On a warm Sunday evening in Michigan, I walked into a school cafeteria, tired and exhausted from a long plane ride, but eagerly anticipating what was about to happen. My eyes fell onto a woman who I hadn’t seen in a very long time – my very first viola teacher from 35 years ago.
If there were ever a place to hold a reunion between viola student and teacher after so many decades, Interlochen’s Adult Chamber Music Camp was the ideal place. The gap in time quickly shrank as we made music together, first with the classic Telleman Concerto with an all viola orchestra, Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht”, then Dvorak’s Sextet, a coaching by her for myself and a pianist on Vieuxtemp’s Sonata, and an all-woman Mendelssohn’s Octet.
But the most moving event was to happen on the last day of camp – a reading of Michael Kimber’s “Reflection” for three violas with my first viola teacher I had as a young child, and the teacher I had as an adult prior to moving to Texas a few years ago.
After we finished playing, I read again what Mr. Kimber wrote about this piece: “… as each of us reflects on his or her own experiences with our former teacher, we realize also that each of us is some way a reflection on who he was and what he gave to us.” Mr. Kimber wrote this piece in memory of his viola teacher Francis Bundra and was premiered at Interlochen in 2001 by notable violists and the composer himself.
As camp came to a close, Dr. Creider and I spent some time reflecting upon the past week and the times we shared decades ago when I was her student, and started making plans for camp next year. Our flights left the airport around the same time, so we continued to visit at the airport until it was time for me to board.
On the plane ride home, the enormity of the past week finally hit me. After arriving home, I emailed the composer and shared the video our reading of his music. After gaining permission from Dr. Creider and Joel, Mr. Kimber posted our reading on his website. I couldn’t ask for a better tribute to my past teachers than this.
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