feeling for other forms and mediums of expression if he is truly a master of his own... Nothing can express music but music itself. Tradition in interpretation does not mean a cut-and-dried set of rules handed down; it is, or should be, a matter of individual sentiment, of inner conviction. What makes one man an artist and keeps another an amateur is a God-given instinct for the artistically and musically right. It is not a thing to be explained, but to be felt. There is often only a narrow line of demarcation between the artistically right and wrong. Yet nearly every real artist will be found to agree as to when and when not that boundary has been overstepped. Sincerity and personality as well as disinterestedness, an expression of himself in his art that is absolutely honest, thes, I believe, are ideals which every artist should cherish and try to realize.38 Question 4 Besides the formative years, what things become important later on in order to achieve success?

37 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 38 Violin Mastery: Interviews with Heifetz, Auer, Kreisler and Others, Frederick H. Martens ed. (New York: Dover Publications, 2006): 63, 66. 29

Lisa Sutton: Focus and determination, along with intuition and awareness.39

Elmar Oliveira: It depends on a lot of different things. It depends on discipline, talents and luck. If you're talking about a soloist, one has to start when they are very young. And one has to develop a very strong facility and a grasp of the repertoire at a very early age. I think by the time you are 17 or 18 years old you should be able to play most of the standard repertoire in performance. And then, of course, you develop from there for the rest of your life. One never achieves one's expectations. I think in terms of having a successful career as a concert artist, one has to have a plan in mind of how one is going to proceed to try to achieve a career. There are lots of ways of doing this and not all of them work for everyone. One of the ways of achieving a successful career is through winning a major competition. If you're lucky enough to do that and you can sustain the interest from the orchestras, conductors and presenters after that is done then that gives you a certain assurance that you are at least going to have a long run, if not one that lasts forever. The other way people achieve success in a career is perhaps by having the support of one or two conductors that really likes the playing of that person and helps to promote their career by engaging them with different orchestras they conduct, helping to secure recording contracts, etc. The other way is the long, strong haul which is just having that perseverance, keeping at every possible way one can achieve a career for oneself. Just stick with that and see how far you can go with it. Many people have been very successful in achieving important careers in that manner.40

Victor DeRenzi: In the beginning it was just doing a lot of stuff. At a certain point I was just committed to conducting those 20 operas a year even though the quality was pretty bad. I needed the experience. Then along the way I made the call to eliminate those and do less work
39 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 40 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 30

but feel better about the work that I was producing. In the beginning as a conductor you have to conduct anybody who is willing to watch you beat time. If you stay in that position it's very easy to gain a technique that's about keeping things together and not really making music. It's a technique geared towards working with amateurs or not very good professionals. At a certain point you have to transition out of that, as a conductor especially, and say, my life is not to make amateurs better amateurs, not that there's anything wrong with that, but if that's not where you want to remain, then you have to decide to work with professionals.41

Arnold Steinhardt: For a career, you can be a wonderful musician and a wonderful instrumentalist and still wind up not having a career. Many factors are involved. This happens later on in life. If you're a child prodigy it happens earlier but most of us are not child prodigy's. In general there are other things and they have to do with timing, your ambition, perhaps a little bit of cleverness, and maybe just dumb luck. [Laughter from RJ] Don't dismiss that as idle, the dumb luck element in this.42

Sheldon Morgenstern: I don't believe in sheer luck in our discipline, and very little in business skills. Talent, in my view, is the primary "must."43

Suzy Perelman: There is certainly the factor of rubbing elbows with the right people and knowing how to act, knowing not to be too forward, humble and not to be too afraid to ask the advice of people who have been around longer than you have. There is a good friend of mine here in New York who has been around for awhile and he is constantly mentoring me as to what I should and should not say to people. I really appreciate that. When a big time contractor here in New York calls and offers you a gig, you cannot say, “How much does it pay?” Of course it seems logical.
41 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 42 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 43 Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 31

You want to know how much it pays and it’s an understandable request, but they don’t have time for that. They don’t want to feel like you’re putting them on the spot, like if it’s not enough money, you’re going to turn them down. You can look that up and not waste their time. So lately I’ve had a lot of people advise me on that. There’s also the issue, especially in the Broadway world, getting yourself a substitute who does the work well and has a great attitude. And it’s important to keep that sub happy. Certainly getting yourself out there, even the rock bottom gigs, even the free gigs, even the ones where you’re surrounded by people you feel have retired and are just doing this because they want to have something in their life. You have to start somewhere and I never think when I hear about a gig, especially if I have just moved to a new place, “I’m too good for it.” I would happily start at the bottom because it’s starting. So I think there is a humility that’s needed. At least from there you get some exposure and you get to move up. That’s certainly happened with me. And play for people even if they appear to have no power. You never know when that person might be asked to recommend a friend, to recommend a last minute substitute. Every time I prepare an audition I play it through for people. Sometimes I have to pay them. Sometimes they view it as coaching and that’s fine. I can use coaching. We can all use coaching. I certainly can. It’s money well spent. And not only do I have a run through and I’m more prepared for my audition, but maybe they had some great stuff to offer me and maybe they will remember me in the future and you never know when those things might pay off.44

David Arben: When it comes to music in profession, besides having proven to yourself, when you want a job you have to prove to somebody else who has the job to give you- [chuckle] that's a different story. Once again, I was very fortunate that I never had any difficulties getting a position. From my first try I got the job. My first job after school was the Detroit Symphony for one year. Then I went to Cleveland Orchestra for four years. I wanted to come back to
44 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 32

Philadelphia because I knew Philadelphia having been here at the Curtis Institute. I graduated from the Curtis Institute. I auditioned [for Philadelphia Orchestra] and got the job. When I got the job I was at the end of the section. My first year I was in the second violins. My second year Mr. Ormandy put me in the first violins and gradually I moved up until I became associate concertmaster for 23 years, and soloist for many years.45

Mark Summer: There are a lot of ways to answer that question. Having a project that was viable was huge. To have an on-going schedule you need to have a project that generates the support to carry it through the lean times in the beginning and sometimes lean times in the middle. Careers are like waves, they go up and they go down. So having a vehicle like Turtle Island for me has been essential. The business is a hard business. It's wonderful to have something that you can hook onto that's such a great concept. Perserverence. The willingness to part ways with people when you need to. Turtle Island has had a lot of people come and go. The ability to create new work and to enlist the support of record companies, booking agents, publicists, all the people that are going to help make it fly.46

Laura Albers: Attitude. Attitude makes all the difference in the world, because I’ve seen millions of people who have the exact same training but life is hard for them. So, they probably won’t be working and will always be complaining, and the more they complain the harder it gets. I think attitude is a lot of what it has to do with.47

Victor DeRenzi: The obvious thing [I'm looking for when I hire the musicians for the Sarasota Opera Orchestra] is that you have to play a certain number of right notes in tune and at a certain time. Beyond that there is an expressivity that is very important to making music. I often hear
45 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 46 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 47 Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 33

people preparing for auditions with a metronome. To me, that's the last thing I want to hear. I don't know what's good about following a metronome. I don't think that was the intention of a metronome. I think the intention was to give you an idea of how fast a piece went. It's become a crutch for musicians. I would rather hear a musician play an expressive phrase. And there is something they say about the music that is not what everybody else says. How much someone can do that from a tape [shrugs shoulders]. The next step is after their first season, how do they actually make that happen in a performance situation, how they deal with their colleagues, how much they are willing to jump into the situation at Sarasota Opera and say, “I feel like this is my company and I want to play as part of this company.” Some people get that immediately and some people never really get it.48 Question 5 How much does music conservatory contribute to one's success?

Cho-liang Lin: The conservatory is a very important factor. It can a lay a really good foundation. Isaac Stern used to say he never went to high school. He never went to a conservatory. He learned by asking questions all his life. He used to say, “I was a pest. I would ceaselessly asked questions.” He learned that way. But not everyone has the brash and inquisitive mind of Isaac Stern. We have to be spoon-fed certain knowledge about music, and conservatories do that. From my own Juilliard experience, the school here was a microcosm of what was to be outside. Except the world was 50 times tougher than what Juilliard had to offer. However Juilliard

prepared me well. First off I thought the competitive atmosphere from within the school I thought was healthy. Some of my schoolmates hated it but it turned out to be a sneak peek of the real pressure in the outside world. Secondly , if you take every academic course seriously, let me qualify that, to the extent that you had time to study all these subjects apart from your
48 Victor Derenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 34

violin, you really could learn a lot. When I was in school I had the typical teenager attitude saying, “Well, who needs ear training. It doesn't help me play the Paganini Caprices more in tune.” But in the end when you do come around, 15 years later you are confronted with certain rhythmic patterns in Berg, Stravinsky, or Ned Rorem's music where those rhythmic dictations come in handy. You come back and utilize those things. There's a ground laying effect for conservatory training but it's up to the individual to continue that inquisitive path.49

Laura Albers: I think there are so many more well-trained musicians with nowhere to go after school, which is why everybody stays in school for five million degrees these days. They keep making up more degrees. [smiles] It has to do with how you relate to your teacher, how you experience it all. Some people can go in and practice ten hours a day and then come out [of school], and wonder why they are not getting anywhere. That’s because they didn’t experience anything else along with the conservatory. What you put into it, you get out of it - not just a zillion hours of practice, but the involvement. For example, I found in Cleveland [Institute of Music], I had never played in studio class, which was something that really, really bothered me because I came from a background of being on stage, performing all the time, and suddenly there were no performance opportunities. I found out at the end of my last year that all I had to do was ask. I thought [my teacher] only had his really good students [play] in studio class. That's a good example of when I could have been more pro-active in creating the experience I wanted to be have. At Juilliard it was more standard. Our class was small with Copes and people rotated around and everybody always had a chance [to perform].50

Lisa Sutton: In my case, greatly. I was at the Yale School of Music, and it was a good

49 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 50 Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 35

environment for me to develop as a violinist.51

Luis Biava: [Music conservatory] does not always contribute to one's success. You are lucky to have a place that can really help. I think it's a good idea. It's a center of development for a young person to start. It's important to start young. Take advantage by watching how others do it. Know that you are not alone. Use that knowledge to make you practice more.52

Donald Weilerstein: I think conservatories can make a big difference, absolutely. I think it's really important to be exposed to a lot of music and a kind of atmosphere where you are able to inspire yourself. It's nice to find a teacher that can bring that out of you but ultimately it has to come from the individual. It is terribly important to find your positive influences, whether it's your [private] teacher, a chamber music coach, conductor or anybody who loves music and is able to impart that and influence you. I think who you are exposed to has a lot to do with it, the kinds of values you're around, the types of reading and music listening you can do. Listen to different

kinds of music. I think particularly opera and vocal music is really important for any [musician] to listen to. Listen to all types of music, pop and folk music as well. The atmosphere you are in and the private teacher that you are working with can help bring our your innate abilities. I think it is important for each individual to find his own way and find what conservatory or college suits him and what teacher suit them as well.53

Mark Summer: That's a very important question for me because I like to say I'm in recovery from classical music. I have a lot of baggage that I've had to overcome. There were a lot of negative

51 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 52 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 53 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 36

things that went along with the positive things I got from a music education that I've had to heal from. That being said, my technique is from my classical training. Certainly my arco techniqueall the basic ways I play the instrument. My solid foundation came from classical training. In conservatory there is a certain cookie-cutter approach of, 'We're going to take everyone that comes in and try to make them into this certain kind of player.' Some of it's like when you become a doctor. You learn about physiology and the body. In music you learn all your scales, sight-singing, ear training, harmony... But the basic attitude, at least when I went to school,

seemed to be you start at a deficit- almost like they're going to mold you into something rather than discover what you already are. I know that every school wasn't like that, but for me I was not at all certain I wanted to be a classical musician. I was at a place that was pre-disposed to turn me into one so when I left school I got a job in the Winnipeg Symphony. I don't think I had a lot of confidence in myself and I really had to push through that. I know that people at my school developed tendonitis, playing problems. I know that it wasn't a happy place for me. It was a hard road. But it definitely made me stronger. I couldn't do what I do without having gone to conservatory.54

Sheldon Morgenstern: [Music conservatory contributes] zero. It's the teacher(s) who made the difference.55

Victor DeRenzi: It depends on a lot of things. It depends on what you do. If you're a soloist it has more to do with your specific teacher. It depends on the city you're in. I think the advantage of going to Manhattan [School of Music] or Juilliard is that it's in New York City. You meet a lot of people, make a lot of connections, and you're surrounded by a lot of people who love what

54 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 55 Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 37

you do. I think that's more important than what conservatory you go to. I think we go to school for too long. We spend too much time in universities instead of just going out and making [a career]. Where did Horowitz or Heifetz go?56

David Arben: I think the music school can contribute to ones success. First of all, the school is very proud if they can have someone who graduates and makes a career. It's good for the school. It's good for the student. It's good for everybody. Some of the schools can help and some of the schools did help.57

Arnold Steinhardt: [It contributes] a lot, in that in music conservatory you are presumably taught by the best music teachers. You learn about music at large- music history, theory, counterpoint, harmony, how to be a soloist, a chamber musician, an orchestral musician. You learn all those things in addition to the idea of a network of musicians. You don't realize it when you're in music school but so many of the people you rub shoulders with you're going to be rubbing shoulders with for perhaps the rest of your whole life. I'm still playing with, playing for, and concerned with, in one way or another, with many of the people I went to music school- over fifty years ago. Those things are important. It's nice to have a wonderful teacher. But when you go to a music school you are educated by your fellow students as well as those studying on either side of you, having different points of view and playing differently. It was certainly important for me to see there's that way to do it and this way to do it. “This I like a little more. This I don't like so much.” I just heard a recital by a graduating student. Wow! I never thought of doing it that way. That's interesting and stimulating. I think music school has enormous implications for the future

56 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 57 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 38

of a musician.58

Suzy Perelman: It is totally different for each person. There are artists like Cho-liang Lin, big soloists who probably didn’t necessarily need a college education or a teacher enlightening them. I think people like that are already successful by the time they get to college. They definitely need the connection that a well-known, well-connected conservatory violin pedagogue could give them. That’s the question. Do they need his pedagogy? It couldn’t hurt but I don’t know that necessarily made them who they are. For people like me conservatory was absolutely necessary. It’s there that I learned how not to be spoon-fed. I didn’t make many musical decisions of my own until the end when I was taught how to be my own teacher. I’ve never been asked to show a [college] degree in my life unless it’s for a teaching position and even my teaching positions people mostly asked whether you have a bachelor’s. But for performing it’s all about how you play. In an audition it’s definitely about how you play. In my world [music school] was

absolutely necessary. This was the place I was able to practice six hours a day. I couldn’t do that in high school. There was just no time. This was the place that I met a million people that were in the same boat and was inspired by that atmosphere. Yes, I think for most of us it’s absolutely necessary.59

Elmar Oliveira: It can contribute a great deal if the atmosphere is one that is conducive to pushing the young player to do better all the time, in a healthy way. I think there are a lot of schools, and particularly the bigger schools, like Juilliard, Curtis Institute and Indiana University in Bloomington... Obviously the talent level at these places is so high that the students are actually in competition with each other. But that's not necessarily the healthy part of a school

58 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 59 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 39

environment. I can probably use Curtis as the best example where all the students are listening not only to themselves but to their colleagues. Also getting a lot of feedback from all of the teachers that are involved in the school. It's a healthy environment for creativity instead of being an unhealthy competitive environment. I think that's what all wonderful schools should strive for. This obviously contributes to the growth of young musicians in the healthiest way.60 Question 6 What are music schools lacking in equipping/educating the student who desires a career as a concert artist?

Suzy Perelman: I haven’t been to conservatory in 15 years but I definitely wish they’d covered the business aspect of music, arts management. I really had no understanding of how an orchestra works behind the scenes and I wish somebody would have talked to me about that. I wish there were a course in how the American Federation of Musicians Union works. Perhaps seminars on how to take auditions and also a pedagogy course. Perhaps something about keeping audiences alive. This is a big concern that could cost us our jobs in the future and it was never addressed in the conservatory. I don’t know how that would play into a course but it’s an important thing.61

Victor DeRenzi: The whole purpose of music conservatory is to make money. And that's the purpose of every college. In order to make money you have to have lots of students. So if you have to have lots of students by definition you will take in the mediocre as well as the very talented. When you have that many students you are going to spread the amount of attention you can give them. The closest dealings I have are with the vocal programs which I think are
60 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 61 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 40

really bad. First of all, they take too long, they don't prepare you to be a classical singer, they don't give you the tools you need to learn music... As a violinist or pianist from the very beginning you are actually learning how to learn music. You're given a tool so when you are 25 years old and get a new piece of music you don't have to take it to your teacher. You have the tools to take that piece of paper and turn it into music. Singers don't do that. Singers have to bring it to a voice teacher or a coach. They should be trained to be independent and they don't do that. They don't do that for voice students in any of the conservatories. It's different to learn music as a vocalist because it involves text and drama.62

Donald Weilerstein: I think each music school has its own strengths and weaknesses but I think that the conservatories are now moving towards inspiring their students to be more aware of community, in terms of outreach, for example in hospitals and schools. I think that type of a

thing is incredibly important. Conservatories who do this provide performance opportunities for their students. Some conservatories do better than others. The history and theory

department should work together with the performance-oriented departments. The students can really benefit from the best of both worlds. Perhaps the academic courses could be more

inspiring and help students make connections to what they are accomplishing in the practice room. At Juilliard they are working towards making those courses as inspiring as possible.

Diverse and inspiring academic courses are important but ones without having enormous amount of work so students still have time to practice.63

Elmar Oliveira: I think quite often the awareness of what one needs to do to achieve success as a concert artist is not part of the concern of music schools. I think that's something that should be

62 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 63 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 41

included and addressed. Young people should know what they are getting into before they get into it. They really need to know those incredible challenges to make a career in music today. I think also often it's not as well-rounded as it should be in terms of talented players that are striving to be soloists don't necessarily involve themselves, or the schools don't involve those people, in the really fine art of chamber music which is the greatest contribution one can have in one's playing as an instrumentalist, or a soloist for that matter. That's the thing that you can feed the most off of, really learning about chamber music, how to play it, how to play with your colleagues, how to listen... It all contributes to your artistry. Sometimes that becomes secondary or tertiary to the role of what music schools think they need to do.64

Arnold Steinhardt: The obvious thing is that they’re hot houses. A hot house concentrates on one thing. You concentrate so much of your life on one thing because to be a success in anything that’s difficult requires a certain amount of obsessiveness. So that’s the good thing. The bad

thing about conservatories is that you just push away all kinds of other life experiences that might be pleasurable and valuable to you. There’s an interesting program at Bard college for musicians who want to be double majors and they go to conservatory there and they go to the liberal arts college as well. For those who have the aptitude and the interest to do such a thing so that they can broaden their horizons.65

Sheldon Morgenstern: Even those music schools that have career counseling programs are not nearly as up front as they should be about the extraordinarily difficulties of finding work as an orchestral musician in a truly professional orchestra to say nothing of what it takes to have a

64 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 65 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 42

career as a soloist or member of a chamber ensemble.66

Luis Biava: I think many things are lacking. Sometimes you encounter a teacher that doesn't have the qualifications to create a nice position [on the instrument]. We should have an inspector of music like you have an inspector of discipline.67

Laura Albers: Chamber music. I think so many of the programs are just useless. I think chamber music is the most valuable skill you can have no matter what division you’re going into. There are so many orchestral musicians that don’t even listen and play with their stand partner. Cleveland had the most amazing program, regular and intensive coachings and that was what my focus was on instead of orchestra. Once I got to Juilliard, the chamber music was a joke. I think there was some sort of requirement but we got by on the bare minimum. And orchestra, I don’t know what the emphasis was on actually, because the orchestra could have been good but nobody cared either. I’ll take my sister for example, in what I see as the “concert artist.” She’s making her living soloing with orchestras. However, between engagements, she plays in many chamber music festivals - and she gets invited back because A: she’s got this shining personality, everybody loves her. B: she knows how to play chamber music, she’s easy to play with, and I attribute a lot of that to our own upbringing. My mom had an outstanding quartet program for us. From a very early age we were playing together. [Also, chamber music is] a good way of socializing.68

David Arben: To be hard-working is a great virtue but it doesn't mean that everyone who is hard-

66 Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 67 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 68 Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 43

working is going to achieve greatness. Today, from what I hear, every school- and it may be global- talks in one language, and the language is called money. It seems there is never enough money to do what many schools want to do. Maybe it's true. Maybe to some extent it's true. I don't know. But from what I hear it's because we don't have the funds.69

Cho-liang Lin: [There are] two things that can be fortified. One is career counseling, although that is a very tough job. Career counseling is not exactly like going to law school because law students know exactly what they're going to do. In music you can diversify so quickly. In my days there was this unrealistic thinking that everybody that came through Juilliard would have an extraordinary solo career. When they didn't do it, it was a huge disappointment. Or at least that was the perception. Now I think people are more realistic, at least among my students. But often even at there master's degree they are not sure what they want to do, not defined at all. However I don't get these bragging students who say, “I'm going to win the Queen Elisabeth Competition two years from now and get an exclusive recording contract with Deutch Gramophone soon thereafter.” They might harbor those dreams but it's not like in my day when it was the expected outcome. So that's healthier. Number two is concert performing experience. Encouraging students to perform at every opportunity because there's no substitute.70 Question 7 Please share your thoughts on politics, networking and one's people skills?

Luis Biava: I hate that. But it's a disease that we need to know how to do and we shouldn't procrastinate doing it. You need connections nowadays, for any career. But what I like is that you can't make a career as a musician through your mouth. I'm so happy that music is about how
69 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 70 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 44

you sound. If you are delivering/producing good music- if you don't make it it's because there are others that are a little better than you, or a lot better.71

Lisa Sutton: In the free-lance world, networking and people skills are really important, since there is no job security. In the world of the orchestral musician, it is important to have people skills as part of your goal to achieve tenure. Beyond that it is pretty hard to get fired, but ultimately if you cultivate relationships in your workplace you will be happier and more successful.72

Elmar Oliveira: Wow. I have to be quite honest. In this day and age they all seem to be very important in making a career. I'm really not very good at any of that. Obviously one's

personality is very important in dealing with the people in the music industry. Being a part of the music industry you have to realize, besides enjoying your playing, people have to be able to socially be around you, enjoy your company, and respect you as a person along with your ideas. If one can do that without being artificial about it then that's important to networking and to the politics of music. I think it is also important to have a plan in your mind because part of having a plan is contacting people, talking to people, and trying to get people interested in what you are doing. It's not anything new except that it seems we need more and more of it. Everyone in the

past did these social obligations, the reaching out to people that they thought could help with their career. I think that now it is perhaps more essential.73

Sheldon Morgenstern: Networking, politics, people skills are important to varying degrees although none will assist unless the performer is highly gifted and has a great sense of diligence.74

Mark Summer: It's not who you know but it's definitely maximizing all of your contacts and
71 72 73 74 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 45

support. We met Paquito D'Rivera, the Cuban-American clarinetist/composer/saxophone player. We met him years and years ago. We were on the same plane together. I kept that card for years. One day we talked about who we could get to write a piece for us for a commission- probably connected with Meet the Composer or Chamber Music America. We just called him and he wrote us a piece. The piece was so much less important than the fact that he toured with us and also recorded with us. Then I ended up playing in a trio with him and that recording got nominated for a Grammy at the same time as our last recording. Holding that card, thinking about all the opportunities that are out there, and actually taking action by calling. I did want to make clear that the group was started with a member who had a recording contract. So we didn't have to struggle with that first step. In our case it has been more of a process of struggling to clarify who we are. Oddly enough, winning a Grammy has been completely illuminating in the sense that the Grammy was for a Classical category called Classical Crossover. People tend to think of our group as a jazz string quartet. Now we are able to clearly delineate what we are which is a classical crossover group made up of classically trained musicians who are jazz improvisers. I'm dancing around your question a little bit... Having a leg up by having someone who had a recording career started the whole ball rolling. And making mistakes... We went to ICM Artists in New York, one of the biggest booking agents, and it was a total mistake for us. It was a place for us to get completely lost. We ended up being booked by Mark Baylin at Baylin Artists, someone who had connections with chamber music through Chamber Music America, which is an organization that David Balakrishnan was on the board of. Again connections that ended up yielding tremendous results for us.75

Arnold Steinhardt: It’s interesting to me that, the kids in music school who are destined to do great things, sometimes did and sometimes didn’t. And I guess that has to do with personality, amongst other things, and again dumb luck, the good timing or the bad timing of things. There are
75 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 46

people who I went to school with who were very talented musicians, who decided not to become musicians. They went off to do other things and I don’t consider that a tragedy in any way. Music remained a part of their lives but they went on to become doctors and dentists and other things. I am in contact with one or two of them and they’re happy people. So, music was a blessing for them and continues to be so.76

Suzy Perelman: If getting the job is through an audition, it doesn’t require people skills. Keeping the job is what requires people skills. People are very conscious of a bad egg, of someone spoiling the mood. If you are not emanating enjoyment with what’s around you, you are not going make friends. And in fact you are going to make people miserable and your job won’t last long. I think summoning that feeling of success or happiness or why you ever do this in the first place is the only way to stay successful in your job.77

Victor DeRenzi: I think they are very important. I don't think young people realize that people on top of their game spent a lot of time networking. If you're a famous conductor, whomever you are, and you're conducting the symphony, you probably take the head of the opera company out to lunch. If you're a singer in the opera company you should take out the head of the record company out. People feel that they can just perform great on stage and that's it. It doesn't work that way. You're also responsible for this business. I'm sure Horowitz dealt a lot with the business of the piano. One of the things that happens to performers is once they have a manager they think, “Wow! Great! Now I have a manager and I can just practice eight hours a day and don't have to deal with that.” You still have to worry about that. I think it's always been a part of the business. Everybody did it in some way. I think the art is great and I think you need the business to make the arts survive. The disaster is the industry because we've turned this art into a big industry which tends to make it generic. As a result you do what people want to hear
76 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 77 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 47

instead of trusting that people will want to hear it because it has my belief in it. I think we've developed an unhealthy path on the industry side and that tends to make everything status quo.78

Cho-liang Lin: I mentioned a part of that in my intangibles. Networking is important in a sense that it's part of everyday reality. You can lock yourself up in a practice room and play like god but it's the moment when you have to work with others that will prove your real worth. By that I mean you will still need to be able to communicate whatever you're working on with your audience. And that communicative skill can be taught but only to a limited extent. A lot of it has to be felt. When I was a student I went to hear Bernstein, Horowitz, Rostropovich... There was a certain aura about them. When they walked on stage you felt like you were about to witness something great. Likewise for chamber music groups, when I heard the Guarneri Quartet for the first time and Isaac Stern playing chamber music, it was something incredible. You're talking about people skills, networking. It's a very tough question to answer. You can and you should connect with people but if you rely exclusively on this to promote a career then I think one's priorities are all screwed up. I think one's aim is to play well. The aim is to believe strongly in the music that you play. Love it. If the aim is, “I know the manager of such and such an orchestra.” “I know this artists manager.” “I know this publicist.” “Let's see if I can put them all together and suddenly become the next Itzhak Perlman.” I'm afraid that's not going to happen. It just doesn't. I think being a recluse in the Glenn Gould way doesn't really work anymore. In this day and age, people always crave for some sort of communication. Probably the only equivalent of those iconic hermits today is Martha Argerich who can play only five concerts a year and people go crazy over these five concerts. To be honest, you can network without thinking about it. The fact is you can make really good friends with colleagues and people in the business without the pretense, “I must know so and so.” The really nice part about the business
78 Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 48

side of music is making friends without thinking, “They must have an agenda.” Genuine friendships can be forged.79 Question 8 How has the journey to success changed for today's musician?

Arnold Steinhardt: I think the general standards have risen tremendously. In other words, whereas there were fewer people who reached a really fantastic level of artistry- there were always those in any age- but now the sheer number of musicians who are on a high artistic and technical level coming out of the conservatories is pretty amazing. In the old days, there tended to be, I don't know if it was the need or the culture of music that compartmentalized musicians so that you became a soloist, a chamber music player, an orchestra player, or you became a teacher. And yes, one element bled slightly into the other. People didn't do exactly one thing or the other with the exclusion of everything else. But I think there were these walls that were built up. I think those have come down to a large extent. I would tell a violin student of mine if they would ask my opinion, not too many necessarily do [chuckles], I would say try and play with a full deck of cards. In other words, play the violin, play the viola. Study music. Study the background of music. Study so that you are a musician rather than an instrumentalist. Also, go and speak in public. Learn as much of the world around you as possible because you don't know where your career will lead you. The more things you have at your disposal, just to become a complete musician, never mind the career possibilities, is for the better. But also for your career possibilities, you widen them. That was even true to a smaller degree when I was going to school. I discovered the viola and began playing the viola. I had no idea what the career implications for that were. I just did it because I loved it and at some point while I was still in school I landed a job as last chair viola in the Casals Festival Orchestra. This was a huge turning

79 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 49

point in my life, musically. I didn't learn the viola because I thought this would be a good career move for me but it just turned out to be very significant.80

Cho-liang Lin: Juilliard in the 70's put a lot of emphasis on the solo repertoire training especially the violin department. The two main teachers were Galamian and Delay. They wanted nothing less than superstar violinists to come out of their studios. Now I think there is more grounding in orchestral and chamber music training. The expectation is one that will land you a secure job soon. That's the priority, not some lofty goal. That's the main difference between Juilliard then and Juilliard now.81

Elmar Oliveira: I think it is so difficult now. First of all, I think the competition has increased. There are so many more violinists vying for solo careers, for orchestra positions, for positions in string quartets and chamber groups. It's just enormous! If there's an orchestra audition for an opening in the second violin section of a B grade orchestra in the United States you often have 100, 200, even more applicants. This is something that never happened 40 or 50 years ago. The enormous development of just the physical ability to play the instrument has improved on a general level. I have to absolutely make a point of the word general because I don't believe anybody plays the violin better than any of the great violinists of the past. Even on a technical level I don't think anybody has achieved anything more incredible than Jascha Heifetz, Milstein or Leonid Kogan in his prime. These are violinists that no one has surpassed in the younger generations. But there are many more that can play on a general level, much higher than the general level of violin playing was of, let's say, 40 or 50 years ago.82

Suzy Perelman: I think the standards are higher. People just play more cleanly. There is this
80 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 81 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 82 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 50

mass success of Asians. I played through an audition recently for a friend in New York Phil and he said “Suzie, you sound amazing, but there will be Asians there who will kick your ass.” It’s an interesting phenomenon, but no one will deny that there are enormous amounts, and I’m just going to stick with violin playing, Asian violin players that play so cleanly. I am forever

analyzing this. Are Asians more genetically, anatomically fit for it? Do the chopsticks at an early age make the fine motor skills develop more quickly? Is it the discipline that they spend more hours in the practice room? Maybe all of the above, I don’t know. But it used to be that the symphony orchestras were filled with Jews and I am one of them. Jewish people had the reputation of staying in the practice room and having it in their souls. Now symphony

orchestras have a huge Asian population. The standards on cleanliness is higher.83

David Arben: In my time you didn't have jets. In my days it took you 7,8,9 days to cross the Atlantic. Artur Rubinstein would bring his piano on the boat. Menuhin would cross the Atlantic giving concerts in Europe or the United States. You didn't play 150-175 concerts per year. There was no such thing. There was a very great Romanian pianist who died at the age of 33 of Hodgkin's disease, years ago. Those who know pianists know of Dinu Lipatti. And I was fortunate enough to hear him in 1949 in Geneva playing the Schumann Concerto. I must admit I didn't know that much about piano music [at that time] but I was very impressed and so was the entire world. I would read articles he wrote and he would say, “A true artist cannot play more than one concert a week.” Dedication to each concert you play requires a charge emotionally, spiritually, and mentally in order to come out fresh again. People who play 2,3,4 concerts a week don't take it seriously. They just make more money.84

Luis Biava: I think it's probably the best time for musicians- a chance to be so close to the best. I see these DVDs now that come out with the old artists. Now you can actually see their position
83 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 84 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 51

and bow arms. Before we were just imagining it. There is so much access to our history which is important to have. I believe in tradition and technology takes you back to the past in so many ways. It's great! It's wonderful for us to get that culture and knowledge, the old style, the new style. It's more competitive than ever with so many more musicians. We have countries that never before were involved in the western classical field- Japan, Korea, also South America. Finally we see many talented people growing up in different cities where you never expected to see musicians. Also the opportunity you have to travel. It's easier now because you have many more festivals and summer camps. There's more competition so you have to be better.85

Lisa Sutton: Well, it seems that the job market has not increased in line with the number of qualified people who are graduating from music schools. Therefore it seems that the successful ones are those who are extremely motivated and determined. Also, today’s brand of young musician seems to be armed with confidence and more prepared to create job opportunities for themselves, if necessary.86

Mark Summer: You'd think that I'd be able to speak to that really well but when I was younger I had so much less clarity about what I needed to do to make it. To me it's an awakening as I get older and keeping my eyes open. We had a record company, Windham Hill, that was very supportive of us in a way that I couldn't even see. They hired a publicist for one of our recordings. They took good care of their artists. They paid royalties. It's been finding out that a lot of the clichés of the music business are true and that you really have to pay attention. You have to be willing to walk away from things and keep your eyes open. The big things that have changed are if people had trouble selling recordings before they're really having trouble now because of digital downloading and file swapping. Live performances are more important for artists than ever before. You know when you hear David Bowie talking about how he's going to
85 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 86 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 52

make most of his money from live performance as opposed to recording- that startled me. I think what is happening for people in my part of the business is alternative chamber music is becoming more mainstream. It's kind of becoming the new classical music. Mainstream classical music is having to grow and evolve. The old school audiences that want to hear the orchestras play the old war horses are all dying. Young people aren't necessarily going to be drawn into their standard fare that was being presented when I was first starting out. My group was way ahead of its time. When we first started out and played a four movement string quartet that was all original music that David had written that combined Indian styles and Jazz, Bluegrass and Classical music, the audience was a little mystified. They always really liked us but in terms of convincing the public that this is something to support in a big way- it's been challenging. M y feeling is that this is becoming easier and more mainstream.87

David Arben: I haven't had a boy student in years. Boys don't seem to be as interested. Now you go to every major and minor orchestra, you see every year, there are- I have nothing against girls, I love women, I love girls- but every year there are more girls and less boys, especially in the United States. The new crop of talent comes from China. The first [Asian country producing talent] was Japan, then Korea and now it's China.88

Question 9 What role does the competition serve in the artist's career?

Elmar Oliveira: I think competitions are good. They are good because of the opportunity it can give a young person. But the importance of winning a competition perhaps has been diminished in our current time because there are so many competitions and there have been so many winners.
87 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 88 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 53

The market can only assume so many players. [Competitions are good] in the sense that they can draw that attention and maybe give one the opportunity to at least present one's art to the public. I'm not sure that what happens after that is so dependent on winning a competition.89

Luis Biava: I think the purpose of the competition is for the experience. When I go for a competition for the first time I don't expect to win but I go [hoping] to win. I'm going to find out so many other things. There are many situations when you have to be physically and mentally strong. And then there's the politics of judges with students in the competition. I would always go to a competition or an audition, very positive, to learn and to win. And if you don't win, you get up again and keep going.90

Arnold Steinhardt: I hate them but I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I lost my share of competitions but for the ones that I did well in, they were a huge factor of my life, both educationally and in terms of advancing my career. Many people are against them, and I understand for the obvious reasons why they are, but on the other hand, unless you’re lucky enough to have a wealthy, private sponsor, to provide you with the money and open all the necessary doors to connect you with the people who matter, competitions are a valuable tool.91

David Arben: Competitions can be a great help to fame. They have done it for quite a few people over the years. It's a tiny planet. The minute you win a competition the whole world knows that you won. Everybody signs you up and everybody wants you to be the first to play for them. If you're very good the managers want you. Van Cliburn was a wonderful pianist and playing occasionally. He won the Tchaikovsky International Competition at a time when a cold war was going on between the United States. This started his international career. He deserved it
89 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 90 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 91 Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 54

anyway but he may not have had this kind of career [if he hadn't won the Tchaikovsky International Competition]. When I was a little boy David Oistrakh came to compete in the Wieniawski Competition in Warsaw. There was a women by the name of Jeanette Nevu. She got the first prize. Oistrakh got the second prize. I don't have to sell Oistrakh to you. He was a great violinist. A fantastic violinist, I heard him a number of times. He was just incredible. By the way, a very wonderful human being.92

Cho-liang Lin: I think they are both good and bad. It's good in that it gives young violinists a chance to show their stuff, to learn about where they stand among their peers. Also on the few occasions that the winner, finalists, will get recognized is great. The bad part is that many, including the top winners don't get anywhere after a competition, even a major one. If you tabulate the top competitions around the world- Tchaikovsky, Queen Elisabeth, Indianapolisand look at their past winners for the last 20 years to see where they have gone and how many names you might recognize, you might be surprised you don't know most of them. [Competitions] don't carry the same impact that they did in the 60s and 70s. The three biggies were Levintritt in the States, Tchaikovsky in Moscow, and Queen Elisabeth in Brussels. Also at that time the cold war created competition between the Soviet Union and US which created a lot of news. It was news worthy. Now you announce the winner of the Tchaikovsky and everybody yawns. I hate to be cynical but I think that is accurate. Competitions can be good. I encourage my students to participate in them only if they want to. If they find that it's a good challenge for them to work, gets them to practice more and get certain repertoire ready, great.93

Twenty year old Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, still a student at Juilliard, won the Walter W. Naumburg 1981 International Violin competition. Of the experience, she says, “Never again – I lost 8 pounds in 5 days!” But winning the competition put into high gear a career that already
92 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. 93 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 55

included playing with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Manila Symphony in the Philippines.94

Josef Gingold: Bela Bartok once suggested that musical competitions are like horse races, and that musicians make poor horses. I agree that a musical competition can be dehumanizing if it loses sight of its purpose: that is, to help the most talented young musicians at a critical time in their transformation from brilliant students to acknowledged artists. On the other hand, a great competition, as we know from recent experience, does not produce a single winner like a horse race, but many winners who achieve critical and popular acclaim as a direct result of their participation.95 Question 10 What are your feelings on managers and how they've affected the concert artist's career?

Mary Lou Falcone, ML Falcone Public Relations: At the beginning of a career nothing is ever too much. Everybody wants more, more dates, more publicity, more record contracts, you name it. After that kicks in and that becomes a reality a lot of artists find themselves overwhelmed.96

Sheldon Morgenstern: I know of only three managers worldwide who I trust and respect. 99.9% have little or no interest in the client's personal well being. Except for one management agency I was quite fortunate.97

Elmar Oliveira: I think a manager is a very important person in a concert artist's career. Once a person puts all the elements together, the networking, the socializing, the violin playing, the

94 Marum, Lisa, “Keep your eye on Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg” Ovation Vol. 3 No. 7 (Aug 1982): 38. 95 Gingold, Josef, “In Defense of Competitions” Ovation Vol. 3 (Mar 1982): 8. 96 Falcone, Mary Lou, ML Falcone Public Relations. Speaking in Strings. Dir. Paola di Florio. Perf. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. CounterPoint Films, 1999. 97 Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 April 2007. 56

talent and the sound... At that point there is nothing that the artist can do. It is up to the manager to be the great presenter that a manger should be. A manager is basically a salesman. They should be extremely well connected and extremely well respected by the people in the music industry that put on concerts. Once everything is as together as it can be on the artist's side, the key element is what can the manager do with it. Of course the manager has to face the same reality that the violinist, pianist, soloist, instrumentalist has to face, that it is an incredibly competitive world out there. It's not always possible to get the ultimate results that you're looking for but it should be in the ballpark.98

Luis Biava: They have the power. They can bring you close to many good things. I really don't mind. You need an agent, people that promote you because they know how to do it.99

Mark Summer: For our group an agent manager has been essential to getting us to a certain place of success. I can see how that would be true of many artists. As much as they want to be in control of their careers and make all their decisions, without some input from a manager... I'm differentiating between a manager- we had managers who were dealing the business of things and who also had artistic input. I'd say they're pretty essential.100

Question 11 What do you think of recordings, old versus new? What effects have they had?

Victor DeRenzi: A lot of great, dead people have made recordings. So if you're looking for a string quartet- let's say the Budapest String Quartet from the 1940's. It's going to be pretty

98 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 99 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 100 Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 57

fantastic so why would you want another recording when you can get 5 recordings by all these famous people. In addition you have these over-produced recordings that are slick, farely emotionless and no error in them. I think it sends an unhealthy message to performers and audience because it says, “This is what we expect.” In a recording no one misses their high note so we want our singers on stage not to miss their high notes. So what happens is development of a technique that is not about being expressive or about taking risks, it's about matching the unrealistic recording. I don't know what's going to happen to the industry because nobody is buying recordings. First of all, they're copying them from friends instead of spending $20 on a CD.101

Cho-liang Lin: First of all, going back to my old definition of success where I said recording career was priority. 25 years later, it's not a priority anymore because recording labels are all suffering and they are cutting way back. Sales are way down. Right now it's rather amorphous in that a recording contract may not guarantee anything. It's a bonus if you have a big label pushing you but if you look at labels, what they're pushing and whom they're pushing, it's often based on appearance, sex appeal, a certain look, a certain marketability. It's not a recognition of real talent anymore. In that sense, it's a very different game today and I would not put a strong recording career as a priority in any young artists' career.102

Lisa Sutton: Recordings are a fantastic resource for all of us, old or new. With regard to our own recordings, it is important to remember that whenever you record a product, even if it is a simple audition or demo CD, it must be your best possible effort. Anything less than that can have a very negative affect on your success.103

101 102 103

Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 58

Luis Biava: I think they are an important vehicle to promote yourself, also through radio and TV. I think this should be part of the career. Now when you present a resume to a manager you also include a recording which is a great help. I think it is also good to record because the microphone is the worst judge of all. I also like to record myself.104

Suzy Perelman: I think [excessive editing] is a shame. I think there is a dehumanization in the whole thing. We are people and we are not perfect. I would rather hear the real person and have him play a sour note once in a while than have everything touched up to be perfect. But that’s the standard these days. If I were to make a recording myself and I have the option of somewhat doctoring it up to make my sour notes beautiful, I might take it too. That’s what happens these days. But that’s why we prefer live performances as opposed to listening [to recordings]. I listened to my share of music but I listen to more of it in person. That’s where you really connect with the person.105

Sheldon Morgenstern: It seems to me that recordings are no longer as useful as they were even a decade ago since anyone can now make their own CD.106

Laura Albers: I don't see the whole point [in all the editing]. Give me an old recording any day. [The editing makes] everybody sound the same. Julie and I did the Kodaly duo in Munich. The guy edited it like there was no tomorrow. character and you’re missing stuff.107 It doesn’t sound anything like us. There’s no

David Arben: How come Heifetz didn't try to play like anybody else? That's the greatness. You can try any recording and spend your life trying but nobody can achieve it. The ones you can
104 105 106 107 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. Suzy Perelman, 14 May 2007. Sheldon Morgenstern, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. 59

achieve imitating, you don't want to imitate. I don't believe in imitating. I like the way you look but I don't want to look like you. I would be better off if I looked like you [smile]. You have to be an original. Unfortunately with young people today, they are very skilled technically. They buy records. They don't hear what they are listening to. The emotions these artists possess, [these students] don't have, so they don't recognize it. They try to imitate. They play well. They might even have a career, but it's not authentic.108

Arnold Steinhardt: I’m not a wild fan of recordings because I think they suppress talent rather than aiding it. In many cases I think records do not represent the best of an artist. There are very few artists who sound as good on record as they do in the public. I bought a record of a very famous pianist playing Schubert’s Improptu and thinking when I listened to it, 'This is all very, very good, but just a little boring.' And I heard an electrifying performance, on the air, wondered who it was, and it was the same pianist, but it was a recording that had been released of a live performance. When was the last time you heard a mistake [on a recording]. CD’s don’t have mistakes on them. They often don’t have much that’s inspiring. They’re all good, all clean, but many of them are rather cautious. That’s certainly one of the dangers of recording. So, I guess it really has changed things. It’s put much more pressure on people to be accurate. But it hasn't put more pressure on people to really flap their wings, take off and fly as musicians.109

Hilary Hahn: One thing I don't like about recordings these days, as opposed to old recordings that I like listening to, is that old recording technology was selective in what it picked up. Each players differences were magnified because the technology couldn't pick up everything. Certain things would jump out clearer and other things wouldn't be heard. For example, extra noise that the bow produces, I don't think it would have been an issue for primitive recording technology because they were playing into a horn [chuckle]. The orchestra couldn't pick up the orchestra
108 109 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 60

half the time. Later on the technology started to pick up more but it still wasn't the case that it is today which is that every little extra noise in the hall, every little motion back and forth around the microphone, every little violin mechanical noise, if I have a sticky finger and I lift it off the string it'll pluck the string a little bit. That can't be on the recording because it's extra noise that should not be present under current recording standards. You have to be aware of more things than is really convenient when playing but nonetheless I still prefer the idea of studio recording to the idea of live recording because when I'm on stage I don't want to be thinking about how it's coming across on the microphones. I just want to be thinking about how it's coming across to the audience.110

Elmar Oliveira: I think the state of the art of recording has improved phenomenally. I think that's great for the listener. It's virtually impossible to know how an artist plays until you actually hear them play in a performance venue because of all the editing and splicing that everybody does in the studio. Quite often people are disappointed because their expectations are set so high. These days almost everybody puts out a technically perfect recording, and sounds that project to the back of the hall. You go to the concert and all of a sudden you're quite surprised at what you hear. I think that's one of the drawbacks of what we've done with the recording industry. We've basically made everyone perfect in their own way.111

Question 12 Most of the things I read about classical music in America is that it's on its way out. Since this is a vital component to our success what do you think?

Victor DeRenzi: I think they've been saying that for years and I think they're full of baloney. I
110 111 Hilary Hahn, violinist. Hilary Hahn: A Portrait. Dir. Benedict Mirow. Deutsch Gramaphone, 2007. Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. 61

think if you opened an article from 1920 when Rudy Valley was recording some stupid song, people were saying the same thing. I think there are two things they don't trust, and they're the two most important things. One is the music. The music is never, ever wrong. So you don't need to fix that. And the other thing is the audience and there's never anything wrong with the audience. If there's something wrong with the performance it's because we as the performers are not performing the music well. I don't know what makes a greater impact than a Beethoven Symphony, a Verdi Opera, or any of the great music that we play. There's nothing better than that. But you have to believe it and you have to trust that the audience will get it if you just do it [right]. It doesn't need a gimmick, a light show or anything like that. The people in this country have started not trusting our product. They say, “People aren't coming.” Well maybe people aren't coming because you're boring them. Sometimes it's a good sign when an audience doesn't come. We're not doing our job and they're saying we'd better do our job better. For me, part of the job is that the audience is involved in the performance. I've always felt that the audience is as much part of a performance as the musicians or the singers. I went to opera in the 60's in New York when that's really what happened. People would scream and yell. When a singer came on stage, before they even sang a note, the audience would applaud and be a part of the performance. That's how it always was. We have this idea that we live in this sterile musical world and don't applaud between movements of a symphony. Well, why not? If you like it, why not applaud? Why deny the audience? You can cough, talk to your neighbor and your cell phone can go off but you can't applaud for us. They used to encore movements of symphonies. For many years, the end of the 1800s, you would play a movement of the symphony, not the entire thing... I think the wrong thing is to distrust the music and to distrust the audience. If you're doing an opera like La Boheme and your selling 70% of your house, the problem is not Puccini, the problem is how we're performing it.112

112

Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 62

Luis Biava: I don't see it as on its way out. I have a grandson and he lives in Montgomery County. I went to one of the Symphony concerts when my grandson was young. The concert involved the entire organization. They had the highest symphony orchestra. They had the 2nd and 3rd tier orchestra, 4th ... I heard 5 orchestras that day, all symphony repertoire. Big cases, little cases. It was like a new world, a new paradise. This is happening now. This happened not too long ago.113

Cho-liang Lin: I don't think classical music is on its way out. It's constantly in danger of being wiped off because we occupy this tenuous niche that is so at the mercy of funding. We don't usually make that much money in this business, not like a pop tour or a rock concert where the profit is clear. Often a lot of people work in this business based on good faith and a passion for music. Right now I still see a huge amount of passion among those in the business and that's a good sign. Periodically you see doom and gloom reports about so and so sales dropping, ticket revenue down, CD sales down, but ten years after such reports come out you see the same orchestras operating. Some of them rebound nicely. Composers today are still cranking out some really wonderful works. I think it's there. The question is what format. CD sales are a worrisome trend but I think that's an industry-wide worry. The pop world is worried about it too. In that sense I feel good that classical music is in the same boat as the multi-billion dollar Hollywood and pop music industry. I wonder if 50 years ago there were only elderly people going to concerts too. What became of them? They couldn't have continued to live for the next 50 years [laughter] so there must be a steady supply of these people. This country faces a big problem in that music education in the schools is poor and non-existent. So where you find the next generation of audience is always a struggle. Whereas when you go to Asia the audience you find are much younger. That is healthier in a sense. But the same thing exists whether the average age is 65 or the average age is 35, if you don't turn out something attractive to the crowd
113 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 63

nobody will show up. It's that simple.114

Jorja Fleezanix: We have no control of the future. But I'm in it right now; I'm actively involved... If [music] comes from the core of the performer, the voice of the creator, then you're getting a line that's one of the most powerful ways of drawing us together- and I've never known music to pull people apart.115

Elmar Oliveira: I don't believe it. I don't think classical music will every disappear. Classical music is one of the few lasting things we have. We have so many more orchestras than we did, so many more concerts than we did, so many more soloists than we did. We're trying to absorb all of this into everyone's life and it's not possible to do. We have to face the reality that not everyone can have a place in the music world. But having said that, I think there are many more places than there used to be. You can hear more in a major city than you could ever hear 30 or 40 years ago. And not even major cities, minor cities. There are orchestras that have crept up in so many different places in the United States that never had orchestras before, or had orchestras that were of minimal artistic importance. We're seeing that a lot of them are surviving. Some of them have their problems and some continue to have their problems that have a lot to do with what they expect to achieve and how much money they think they need to do it. We've also been in a flux from a style of sponsorship in this country that was mostly dependent on corporate sponsorship and has totally gone to the individual sponsorship field. Corporate sponsorship is something that most orchestras and series don't spend the amount of time chasing after anymore because they know they need individual people to give them the kind of support money-wise that can sustain what their doing. So that's been another change that's caused orchestras to not do so well for a time. But that's changing as people learn what it is that needs to be done. Unfortunately we don't have the interest in classical music in the home like we did and in the
114 115 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Violin Virtuosos (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 45. 64

schools like we used to have. That's the biggest loss in this country that has caused young audiences to be so hard to develop. We need to work on that. But I definitely don't think classical music will ever die in this country or any country that has supported it for the last 300 years.116

Mark Kaplan: There is a real crisis in classical music in the United States today... Now all those series are gone, orchestras are closing down, and wherever you go, people are complaining that there's not enough audience, especially young audience. The reason is not hard to find. When I was a kid, elementary schools had orchestras and you could study any instrument. Hardly any of the students became musicians, but they did become lovers of classical music and members of future audiences. Most of these public-school programs were cut and a whole generation has grown up thinking classical music is weird. There is an illusion that art, like virtue, is its own reward, so it's all right to let artists starve. Musicians don't expect to get rich, but they do have to live. And what's more, virtue can be practiced silently, but art demands to be

communicated.117

Hilary Hahn: I think [the future of classical music in America] has a big future. We have a lot of great musicians and there is so much great music. It's a matter of bringing music to people who ordinarily wouldn't come to concerts.118

Question 13 What do you consider your greatest successes and why?

116 117 118

Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. Violin Virtuosos, Mary VanClay ed. (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 65,67. Ibid, 99. 65

Cho-liang Lin: I've done all sorts of things in my life with my musical abilities. There are some defining moments in my life as a concert violinist that were very thrilling and life-changing. For instance, making my debut when I was twenty with the Philadelphia Orchestra. That was a thrilling moment for me. One that made me feel like I belonged. When you're studying as a teenager in school you're never sure whether you'll become a worthy player or not. You keep trying. You win a little here. You lose a little there. But that moment when I was playing with Ormandy and Philadelphia, it made me feel like I could do it after all. That was a very important moment in my life. Then, similarly, another moment came in 1991 when my late teacher Dorothy Delay asked me if I would consider teaching at Juilliard. Of course, that was a very exciting proposition. One that I actually hesitated before I said yes because I thought I was not qualified. I had been giving masterclasses around the world but I wasn't sure if I was ready to take [teaching] on seriously. But I did and 16, 17 years later I feel like it has added one more dimension to my overall musical make-up. Another very defining moment is the realization that I could do something about music, not only by playing but by actively promoting and getting new works written- whether I can persuade an orchestra to commission a violin concerto for me or through my La Jolla Summerfest to pursue composers to write chamber music works for the festival. In other words, how to use other people's money effectively [laughter] for not only what I personally think is worthwhile but also for music at large. Those three areas have been very defining moments- concert career, first as a player and performer, as a teacher, and as a musical administrator.119

Elmar Oliveira: I think winning the Tchaikovsky Competition was a great musical success for me because it enabled me to get the attention of the public. Before I went to the Tchaikovsky Competition I had won the Naumberg Violin Competition and that helped my career somewhat. I started performing when I was very young. I appeared with the New York Philharmonic when
119 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 66

I was 16 years old. I made my orchestral debut when I was 14. I've always had concerts to play on a regular basis. When I was much younger I didn't play a lot because my parents didn't feel it was necessarily a good thing to do. I think they were very right about that. My career first developed as a persevering kind of career, as I said before. Trying to do everything one can to make more things happen for oneself. The Naumberg helped quite a bit but the Tchaikovsky was the thing that really brought my name to the attention of the international music world. Once I was able to do that and appear with all of the major orchestras and major presenters of recitals, etc. the good that happened was I performed very consistently, I had something individual to offer and people noticed that. And that's what sustained my re-engagements over the last 30 years.120

Victor DeRenzi: I think my greatest success is in building Sarasota Opera. I've been there twenty-five years and when I got there there was, practically speaking, no opera company. I was able to take this idea of how I think music should be made and make Sarasota a place where that could happen. Also creating a performance community where these 250 people are there every season, coming together and working towards the same goal. I think often when you have that many people coming together it's very hard to get those people to commit to the same aesthetic of performance and to find a way that everyone can do that without losing their own personality. I think this happens very often in the music field- people will buy into something but suddenly it becomes a personality-less, dehumanized situation. My hope is that I've created this community of music-makers but everyone feels like they're important and getting to be themselves.121

Suzy Perelman: I’ll answer the why first. Throughout my life people have instilled in me and maybe it’s inherent, but belief that I have something very special about my playing that no one
120 121 Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 67

else has. In audition, what is known as a cattle call, 25 people can be in the same room playing their most successful licks. It’s the little voice inside of me that says, “It sounds like they are having an easy time of this, but there is something about my playing that no one has and I am going to show the judges that.” What have been my greatest successes? I’ve won a couple of orchestra jobs and that’s been my dream since I was little. I was in the Utah Symphony for one year. I got to the finals in Pittsburg and I subbed with them, all over the world. I went to South America with them, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Carnegie Hall. And then I won the San Antonio job and was there for five years, five years in Texas which was not my cup of tea exactly, but they were wonderful people and a great orchestra, despite its’ financial woes and its’ deadly heat. I enjoyed it and considered those major successes. Next I left Texas and became concert master of Phantom of the Opera National Tour. Broadway was always in the back of my mind. I auditioned, but it was an invited audition. I spent two years of homelessness. I was on the road with Phantom of the Opera and I loved every second of it. Seven hundred twenty performances of the same thing and I loved it. New York has been great to me. I came in with a Broadway job and thanks to Phantom my connections, my angels looked out for me and I came in with Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang which lasted a year. That show introduced me to new people. My most recent success is I got a job with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. And I have another Broadway show. It’s called Love Music. It’s the life story of Kurt Vile. I’m crazy about it.122

Luis Biava: I think even when you are turning the corner because of age, you never think that you have done enough, not only for yourself but for others. There's always so much to do. Working with the students. It's a big field to try to create good things for them. But I am very proud of some of the things I have done in my life like creating this program at [Temple Prep], the Youth Chamber Orchestra which started this year. As a musician, something that comes to mind, I was very happy when I won the audition for Philadelphia Orchestra. As a violinist, I was coming
122 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 68

from a different country, so I was fortunate to audition and make it here. I came from National Symphony. Also, my achievements in my native country, Bogota. I studied violin there. I am a product of the National Symphony Orchestra because I became a part of them. I became concertmaster, assistant conductor, associate conductor and finally music director. So these are the artistic achievements that I feel [most proud of]. I always try to do things in the name of the music.123

Lisa Sutton: Rebecca, when you got into the finals at San Francisco Opera, that was a great success for me. To be able to share what I know with someone and to have it result in something positive is hugely rewarding. Also, doing work on committees that represent musicians is

rewarding – knowing that you have helped secure employment and working conditions for future generations. Artistically, it is rewarding to work for a really great conductor, or to collaborate with wonderful colleagues on great music – it is good for the soul.124

Question 14 Do you think music serves a purpose? Why do you do what you do?

Pablo Casals: Music is [a] marvelous universal language understood by everyone, everywhere. It ought to be a source of better communication among men. I have played my cello for more than half a century. He is my companion and I love him and he loves me. He sounds well to make me happy [smiles].125

David Arben: Humanity gains a lot from whatever [musicians] have to offer. Can you imagine a
123 Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 124 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 125 Casals, Pablo, cellist. Pablo Casals: A Cry for Peace. Dir. Robert Snyder. Masters and Masterworks Productions Inc., 2002. 69

world without music?126

Elmar Oliveira: It serves so many purposes. The biggest purpose it has is what it communicates emotionally to the listener. The listener doesn't necessarily need to know that much about what they're listening to. If they've had a lousy day and they go to a concert and hear something and it makes them feel good, they might not even know why, that's already so much better than going to the psychiatrist and paying $100 to figure out why you're so depressed. Music stirs emotions of human beings the way nothing else can. Music can make you angry, scared, upset, laugh, cry, there's nothing that it can't do. Ultimately that's what an artist wants to do, to communicate all those emotions to the public. In a very abstract way, as a performer we connect so much with our audiences individually in ways that we don't know. It's completely abstract but that's what happens. You don't meet [your audience] and yet you've affected their lives. It's an incredibly strong force of nature. I love performing. It's like breathing and eating. It's something I could not live without. It's a great responsibility. I don't play in a void. The quality, consistency,

musicianship, and artistry of my playing are very important to me. [These are things I] am constantly involved with from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep. I strive to achieve the best playing in order to communicate everything that I can to my audience about me as the performer, the composer and the music. It's a great honor to play the violin. It's an honor that has been given to me in which I have a great respect. I continually strive and work hard to deserve that honor.127

Luis Biava: [The purpose] has to be music always. Music will be with us forever, which is a great thing. Music can do wonders to the spirit, young or old. We should all learn and study music.128
126 127 128 David Arben, Personal Interview, 10 May 2007. Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 70

Donald Weilerstein: Music is what I generally respond to and am most inspired by. And I try to transfer that response into communicating to others, both through my playing and through my teaching. I've always wanted to try to help as much as I can in terms of making other people's lives as fulfilling as they can be, to help bring out what they have to communicate to others too. That's the basis of a lot of what I do, the urge to communicate with people through music and also to communicate to others in helping them to give their music to other people. It is in this field that I feel the most response to and the most able to help of anything that I can do. I reach out as much as I can through my own playing and a lot through my teaching. I find it very rewarding and fulfilling work. I'm very happy doing that.129

Lisa Sutton: Music serves many purposes – but hopefully it is something that is food for the collective soul. I do it because I am able to – and I enjoy it.130

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg: Classical music is like a drug. It's food for your soul.131

Cho-liang Lin: Music began as an expression of human emotion and it's evolved so. Humans have manipulated the shape and form of music but for me it has always come from the heart. So as long as it echoes human emotion and continues to do so, I don't see any change in that. It's like great paintings and great dramas. It will always be a part of human existence.132

Suzy Perelman: I think it has a purpose on many levels. The most important of which is it’s a vehicle of expression. Sounds so cliché, but it is… My violin is my voice in many ways. I have
129 Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. 130 Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 131 Salerno-Sonnenberg, Nadja, violinist. Speaking in Strings. Dir. Paola di Florio. Counterpoint Films, 1999. 132 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 71

a voice, but the violin is more of a voice. It can do more things that my own voice can do. People have something to express, but if they don’t know how to do it they come to us and watch us do it and somehow that gets it out of them as well. It is what I do on the most joyous occasions. I remember getting on to a subway train one morning after a really hard audition, and the subway train was completely empty. What did I do? I started belting out lyrics, because that’s what we do when you have a lot of stuff inside. When you feel like screaming, that’s music. Or if you feel like crying, that’s music. All of that is doable on the violin. When your own voice doesn’t have enough power to get that out, the violin does, at least for me. I think it’s necessary to have music study in life.133

Victor DeRenzi: It's the only reason to live. Art is the only thing that makes us different from the animals. Every animal needs a place to sleep. The fact that we make the place to sleep more beautiful makes us different. It places us higher on the food chain. If we didn't have great music I think life would be unbearable because there's such horror that goes on all over the world- not just today but there always has been. You need something to balance out these atrocities of the horrible side of man. Germany gave us Hitler and they gave us Beethoven. If they didn't give us Beethoven how would we deal with Hitler? I don't believe [music is] all the same. I'm not one of these people that think there's validity in everything. Conducting is the second hardest thing I do in my life. The first hardest is not conducting.134

Question 15 What are the words of wisdom you would like to pass on to the future concert artists?

Donald Weilerstein: I've learned more just by example of watching fine musicians and how they
133 134 Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 72

work. For instance Robert Mann's total dedication to music, or Ivan Galamian, how he taught and related to people. In terms of advice to give someone, be true to oneself and one's response to music. But also be true to the music you're playing, be guided by what the composer has written. Then use your imagination to take off from [the page]. Realize that music-making is a lifelong process of growing and communicating to others. It doesn't have to be in so called “important” venues. It is equally important to give the music to small children in a nursery school setting, church, nursing homes... One should remember that the basic reason one is in music, or for me anyway, is to communicate it the best way I possibly can.135

Suzy Perelman: First of all it’s important to keep in mind that you started in this business because you loved it. It should always be a joyous experience. And if it’s not, pull out that child in you that loved to play music and just make sure she is still part of who you are in a big way. Also, keep in mind that nobody plays like you do. Nobody has your unique quality of playing. That is a beautiful thing that you enjoy and other people will enjoy. Of course, there is no substitute for putting in those hours and learning [the music], playing it through for a million people. Then just put it out in the world because people will help you.136

Cho-liang Lin: The more important disciplines given to me are be very tough on myself. I don't beat myself up over every performance but in the preparation and in general existence I require a very high standard for myself. I'm a perfectionist. That is very important for all young players. But the second most important fact that I have learned over the years is simply to have fun. Labor carefully and diligently but don't lose the idea that music should be joy, love, bring a smile to your face, rather than having a sour expression. You often wonder, “Why am I practicing 5 hours a day for the last 15 years killing myself? What for?” Realize it's a privilege to play great

135 136

Donald Weilerstein, Phone Interview, 3 June 2007. Suzy Perelman, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. 73

music. I think that's a good reminder for everyone, myself included.137

Victor DeRenzi: I think the most important thing is you can't let people take your passion away from you. You can't allow that to happen and I find it happens too much. It is the nicest and saddest thing when somebody comes to me after a season and says, “I really loved playing. I haven't enjoyed it this much in years.” You can't let somebody take away your love to play music. One of the great things about being a musician is we all depend on each other and are a part of a community. You make music with other people. You need other people but you can't let other people drain you of your love for music. You have to take from the people you work with what makes them good, not what makes them bad or makes them unhappy. The other thing is to accept where you are and find the positive in that. People want to be soloists and they end up in a string quartet, not so bad. Or you want to be a chamber music player and you end up in an orchestra, still not so bad. Or you want to be an orchestral player and you end up in a pit orchestra, that's really still not so bad. Or you want to be in a pit orchestra and you end up teaching, that's even better. There's just so many things you can do. Rather than I could have been or I should have been, it's where am I and how do I make that a better situation. I would have liked to been music director of La Scala but I enjoy what I do and I try to make it as good as it can be rather than me being miserable because I'm not at La Scala.138

Mark Summer: People always say, “I want to be famous” or “I want to be rich.” How much money do you want? How many concerts do you want to play? Who do you want to play with? Do the things you want to do. You want to play Jazz? Then go and play Jazz. Go listen to the recordings. Go listen to the musicians. Take lessons. Don't just talk about it like it's a nice idea. Take steps. Buy books. Educate yourself.139
137 138 139 Cho-liang Lin, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Victor DeRenzi, Personal Interview, 14 May 2007. Mark Summer, Personal Interview, 1 May 2007. 74

Leila Josefowicz: I've always believed that it's best to forget about what everyone else is doing. The way to be most free as a performer is to not really care what other people think of you, and to not worry about what others have done in the past. You should focus on what you want to do and then go for it. This is advice that I give to every other violinist out there- to every musician, in fact.140

Laura Albers: I would say find your own personality, and develop that. I think that’s more important than anything else - more important than the hours that you spend in the practice room. For an individual, I think it’s most important to be true to yourself. If what you’re playing feels right to you or the gig that you’re taking feels right, go with it. If it doesn’t, find something else.141

Lisa Sutton: Don’t be discouraged, but be realistic about what you can achieve. Be careful what you write; personal conversations are often best. Make sure all the references on your resume are rock-solid. Negotiate when you are offered the job, not after you have taken the job. Read your contract. Smile at the conductor. Remember to say thank-you to the contractor. Be a supportive colleague.142

Elmar Oliveira: Much of the advice are things I've already been saying to you in the interview. Work hard, be disciplined, be honest to what you're doing, strive to develop the skills that you need. Look at your weaknesses and develop them as much as you develop your strengths so that

140 141 142

Violin Virtuosos, Mary VanClay ed. (California: String Letter Publishing, 2000): 20. Laura Albers, Personal Interview, 6 May 2007. Lisa Sutton, Email Interview, 27 May 2007. 75

you can be an outstanding artist, not just a violinist or a performer. Be someone that is able to communicate music on a level which is not just a technical or showmanship level, something that has meaning that can transmit to another human being.143

Luis Biava: Practice. Always be prepared. This is something that my father taught me. The other piece of advice is from Persichetti. He told me once, “Music has so much power for everybody in life.” Let's say you're learning a sonata and you don't know this sonata. If the music is well-written it's going to take you little by little into the right tempo to play this piece. As a conductor this has been tremendous advice. I use it for Beethoven. It eventually falls into the right tempo. Love what you do. I was playing in orchestra and saw people that were bitter. When you sit down or stand up [to conduct], enjoy what you do because this is a great feeling. Also there is so much to learn so try to learn as much as you can. The advice I give to my son, a cellist, is to always be humble. If you're not humble you will not go ahead because you will not learn.144

Arnold Steinhardt: Casals' idea of freedom. At a masterclass he told me the best playing of Bach he ever heard was played by a gypsy. And that I could let my hair down a little bit more. He was actually coaching me to be less disciplined. I thought that was [an] interesting remark. But I think one of the best things I ever received was, and this is in my book that I just wrote; I played Bach for Arthur Loessor, the pianist and scholar, and he said, “Let me dance this piece for you.” And he danced the D minor Partita of Bach, the Ciaconne. This made a deep impression on me, the idea that this sense of dance is embedded in most music. I think that’s an idea that’s grown in me. I have no idea [laughing] whether it’s true or not, but it’s certainly grown in me. [My

143 144

Elmar Oliveira, Phone Interview, 27 May 2007. Luis Biava, Personal Interview, 12 May 2007. 76

personal advice would be to] let your curiosities and your passions lead the way.145

Conclusion

I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview some of the world's best musicians. I want to conclude with the most poignant story of all, the words of David Arben. I first met Mr. Arben when I was eighteen in Puerto Rico at a music festival (where Luis Biava was music director). Mr. Arben led the violin sectionals. I was immediately struck by his dedication to help us, even when collectively we were sounding like a disaster. He had a

wonderfully subtle sense of humor. Each day he would characteristically greet me with a kiss on the cheek, sometimes with a cigar in hand. He possesses a peace and calm that is rare. When I wrote him a card after that summer he still remains the only one to respond to my note of thanks. This forged what has become one of my most treasured friendships. I have only witnessed M r. Arben perform once, the Schubert cello quintet, and no words can describe the beauty that poured forth. Nothing prepared me for the journey he shared with me that Thursday morning in Philadelphia. I knew he was Jewish and that he survived the war. Though I was curious of his history, I never had the courage to ask. As he began, the street noises through his kitchen window faded. The hairs on my arms stood up. My muscles tightened. There was a deep, aching pain in my heart. I could never imagine the horrors he described but I did feel

overwhelming grief that someone I cared for so deeply had suffered so much. May his words serve as an inspiration to us all.

“Since I was two and a half years old, I always wanted to play the violin. What made me interested in the violin was when I was about two and half- and I'm from Warsaw, Poland- I

145

Arnold Steinhardt, Phone Interview, 4 May 2007. 77

would go with my father who got shaved in the barber shop. There were three barbers and one violin and bow hanging on the wall. When one of the barbers didn't have a client, he would pick up the violin and play and the other two barbers would sing along. I was very enchanted with the sound of the violin. The violin scroll reminded me of a human head and I could not understand how this human scroll could make such beautiful sounds. I would go home and pick up two sticks and imitate. I did this since I was about six and a half or seven years old. At seven I insisted and finally got the violin.

“In the old days I was always interested in music although I come from a family of nonmusicians. We had a little radio box and the box was elevated, cemented on the wall. At night I would take a chair, stand on the chair and look into the box listening to the music. It seemed like there should be many people, an orchestra. I was looking in the box for the people and I couldn't find them. This is my story of getting involved with violin. From the very beginning I was always taken to the best teachers. I had a lesson everyday, six days a week. I will never forget after two weeks I was playing something in A Minor and I thought I had achieved greatness because there was one sharp in it. I was so proud of that sharp [smiles]. To me it meant I had achieved something. Then I found out there is more than one sharp- I realized I had not achieved anything. [laughter] Then I found out there are flats, [more laughter] so much more work to be done. I always wanted to play the violin- I loved the violin. I did practice. At that point, I practiced three hours which was a lot. My father had heard other people speaking that I have talent. He took me from one teacher to another which made me more famous. [smiling] After nine months I had already played a recital at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. everybody was proud of me. And it continued until I was almost thirteen. Of course

“When I was twelve the war started and everything fell apart. We tried to hide. We tried to run away. At thirteen my family and I were separated. I had an older brother and a younger sister,
78

grandparents, uncles and aunts. Tragedy happened. Nazis occupied Poland and we were all sent to different concentration camps where my entire family was murdered. The reason I am alive today is because of that violin. There were two occasions where the violin saved my life. In one of the concentration camps, when I was about fourteen and a half, there was a Polish prisoner of war, captured by the Nazis. He was a Jewish man from Poland, I would say in his mid-thirties. The Nazis appointed this Polish prisoner of war, this officer, to be the head of the camp and report to the Nazis. When I entered this camp I reported to him. Not knowing any better, I told him I was a violin virtuoso, because this is what my mother and father used to say. I thought anybody who plays the violin is a virtuoso. If I tell him I am a violinist it may not be enough, he may not understand who I am, but a violin virtuoso. This man talked to me. My luck was that this man knew violin. He asked me with whom I have studied and what I have played. Within two days he got a violin for me that was in his office. I was asked to come to his office. I came to his office, picked up the violin and my fingers wouldn't move. I had not played in over a year and a half, hard labor. I could see the expression on his face. I said “give me some time, I need more time.” “Take all you want,” he said, “and play.” So after three hours, they started to move a little bit. So occasionally I would be called by him so the Nazis would come to my barrack, take me at night after hours- you couldn't be out on your own, you would be killed by the guards above- would take me to his bungalow and I would play for him. He would have supper. I would get something to eat.

“Some weeks later at 6:30 in the morning there was an inspection by the Nazis. We had to all step out. And I realized that the Nazis are asking some people to the left and others to the right. And after a while you realized going to left is not so good because you see young people, old people, and sick people. They collected 105 people, including me. We were marched outside the camp into the woods. There was a grave ready for us and a firing squad. We were asked to line up, three in the front- we had to put clothing, if we had any, on the side. This prisoner of war,
79

the Jewish comandante, saw me, grabbed me and took me to the Obersturmf_rer, which was for this camp the highest rank of the Nazis and said, “he is a violin virtuoso- this is exactly what I told him when I met him- and we need him.” I was the only one that came out alive from 105 people who a few minutes later were shot to death or buried alive. Because of the violin.

“I cannot explain to you why I liked the violin at two and a half, why I picked up two sticks to make believe I was playing the violin and la la la la, I have no idea. And this [violin saving my life] happened another occasion. To me, my violin became my family. My violin became my emotion, my heart, my being. When I grew up to become much older, if ever something would happen in life that I wouldn't be pleased, I would pick up the violin, play, and it would soothe me. The violin is the best thing that ever happened to me- it gave me life. In a documentary I was part of, I was asked, “What is music?” I gave an explanation of what is music but I also said 'to me music is life' because I experienced life in music. 'Music is life. Music is hope. Music is peace.' I cannot ask for more.

“Success is an inner strength and inner feeling. I was with friends the other day in the restaurant. I said certain things. They said certain things. My friends wife turned to me and said, “Prove it to me!” I looked at her, smiled and said, “It took me years to prove to myself. I don't have to prove anything to anybody. I'm not asking you to accept my ideas. You don't have to agree with me but I'm not going to prove to you because I proved to myself many years ago. This was the greatest challenge. If each human can prove to himself, you have proven yourself to the world. Many times an artist, no matter how great they are- the whole world loves them, the whole world appreciates them, they're written up, pictures and posters everyday- are not happy because they have never proven their worthiness to themselves.

“Even at the worst times, in some concentration camps, occasionally there was music. There
80

was a peaceful time because nobody got hurt while you were making music. Before they might kill you and after they might kill you, but not during music. This is the power of music, the most incredible power of humanity.”146

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Marum, Lisa, “Keep Your Eye On Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Violinist.” Ovation V 3 No. 7 ol. (August 1982): 38. Morgenstern, Sheldon. No Vivaldi: A Requiem for Classical Music in North America. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2005. Roe, Elizabeth Joy. “Why Live Concerts Still Matter: A Pianist's View.” The Juilliard Journal V XXII No. 7 (April 2007): 4. ol. Roth, Henry. Violin Virtuosos: From Paganini to the 21st Century. Los Angeles: California Classics Books, 1997. Shinn, So-Chung. “Hei-Kyung Hong: Making History.” Opera News (June 2007): 15-18. Speaking in Strings. Dir. Paola di Florio. Perf. Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, CounterPoint Films, 1999. Steinhardt, Arnold. Violin Dreams. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. Emily Krone “Studies Show Public Speaking Tops Death on Lisas of People's Greatest Fears,” Daily Herald [Arlington Heights, IL]. 13 December 2005, p. 3. Strini, Tom. “All ears turn to new director of Baltimore Symphony,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online, (July 24, 2005), <http://www.jsonline.com/> (accessed 12 May 2007). VanClay, Mary, Stacey Lynn, and Jassamyn Reeves-Brown, eds. Violin Virtuosos. San Anselmo, California: String Letter Publishing, Inc., 2000.

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