I haven’t taken photos of Sarie practicing in a long time, but I did last night. For years I had a habit of taking practice photos much the way some people take photos of their children every year next to their front door. It’s her own thing, and very her. She’s grown up with a violin in hand.
Lately life has made inroads into music, and she doesn’t practice as much as she used to. But last night around 9 p.m., she did warm ups in front of the mirror (for position) and then started Sibelius third movement*, which invokes all things Nordic and mythological. Then she sight-read the first movement of the Prokofiev concerto. None of this has been assigned, and I think she’s playing only the first movement of Sibelius for her exit exam in late-June. I don’t think she gets a great deal of instruction these days, or has a lot of dedicated peers against whom to sharpen her skills. That’s one reason I’m glad she’s going to a three-week camp in the US this summer. She just got her chamber music assignments for the camp, and they look invigorating.
Her old friends from the US are posting their college choices on Facebook now. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many of her fellow students from the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college program are actually going to study music at the college level. A whole group of them are going to follow their favorite teacher Grigory Kalinovsky (the one with whom she’ll be studying this summer) to Indiana, alma mater of Joshua Bell. I’m glad they didn’t all go the Ivy route, study business or medicine, and just use their music as a resumé enhancement. To be an excellent musician is a labor of love.
Sarie still has a year of high school left here in Italy, but she’s going to start the conservatory here at the college level anyway. She could have even done it this year, but we were awfully confused about whether she could graduate at the time we made the decision. In the end, this year seemed to be mostly a holding pattern, musically speaking. But she did perform a solo with an orchestra**, tour with her self-organized Baroque group Aurea Armonia, and sit first chair in the orchestra last Friday for a performance of Wagner, Prokofiev, and Rossini-and-Purcell-inspired Britten. She’s going to write her extended essay for the IB on Monteverdi and the development of Baroque music via opera, in Italian. And she’s playing her all-time favorite concerto, the Sibelius.
So, while it’s not what her former peers are doing, it’s interesting in its own way. I hope she will have many more opportunities in the future to live a life of music.
*I hope these Spotify links are useful, and I only wish they had the Hilary Hahn version of Sibelius, which has what I consider to be the high level of energy required for the third movement, and not so many slides as Mintz!
**A shaky video which loses the sound, but I’m grateful to have it!