In the Middle East

Western Wall, Jerusalem

I just returned from one of the most special trips around the world.  I was traveling through Egypt, Jordan and Israel with my parents and sister.  All the stories would fill a novel.  I write to you about a very moving part of my trip.  Even before crossing the Atlantic, I knew I wanted to leave a note with the names of David Arben’s family at the Western Wall.  I wrote them on a small sheet of paper, folded it up and carried it in my jacket pocket, safely next to my passport.  When we arrived at the wall in the Old City of Jerusalem I felt nervous, mainly because I wasn’t sure what the traditions were and hoped I wouldn’t do anything “incorrectly”.

 

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On the Road

I have spent a very fruitful 2 weeks on the road.

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival 2011

It began with a trip to Santa Fe where I reunited with L.P. How (Mim 2009 & 2010).  Having played beside L.P. for many years now (during Mim, for Santa Fe kids, and at the Sarasota Opera where he is concertmaster), there is a unique sense of familiarity.  L.P.’s gorgeous sound and dedication to keep each performance fresh creates inspires me.

As part of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, we spent the week performing for area school kids, including the children on the Santa Clara Indian Reservation.  In 5 short days, we performed 20 shows, reaching hundreds of children!  Continue reading

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David Arben and Michael Tree

I spent an entire afternoon and evening with Mr. David Arben – always an enriching time of listening, learning and laughing… just moments after I had entered his Spruce Street apartment, Mr. Michael Tree phoned him asking him to dinner the next day – what a coincidence he should call while I was there!

David: “I have someone here who would like to say hello.”
Rebecca: “Hello Mr. Tree. It’s Rebecca from Santa Cruz.”
Michael: “Well hello! What a nice surprise! I was just calling David to invite him to dinner tomorrow after I finish teaching at Curtis. Would you be able to join us?”

The next evening I met David at the stoop of his apartment at 6:30pm. We walked, or strolled rather, stopping every few yards so he could punctuate a part of his story. With only a few blocks to walk, we arrived at Michaels’ hotel rather early so we took the extra time to walk to Curtis Institute of Music. As we passed this historic, ornate structure, he read my mind remarking, “This building has amazingly changed very little since I first came so many years ago.” Continue reading

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2011 Reflections

After Music in May ends I like to find a seat at a local café (preferably in the sun!) and put pen to paper, reminiscing the weeks’ activities. This year I thought I’d share some of my reflections, our highlights, in order to give you a behind the scenes snapshot.

Something I mentioned as we raised a glass at our final reception was how close I felt to the musicians, even those I had met just days before- this closeness we feel to one another impacts how we play with one another. The musicians who perform at Mim are tremendous talents but in addition I am so proud to be associated with such warm spirits. Unlike the large personalities of performing artists often talked about, the kindness of our featured musicians not only made my week doubly enjoyable but I believe it also emanates from their playing. Continue reading

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Testimonial – Amy Yang

Such amazing players, amazing personalities, and all around great FUN. It was as exciting to see the joy on people’s faces as they swayed to the music as it was to see the goggle-eyed pumpkins marvel at the act of music-making [during the outreach programs]. Amazing how art is needed in these days and Mim helps that cause immensely!

— Amy Yang, pianist, a Mim favorite

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Testimonial – David Arben

I was enchanted with the sound of the violin . . . The violin saved my life.

— David Arben

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Testimonial – Richard Rood

Mim was a retreat for musicians of the highest level. We rehearsed intensely and gave deeply communicative performances that reflected our complete commitment to the highest level of music making. Each musician had clearly spent weeks if not months preparing their individual parts. Everyone came in with musical opinions and fresh creative ideas, ready to work, and amazingly no fragile egos!

— Richard Rood, leading member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

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Review – Krishna Pulavarti

In three short years ‘Music in May’ has become one of the premier musical events in Santa Cruz. It is, without a doubt, the finest chamber music you will get to see here.

— Krishna Pulavarti, a fan and “techie engineer.”

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Review – Ellen Primack, CFCM Executive Director

Mim is dedicated to creating chamber music performances of great artistic excellence and with a genuine humanistic quality.

— Ellen Primack, CFCM Executive Director.

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Review – Richard Rood

I just want to share with you how much I enjoyed playing here at your “Music in May”.  At the center of your success were two fantastic concerts. Not only was there really great playing but like you said, somehow there was a connection made between the players that usually would take much longer if ever to achieve. I don’t really have one story that can encapsulate the joy I felt that we all shared playing together. Mim was a retreat for musicians of the highest level. We rehearsed intensely and gave deeply communicative performances that reflected our complete commitment to the highest level of music making. Each musician had clearly spent weeks if not months preparing their individual parts. Everyone came in with musical opinions and fresh creative ideas, ready to work, and amazingly no fragile egos!  When I asked Michael Tree what bowing he preferred in one of our unison passages in the Mendelssohn Octet he said, “Oh, whatever you would like!”  I thought, “Whatever I would like? Coming from the guy that has played this with the greatest players of the last 50 years??!!!! Are you kidding?” Being in the presence of that kind of camaraderie and respectful attitude will affect me for the rest of my life. When you, Rebecca so easily agreed to sitting in what would normally be the viola position in the Janacek, I was struck and reminded of the phrase, “It is not all about me” in a world that seems far to often to be to focused on “It IS all about ME”.  We barely even took breaks while rehearsing as we were so immersed in the music and the need to prepare the best as possible with the time we had.
— Richard Rood, leading member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

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