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Making Music with Friends - The Joys of Mentoring - Schubert and Our Time

I am so trilled that a lot of people did enjoy Market Square Concerts' Summermusic 2014 programs! It was really an extraordinary experience for musicians from Taiwan, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Australia and US to make music together. Some of us have never played with each other or spoke any English, which made the cohesion of our ideas confirm to me once again that music is a language for things deeper than thoughts or words. I am also feeling really grateful to Market Square Concerts' board members for making musicians feel welcome in their homes and for many excellent meals shared by all of us. Performing on a new violin, made by one of my best friends, Leonid Ferents, has made this year’s Summermusic that much more special for me. It has been 22 years since we have made music together and a reunion was sweet. It is not often you get to perform with a fine violinist, who also makes his own instruments. Here is a sample of what his violins sound like in the Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano by Shostakovich, which we have performed with Stuart Malina, Artistic Director of the HSO at the piano:

Just few days after Summermusic, I jumped into the annual Chamber Music in Grantham festival. I found the level and enthusiasm of participants this year energizing and inspiring. As much as I enjoy performing great music, there are few things in life I find more gratifying than hearing students perform a piece as complex as Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 after a week of coaching them. Here is the link to a recording of the Allegretto movement of the Shostakovich String Quartet No. 3 from the CMIG 2014 final concert on August 3 at the High Foundation Recital Hall, Messiah College performed by Joe DeAngelo & Noelle Torres, violins; Gregory Glessner, viola; and Mike Klucker, cello.

Looking at what I have coming up this week, I am suddenly struck by a realization that I am playing music by Schubert at a memorial service and a friend’s wedding in the same week. The “Death and the Maiden” title suddenly takes on a completely new meaning for me. I have, over the years, performed a dozen of Schubert’s chamber music works, and I always marveled at his ability to celebrate warmth and tenderness in the face of heartbreaking vulnerability of human condition. His ability to write music as terrifying at times as Shostakovich and as fragile as human benevolence makes him resonate unusually strongly for me in light of current events in the world. Seems like a century of horrors following the start of WWI hasn’t taught humanity enough about violence and its consequences…

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