The Week in Hope-Inspiring Spontaneous Music Online, Op. 9

May 11, 2020, 6:29 PM · It probably wasn't my best idea to create this week’s roundup immediately after watching a particularly touching episode of Call the Midwife and then having a Mother’s Day FaceTime session with my grown son who lives 5,000 miles away. So please forgive me if my selections are a little sentimental and family-focused — with an emphasis on love, togetherness, and the joys of motherhood.

This week we feature a young mom (and fabulous violist) playing an incredible Chinese tune (with a tiny tot hiding in the wings). You’ll find a mother-son duo who prove the family that pizzicatos together, stays together. Another mom (a mainstay of the concert stage) collaborates with her talented daughter. Get ready for married violinists who’ve declared themselves "stand partners for life." And in between, hear a stunning 11-year-old cellist, a Celtic toe-tapping duo, and Dvorák’s glorious song honoring mothers. Stay tuned for the final clip, in which one of my favorite violinists and her partner send us off with a heartfelt rendition of "Until We Meet Again."

LA Phil Principal Violist Teng Li performs a piece that is close to her heart: Abing’s "The Moon Reflected in Er-quan Spring." It was arranged for viola by Teng's friend, composer Yanqiao Wang. Thanks go to Isaac See for the recommendation! (In the spirit of Mother’s Day, stay tuned for the precious outtakes at the very end!)

Cello student at the Seattle Cello Academy, Jesse Krentz, age 11 (yes, 11, really), gives an impressive, poised-beyond-his-years performance of Camille Saint-Saëns’ "The Swan." (In another familial connection, Jesse studies with his father, Kevin.)

Violinist Joyce Pan and cellist David Aks rock the Scottish gigue "Drummond Castle" and a contemporary piece titled "Wicked Weed." (Both classically trained artists, this duo discovered a mutual love for Celtic music and have completely made it their own.)

Colorado Symphony Concertmaster Yumi Hwang-Williams and pianist Tamara Goldstein perform Antonín Dvorák's "Songs My Mother Taught Me," arranged by Fritz Kreisler. (Beautiful song, beautiful performance, beautiful setting.)

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine and her adorable daughter Sylvia perform "Mother is a Priceless Jewel" by Godwin Sadoh. (I first fell in love with Sylvia when she and her mom shared their recipe for Peanut Butter Delight!)

Colorado Symphony Assistant Principal Violist Catherine Beeson and her violinist son Ari collaborate on "Little Suite for Autumn" by Peter Schickele (aka, PDQ Bach). (I took particular delight in watching the rapport between this wonderful mother/son duo!)

Married couple and LA Phil violinists Akiko Tarumoto (Assistant Concertmaster) and Nathan Cole (First Associate Concertmaster) demonstrate the virtuostic fireworks of Henryk Wieniawski’s "Etudes-Caprices." (These "stand partners for life" disclose they did some creative rewriting to make the parts more equal in nature. Marriage: saved!)

If you have read any of my articles on, you know I love, love, love violinist Tessa Lark. Now I also love, love, love her musical and life partner, bassist Michael Thurber. A perfect close to this week’s roundup is their heartbreaking rendition of "Until We Meet Again." Feel free to scroll back to the beginning of the clip to hear other incredible songs. (I send this as a special gift to my dear friend, Michael Grant.)

With symphony performances almost universally on hiatus, we've put "The Week in Reviews" on hold and instead bring you this roundup of online "quarantine" performances. If you’d like to share links of performances you’ve enjoyed, please do so in the comments or e-mail me for possible inclusion in a later opus.


May 12, 2020 at 08:59 PM · A lovely mother/daughter duet with Rachel and Sylvia!Just beautiful.

May 12, 2020 at 10:13 PM · Can't stop listening to Tessa Lark. This musician so effortlessly makes one feel at home - both literally and figuratively. Lucky Michael!!!

May 12, 2020 at 11:36 PM · Thank you, Diana for posting all these uplifting and emotional selections. I actually heard and saw the moon being reflected in the ripples of the water! And the 11-year-old cellist - he is going places! Watching him was as wonderful as listening to his music. It was so good to see Peter Schickele’s name. I haven’t heard his name since the good old days of A Prairie Home Companion. And how wonderful to hear Tessa Lark again. She is quickly becoming one of my favorites also.

I loved the sentimentality and family aspect of this week’s selections. Rachel and Sylvia’s duet took me back to the days when I played piano 4 hands with my mother. But the most important theme I saw running through every selection was the fun and love everyone was having while making music together. What could be better?

May 13, 2020 at 12:17 PM · 169: I completely agree! I'm voting for more "Rachel/Sylvia" collaborations!

17: When I was putting together the selections, I'd click on the link to "Until We Meet Again," just to make sure I had it set properly. Well, I'd end up listening to the entire piece again. Simply couldn't stop either. And Tessa's pretty lucky also. She and Michael make a great duo.

Joe: I'm so glad the selections evoked warm memories for you! And I agree about Schickele! (My breakthrough role in college was singing Donna Ribalda in "The Stoned Guest.")

May 13, 2020 at 02:11 PM · Diana, I love this!! How wonderful to include families and children for Mother’s Day! As a mother-musician myself, I especially loved watching these beautiful recordings. ~Christina

May 13, 2020 at 05:42 PM · I really liked this Mother's Day theme as well! What a treasure all of these mothers share with their children, and partners/colleagues share with each other. Thanks again for another beautiful collection of musical gems!

May 14, 2020 at 12:26 AM · Please keep these coming, Diana. I’ll always be a fan of Rachel and her daughter, but I have to admit that I left out the banana from the peanut butter delight. Enthusiasm reigns supreme in their duet. And as far as Tessa, her sound is sweet and chocolaty. What a wonderful duo she has.

May 14, 2020 at 01:17 AM · What wonderful selections. I especially enjoyed the jig and the mother/son duet. Some of my best memories are the times that I have been fortunate enough to perform with my brother, sister , and father. The shared experience of performing music is so wonderful. Sharing it with family is an indescribable experience.

May 14, 2020 at 12:47 PM · Christina: I'm so glad you enjoyed this! As you are a mother to more children than I can count, I applaud your efforts as both a mom and a musician. You're doing beautifully on both fronts! Happy belated Mother's Day to you!!

207: So glad you liked the theme!

213: I think Rachel and Sylvia will forgive you for leaving out the banana! And continuing with the food theme, I can't think of better words to describe Tessa's sound than "sweet and chocolaty." Thank you for the wonderful comment!

152: Those selections were two of my favorites as well. And I agree... sharing musical performances with family is simply the best!

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Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine