Written by Laurie Niles
Published: December 8, 2014 at 4:39 PM [UTC]
Did Suzuki study with German violinist Karl Klingler?
The article quotes the very well-respected longtime USC Professor Alice Schoenfield:
"'Klingler told me about Suzuki,' she said, adding that while Mr. Klingler did not generally take private students, he made an exception for Mr. Suzuki, whose father owned a violin factory in Japan.
She said that she had the impression that Mr. Suzuki had been an 'on and off' student. 'But he studied with him, and he gave him also a beautiful violin to say thank you when he went back to Japan,' she recalled. 'It was a violin that I played at my recitals. So I know for sure that Suzuki was under his guidance.'"
Did Suzuki have a relationship with Einstein?
Says the article:
'Mr. Suzuki did not claim that he lived with Einstein or that Einstein was his guardian in any legal sense. Rather Mr. Suzuki wrote that when he was a young man in Berlin, a family friend, the biochemist Leonor Michaelis, had asked Einstein to look out for him. He wrote that he had attended some concerts and social events with Einstein and that he had been greatly inspired by him.
Several Einstein scholars said that there were no indications that Mr. Suzuki had a close or lasting relationship with Einstein. But there is evidence that the two men met in Berlin. There is a letter that Mr. Michaelis wrote to Einstein inquiring about a visit from Mr. Suzuki, a letter that Einstein wrote to Mr. Suzuki’s father thanking him for the gift of a violin and a drawing that Einstein inscribed to Mr. Suzuki.'
Did Pablo Casals go to a Suzuki concert, and was he moved by it?
The NYT interviewed Casals’s widow, Marta Casals Istomin:
"...she confirmed that she had attended the Suzuki concert in Tokyo with Casals in 1961. She said that Casals, who had taken a lifelong interest in children and music for children, had been “very moved” by the sight of so many young children playing music, and that he had embraced Mr. Suzuki, but that he had not endorsed the method or given much thought to it.
'He was very touched to hear these children,' Ms. Casals Istomin said in an interview, adding that Casals had wept, as he often did at concerts. 'At that moment, he didn’t think of it as a method. He thought of it as an idea of bringing young people together with music, not whether it was a good method or a bad method.'
She said that the recording of the event — in which Pablo Casals described the concert as 'one of the most moving scenes that one can see' and praised the adults for training children in music, saying, 'Perhaps it’s music that will save the world' — appeared genuine."
So to Mark O'Connor: When are you going to apologize for contriving this "controversy" in an attempt to ruin the reputation of a man who is not alive to defend himself? When are you going to apologize for the personal and public smear campaigns you have waged against legions of teachers (including me) who have simply tried to point out the truth?
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ACTUAL investigative reporting!
If you dare, take a look at MOC's blog, and the totally twisted take he has posted about how the NYT article validates his findings.
I think MOC is a whack job nutcase, truly.
"New York Times Substantiates Mark O’Connor’s Findings on Shinichi Suzuki Bio"
O'Connor has lost all credibility.
Based on that I must say that it appears that Mark O'Connor has created black PR on himself to an incdredible degree by doing that.
Doesn't his own reputation matter to him?
Mark OÇonnor is hardly my favorite fiddler anyway. Gosh so many more interesting ones!
Try Darol Anger for instance. Way cool player.
I think we can put this one to bed.
I'm frankly more on O'Connors' side on this one, although I don't feel nearly as strong about it as he does. In my opinion, Suzuki figured out the American obsession with and prejudice against anything other than a European lineage in the arts. So, he took some on and off again lessons (as quoted by the Times) from a great teacher, a meeting (or two) from a genius, and a visit to a concert from a musical giant, and gave it a lot of spin, so he could sell his method to Americans.
Maybe what we should really be looking at is why as Americans, we can't, or won't, accept people's talent at face value. Why, in order for it to have any worth, it has to be associated with someone living in, or coming from, a far away land? I wish I could say that this is a problem from the past, but it goes on to this day. It's insulting, galling, and has got to stop. Well, that's my two cents.
He is most assuredly a fiddler.
Is he somehow ashamed of that musical style?
Why then denigrate the method? It seemed to have helped solve some issues, if I understand what you were getting at there.
If the method works, it works, and it doesn't matter if a guy embellished his resume or had a child out of wedlock, does it?
You say we shouldn't bias our opinions just because the music comes from a far away land.
But what's is the problem if the music happens to be from there? Quality is quality, I don't care who wrote it, or where.
Would Bach be better if he grew up and wrote his music in Detroit or Nashville?
The issue with MOC's strident tone about AMERICAN music is it comes across as jingoistic and close minded. And I'm a proud American myself.
"Lois Shepheard... provided a recording of the speech Casals made at the concert. (When the recording was played for Mr. O’Connor, he asked whether a voice-recognition analysis could prove it was really Casals.)"
This doesn't appear to say much to help O'Connor's cause, does it? If anything, it's a sad statement to where his ethics lie...
What would Suzuki say if he was alive today. Would he laugh at Mark O’Connor? No, because Sukuki was very much concerned about love and care and therefore would never laugh at someone's stupidity. He would probably rather feel a bit sorry for the person and at the same time he would appriciate and enjoy the work of a brilliant teacher.
Suzuki's ideas about violin education is about approaching how children are learning their mother tongue language, it is about talent education regarding early childhood education, how to develop skills and ability, it is about listening to great music, it is about care and love.
Thus it is NOT about whether you play European classical music or American fiddle music. You can play any style of great music and apply Suzuki's ideas.
And the teacher is more important than the method!!!
Thus if Mark O’Connor's teaching includes qualities of the kind mentioned above then he is in alignment with Suzuki and NOT in opposition at all. The big question is: Will he wake up?
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