Many people know I’m extremely fortunate to play on an incredible violin that’s gained even more notoriety over the past couple of years. One of the numerous challenges after it was stolen was to try and pick up where I left off artistically and otherwise, which in reality ended up being much more difficult than I’d anticipated. In any case, I’m happy to announce that tomorrow (May 6) A Violin’s Life, Vol. 2 will be officially released, after a long and winding road.
In 1979 I was 15 years old and not sure I wanted to play the violin anymore; I was in my hometown of San Diego coming off a hiatus of about a year or so. The only reason I was hanging in was because I’d just started with a new teacher who somehow intuitively knew that what I really needed was some quality guidance and a highly structured practice regimen. And maybe a summer of hard work. My mom drove me to the local auditions for BU’s Tanglewood Institute, but I had no idea how that summer would change my life.
I first met Christopher Ling around 1994, a few years after he’d relocated to Beaumont, TX from Manchester, UK (!) and was thinking about starting a management company for classical musicians. I can’t remember exactly how our paths crossed, but I was working a lot with the Ft. Worth Symphony at the time as concertmaster, often back and forth from NYC. That universe was small, and somehow we ended up on the phone one day. I would’ve never imagined the horrific conclusion.
Like everyone else, I was amazed to read about the recovery of the Ames Stradivarius last week, and the poignant reflections from Roman Totenberg’s daughter Nina, the noted journalist. For me the story had a certain obvious resonance; I remembered the surreal feeling when I received a phone call informing me the Lipinski Strad had been found only nine days after my ordeal began. Imagine waiting 35 years, and finding out the culprit was some nitwit you suspected all along. And that the violin just sat there in a locked case for 4 years after the nitwit’s death until someone decided to take a closer look.
I hope, anyway. Somehow this was the craziest season in recent memory, with all the legal stuff and a host of personal challenges, traveling, playing, teaching, etc. so the blog suffered a bit. And now my semi-annual oath to write a little more, maybe even something interesting once in awhile. To that end, here’s a new project that I hope will be the ultimate closure to that crazy violin saga…..
Exactly a year ago at this time I’d been asleep for about two hours and was awakened by a phone call from the Milwaukee Police Department, who had somehow found my violin case by the side of the road in the snow. It was empty. An hour after that, I stared out the window and watched various local media go up and down the street ringing doorbells trying to figure out which house was mine. Things got weirder from there. And weirder.