About four years ago, I took my lonely violin from the case where it had been languishing for upwards of three decades. That one simple act – reconnecting with what felt like a lost limb – brought me back to life in ways that I have tried to express through my postings on violinist.com. As I ponder my myriad blessings during this season of gratitude, I find myself reflecting on the role the “v.com” community plays in my life.
When it comes to bad news in the music world, trust me – I'm keenly aware of the fall of one great musician after another as the result of abhorrent behavior. I know this brand of evil exists. I've witnessed it. To a degree, I've been personally affected by it. But I simply cannot succumb to the outrage – not where music is involved. I rely on others to root out the truth and mete out the appropriate punishment. If that makes me less of a person (and it arguably does), then I will accept that fate. I wish the offenses made me madder. Unfortunately, they just make me sad.
For me, I cannot allow music to become a place of discord and disillusionment. Which is why I continue to gravitate to this site. If a scandal or crime is discussed (and that's completely appropriate given v.com exists to keep us informed of what's happening in the global violin community), it is done in a manner that provides facts, not opinions. I read the articles, try to ingest the weight of the content, and (I'm not proud to say) am happy when we get back to the business of extolling the violin's virtues and dissecting the complexity of bow distribution.
I need not worry that bad deeds will persist, nor that they will be publicized. They most certainly will, on both counts. I will continue to focus on those actions that glorify the human condition and add to its beauty. In the spirit of giving thanks, let me recount a few of the people on v.com who have brought a dimension of goodness to my life.
I express my gratitude to Elisabeth Matesky, who strives to keep the memory of her beloved mentor, Nathan Milstein, alive. I am inspired by the musings of Michael Kennedy, who reminds us, always with warmth and humor, that we are never too old to challenge ourselves. I take heart in violinists like Paul Stein, who even after a formidable career with one of our top orchestras, still grapples with bow strokes, left hand issues, and the agony of second position. I am delighted by Joshua Iyer, a young violinist and composer, who writes about his performing experiences in a way that reminds me of my youthful love of music.
I find strength in the journey of Karen Allendoerfer, who provides a candid glimpse into her rigorous preparation process. I am grateful to Paul Deck, who takes the time not only to get out and hear live performances, but to write about them for the benefit of those not in attendance. I am intellectually challenged by Pauline Lerner, who enlightens us with socially-significant information, such as music during China's cultural revolution and, nearly a decade ago, the premier of Jennifer Higdon's violin concerto. I am moved by George Wells, who has the compassion and energy to teach those who cannot afford lessons, and is always there to offer a word of encouragement.
And, to state the glaringly obvious, I feel blessed that Laurie Niles has created a forum for those of us who simply love, and are endlessly fascinated by, the violin. She has vicariously taken us to competitions across the globe, master classes with the greats, concerts in every possible venue, and even given us a rare look inside the lives of our favorite performers.
I am truly humbled and grateful to be part of this community. The remarkable opportunity I've been given to contribute to this site as a writer is not lost on me. I offer up my words in a feeble attempt to express my profound gratitude. I give thanks that such a wondrous instrument as the violin has connected us all. And I hope that whatever is served at your Thanksgiving table, it is accompanied by glorious music, which truly is the nourishment of our souls.Tweet
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