November 22, 2018

In a world enamored with confidence, I am grateful for doubt.

In a world where outcomes of our actions rarely align with our intentions, I am grateful for surprises.

In a world fascinated by notoriety, I am grateful for privacy. 

In a world filled with strong rhetoric, I am grateful for music.

In a world celebrating logical explanations, I am grateful for paradoxes.

In a world obsessed with quantifying everything, I am grateful for immeasurable.

In a world of deeply held delusional beliefs, I am grateful for humor.

In a world of competition, striving and strife, I am grateful for cooperation, generos...

November 26, 2017

 "A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal."- Oscar Wilde

Every Thanksgiving, when I try to reflect on things I am most grateful for, I find myself growing more and more appreciative of friendships. As much as I love reading, listening to music, seeing a play, I have always found that the depth of my understanding of these experiences is best revealed in an honest conversation with a friend. I treasure being defeated in a friendly debate almost more than finding a resonance with my ideas, because defeats are tremendously illuminating.

My political...

December 16, 2016

Dear Friends,

     Ya-Ting and I hope that you had a healthy and happy year. I have never done a Christmas letter until now, but I feel compelled to try it because this year has been filled with some new intense experiences, both negative and positive, from the pain of my first real loss to the thrill of my first performance as a soloist with the Harrisburg Symphony after playing in the group for 20 years. 

     On January 1, 2016, while I was celebrating the New Year in Taipei, Taiwan, with Ya-Ting's parents and siblings in the room, and while talking to my parents and brother on...

January 29, 2016

Vladimir I. Sirotin (1963-2016)

"I have one brother" used to be my answer 
To those who politely cared to ask.
I now say "I used to have a brother"
It's strange to me, this new and somber task.

To some he was a source of inspiration
A brilliant wordsmith, fighter for the truth
To others constant source of irritation
A fierce debater with the shortest fuse

To parents he was unfinished project
A constant worry over "fitting in".
I loved debating him on any subject
Somehow both of us would always win

We had to choose in suffocating country
To live in fear, drink, protest or leave
He stayed and...

November 26, 2015

I love meeting new people, talking to people from different walks of life. I find the infinite variety of their life experiences fascinating, and most of the time I walk away enriched by their stories. For me, even the worst moment of initial awkwardness is a tiny price for a glimpse into someone's soul.

I love Thanksgiving for its atmosphere of gratitude. Among my many blessings, perhaps the one I treasure most is a great number of interesting people I have met in my life. I am most grateful for the fact that I could easily at any given moment name three or four dozen people, whom I genuinel...

September 24, 2015

Does music make a moment of time more meaningful, or does the profound moment elevates a piece of music? I know it is a bit of a "chicken and egg" question, but it has been on my mind lately.

I was performing a movement from Bach's E Major Partita for violin solo as a musical offering at my brother-in-law's wedding. While most of the guests were not classical music aficionados, the music did seem to produce intended result of somehow elevating the moment, helping to focus people on the wonderful implications of two people sincerely expressing their love in front of family and friends. 

At th...

December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday due to its uniting nature. After all, there is no political party or religion in the world that is anti-food or anti-gratitude. This year, it was made even sweeter by a visit from a dear old friend. It is amazing how little time and distance matter when you have an authentic connection with someone.  Turns out, the language barrier is not such a big deal either, because my wife and my friend have communicated with ease using a very small number of Russian and English words.  It is amazing how powerfully energizing a personal presence and a good conversation...

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