For a long time, I thought my grandmother’s various superstitions were an anomaly. Then the acclaimed Soviet violinist, David Oistrakh, came to town and I realized they shared something more than great violin playing.Read More
My grandmother was a firm believer that young musicians should have proven talent at an extremely high level before she would recommend them as students for the Curtis Institute of Music. Then she met the granddaughter of her teacher Eugene Ysaÿe and all bets were off.Read More
I always thought it odd that my grandmother, a famous violinist, loved monkeys. In the various places she lived, there were no native habitats for monkeys and she must have been an adult before she saw a live one. But in her homes, there were always paintings, prints, photographs, toys, carvings, statues — you name it — monkeys everywhere. And it was certainly not an animal I associated with music.Read More
Why did I write The Nightingale’s Sonata? In the opening pages of the book, I give one answer. My mother had entrusted to me a beautiful silver podstakannik or tea-glass holder with an enameled portrait of my two uncles as children. My family had smuggled it out of Russia and eventually my mother passed it on to me along with boxes of family material. She had said, “You must tell the family story.” I promised I would.
But I had another reason for writing the book. . . .Read More