I dreamt about Vinny, a long-time member of the Met’s viola section who passed away from coronavirus on April 4, last night. Many a rehearsal morning, I’d see him from a distance as we approached the Met’s Stage Door from opposite directions and wave at each other. He’d wear a parka and always have a hoodie on his head in cold weather. That heavy hoodie made him look like a little boy, which made it even easier to tell him apart. It’s funny how unique people’s gaits are, they’re like signatures. His walk was the first thing I saw in the dream and I immediately knew it was him. He was there wearing his hoodie and walking toward the Stage Door ahead of me. I yelled to say hello, I wanted to ask how he was, how come he was here with us again, but the words got stuck in my throat and all I could let out was a groan. He just smiled, waved as if nothing had happened, and kept walking. We were back at work, everything was good, you know? Sadly, we’ll have to wait to see each other again, a long while. I’ll miss you Vinny, you were truly legit.
We recorded this for the Met’s Gala Concert a few weeks after his passing. My fellow violists and I agreed on this piece, I did an arrangement of this aria for viola ensemble, our Music Director provided a track with conducting and Joyce Di Donato’s singing was added last. All we had to record our separate tracks at home was Yannick’s motions! It was not easy but here it is. Our hearts are all in this. I cannot watch this without tearing up.
I have known Renée-Paule Gauthier since we were freshmen in college, first-year violin students at Université de Montréal years ago. Renée-Paule went on to have a successful career as a violinist and teacher, performance coach, writer and clinician. We are both passionate about refining ways to practice mindfully and perform optimally, without hangups getting in the way. I have been listening to her Mind Over Finger Podcast for years and was especially honored when she asked me to be a guest on it.
We had a powerful and honest conversation on mindsets and how they can change your life, how focusing on your musical voice away from perfection in execution and validation can transform your relationship with practicing, enrich your playing, and affect the trajectory of your career. You may listen to our talk here, as well as on all major podcast platforms!
I am stoked to be playing a recital and giving a masterclass, in collaboration with Christopher Guzman, piano. We’ll be playing works by J.S. Bach, Brahms and Schumann.
I’ll be teaching a viola masterclass at The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. Many thanks to the viola faculty member Lilach Levanon for organizing this!