Photo credit: © 2011 David Friedlander
I have been fortunate throughout my life for the richness of musical experiences I have been given. It goes back to my mother, the Eastman-trained harpsichordist for the Washington University in St. Louis Early Music Ensemble. That group rehearsed in our living room, giving me early exposure to the joys of playing and performing with others. I even got to watch her harpsichord in the process of being built in our basement in the 1973-1974 year (by Craig Lister). (This Ensemble was an early adopter of authentic performance practice, and both Trevor Pinnock and Nicolas McGegan were artists in residence at Wash U around this time.)
My parents had many friends in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and took me and my sister to myriad concerts growing up. Eventually I stayed awake all the way through and did not simply wake up at the end to applaud!
Through these SLSO friends, my parents hooked me up with my first teacher, Fryderyk Sadowski, an enormous influence on me, and with whom I studied from age 8 until he died when I was 16. Again, I was most fortunate to then be introduced to my second teacher, another SLSO violinist, Dana Edson Myers, with whom I studied for another six years, until I moved away for graduate school. Dana did wonderful things for my tone, as well as how I approached music.
Another huge musical influence on me was the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, a group sponsored by the SLSO. It was founded by Leonard Slatkin just 2-3 years before I started playing violin, and with our family's connections to the SLSO, it quickly became a goal of mine to join, something I achieved in 8th grade at age 13, making me the youngest member of the group that year. In those years, the group spanned from 'junior high school' to the end of college, so ages 13-22. It was also a large group (about 105) which drew from a 100 mile radius of St. Louis. Most such groups rehearse in church basements or school auditoriums. The SLSYO, by contrast, was fortunate to rehearse and perform at all times at Powell Symphony Hall, the home of the SLSO (and a magnificent 2600 seat concert hall (converted from its 1920s vaudeville origins)). It was a fantastic learning experience (especially in my younger years, surrounded by so many other strong and older players), with excellent conductors (staff conductors of the main SLSO), demanding repertoire, and very high expectations of the group. We were also fortunate to take two European tours to orchestra festivals during my time (England and Scotland in 1979 and Germany and Austria in 1983). In all, I was lucky to play with the group for 9 years.
In the decades since, I have been enriched by the friendships and musical adventures with people from all the groups with whom I have performed, especially the three groups (HSO, VLOC, and FMMCC) profiled above.
My complete Musical Resume (as of November 2015) is also available, if you are interested.