Printer-friendly version

Ida Kavafian and Peter Serkin rehearsal

Jacqueline Vanasse

Written by
Published: April 26, 2014 at 4:49 PM [UTC]

Today I went to Ida Kavafian and Peter Serkin's rehearsal of the program for their sold out concert next evening at the CMSLC. I arrived in the middle of the second movement of the Wolpe Sonata. “You swear you never have to play this in your life”, addressed Ms. Kavafian to the small audience, mainly composed of her students, after having torn the last note of the sonata. Given the brilliance with which she went through the work we - the audience - could only laugh politely. Then they went on with a quasi-beethovenian Schubert Grand Duo rendered with such intelligence and delicacy in the details.

During a well deserved break, Ms. Kavafian took a seat in the audience happy to see and talk with her students and friends, while in a corner, Mr. Serkin took pictures on his phone. After the break and playfully handing us the score, Ms. Kavafian played Nielsen’s Prelude and Theme with Variations. Then before even finishing the last note she turned to us: “isn’t a cool piece?” In fact that piece was cool…tough maybe but definitely cool! Waiting for Mr. Serkin to play the last piece on the program, she came once again sitting with us. “It’s like every time I play this piece there is something new that goes wrong”, she starts and gazing affectionately at everyone she adds: “but I don’t have to tell you that!”

Just before leading us in the bipolar meandering of Schumann, Mr. Serkin pulled-out his phone a last time at the speed of light to shoot a pic of his dear friend talking a last A. What I heard and saw at that rehearsal was certainly about as much fun as music can get: Peter and Ida rehearsing their concert program for students and friends. I finished this heart warming afternoon with lunch with Nikki Chooi, an outstanding violinist and Ms. Kavafian’s student for the past 7 years. “Wasn’t she good?” he asked. “Wasn’t she inspiring? What a woman, she is my role model!” Yes, indeed she is. And to that I would add what I overheard her husband say in the elevator…“gosh she sounded fantastic!”

For other articles please visit my blog at:

From Laurie Niles
Posted on April 27, 2014 at 8:47 PM
What is the CMSLC?
From Jacqueline Vanasse
Posted on April 28, 2014 at 12:47 AM
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Posted on April 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Thanks so much for sharing this excellent info! I'm seeking forward to see much more posts!
Posted on April 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM
Why the dig at Schumann? Hasn't he suffered enough?

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

National Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Borromeo Music Festival

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

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