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Emily Grossman

This Could be the Start

October 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Quite honestly, I haven't wanted to write about my new-found cellist, under this superstitious notion that at the mere mention of his name, he would disappear in a wisp of smoke like a candle wish on a birthday cake. Several weeks passed before Kevin and I were able to schedule a real-life rehearsal with Maria, during which I lost more sleep and practiced more hours than I care to admit. Okay, I confess: I practiced as though my musical life depended on it. After all, I didn't want to blow my opportunity... What if he didn't come back?

We would set our sights on Beethoven's Op. 11. And yes, he would be carrying with him a copy of Brahms, just in case. The idea of running through the B major trio seemed surreal; I'd listened to it so many times over the years I had the first movement practically memorized. When I pulled my very own copy out of the mailbox, I felt almost guilty at the thought of laying my fingers on such a hallowed piece--couldn't stand the thought of butchering it. The first late night run-through alone in the studio surprised me, though; even the upstairs neighbors said they liked it. Maybe I'm not as bad as I thought I was!

Kevin, on the other hand... While I was growing up in my somewhat normal childhood, his was spent on six-hour practice days and extensive touring, performing with Carnegie Hall's orchestra-in-residence, The New England Symphonic Ensemble. He envied the freedom of my youth, but I envied his early start, which gave him a native fluency with his instrument that I doubted I would ever be able to match. I'd found a recording on youtube of his playing: brilliant! He could be playing with anyone--yet he insisted upon making the trip down from Anchorage through the mountain pass to play with me. Why?

While our pasts couldn't have been more different, we both came up to Alaska with the similar intention of leaving music behind for good. Likewise, after we got here, we both discovered that we couldn't run away from something that was laced up in our shoes; Alaska proved to be the perfect place to rekindle abandoned dreams. So, regardless of our pasts, our obsessions were alike, and we both went after it like we were making up for lost time. This common ground would be the perfect kindling to fuel our momentum, despite the formidable logistics that set us apart.

I finally found a clear space in the schedule for all of us to meet at Maria's and fixed a date. Oh, I'm such an awkward fool on dates! I feared the worst, but when Kevin and I finally sat down face to face, we really had way too much to talk about and way too much in common to leave room for awkwardness. We were two peas in a pod, actually! Uncanny, to say the least. Rehearsal began with my fair share of bungles and slip-ups, but the ice had been broken, and it could only go uphill from there. Our voices blended so well; already, I knew we were a match. Trying my best to simply enjoy the moment as it existed, I looked at the three of us there, playing Beethoven. Across from me sat someone without judgment, a true musician who not only was excited to be playing with me, but truly viewed me as an equal in every respect. Across from me played the cellist of my dreams. Only, this was real.

"Well, let's run the first movement of Brahms, shall we?"

From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM
Glad to hear things worked out so well! Sounds as if you have found a musical soulmate. Enjoy!
From Christina C.
Posted on October 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM
oh so awesome, Emily. Nothing better than chamber music with people with whom you feel that inexplicable but all-important *click!*
From Tom Holzman
Posted on October 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM
To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca", this could be the beginning of a beautiful musical relationship.

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