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.
When I was 9 or 10 I was still taking Suzuki lessons and attending the group sessions every Monday night at San Diego State University, which had one of the first (and most successful) Suzuki programs ever established in the United States. Spoiler- this isn’t an essay about that crazy guy who hates Suzuki people. Anyway, there was this little girl in our class named Mika. She always came with her mom, an impeccably polite and delicate Japanese woman married to a university professor. I still remember Mika because she played really well at about the age of 6 or so, like prodigy material. One week she didn’t show up.
I think that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without posting, but to be honest with all the violin stuff winding down and everything else going on, I really didn’t feel like writing much. So just in time for the holiday season…… Guess I’ll start out with some random stuff, like a new addition to the orchestral fines page: – Shooting the concertmaster with a Taser and stealing a violin you can’t do anything with: [box]7 years in prison, followed by 5 years of extended supervision, plus restitution determined by the court. [/box] And in … Continue Reading
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