VC VOX POP | Despite the Difficulties of 2020, What Are You Most Thankful For?

The Violin Channel recently caught up with a number of esteemed musicians and music industry professionals, to ask about the silver linings of 2020

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Violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann:

I am most thankful that me and my family did not get sick and that we did not get in trouble financially.

A constant insecurity was haunting me this year, but I must say that after 35 years of intense playing, I was happy to finally have some time to do things I've always wanted to do. I got to read  "Der Zauberberg" by Thomas Mann, walk along the "Rheinstieg" between Koblenz and Mainz, and start learning J.S.Bach's Sonatas and Partitas seriously.

 

President of M.L. Falcone, publicist Mary Lou Falcone:

I am most thankful for the gifts of patience and strength to weather the last 10 months which, for me, were filled with general and personal loss. 

My family and friends were a blessing as they reached out consistently, sharing love and kindness. 

 

Buffalo Philharmonic Concertmaster, VC Artist Nikki Chooi:

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept us physically away from our friends and audiences, but the silver lining through all of this is being a part of the many creative ways we are now connecting with each other.

Whether it is through watching our friends perform via livestream or catching up through zoom meetings and social media, what has kept us apart has hopefully brought us even closer together.

 

Violinist Vadim Repin:

I’m grateful that I had an unexpected sabbatical time to reflect upon and enrich my repertoire and to find and cherish the meaning of being at home and feeling the warmth.

Despite the chaos on our planet, my Transsiberian Festival took place with great success thanks to my amazing team, the wonderful artists, and real friends.

 

President and Artistic Director of the Sphinx Organization, Afa Dworkin: 

I am most thankful to be alive and present during this transformative year. The challenges imposed by the pandemic and the profound lessons from our continued collective journey toward racial justice reinforced my resolve and commitment to Sphinx's mission. Our community came together to perform, support, create, reflect, and lead, linking our hearts and voices despite the distance.

We saw record-high participation across the board, from our applicant pool growth by more than 60%, to quadrupling the number of artists in our orchestral training programs and reaching nearly 200,000 in digital audiences! It has also been a privilege to award more than $600,000 in artist grants and scholarships since May alone. 

The silver lining is in the many lessons of service, unity, and perseverance. Ultimately, I am grateful to be a part of such a sincere and committed family: here is to a healthy, joyous 2021!

 

Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili:

2020 was a year of new initiatives. One of them was helping and supporting young artists from Georgia, which became a real passion of mine.

I am grateful for all the talented people I've met and for my fellow colleagues who have opened their heart to share their experiences and knowledge with the new generation.

 

Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, Clive Gillinson: 

Despite all the challenges this pandemic has presented to so many organizations, I am thankful for the incomparable commitment of the extended Carnegie Hall family to keep delivering on the Hall’s mission, bringing the transformative power of music to audiences everywhere. 

Through technology, we have continued to connect artists, teachers, and music lovers in meaningful ways. While digital performances will never replace the power and impact of live music, we have discovered exciting new approaches to serving audiences that we will be inspired to continue in the years to come.

 

American violinist Sarah Chang:

If 2020 has taught me anything, it's to not sweat the small stuff. I'm unbelievably grateful to all our healthcare and essential workers and look forward to doing my part in 2021.

 

New England Conservatory Pedagogue, Miriam Fried:

2020 was certainly trying in many ways, but I am truly grateful for having my family for their warmth, support, and humor.

There were also my wonderful students, who in spite of all obstacles, continued on their path with passion, dedication, and hard work, never letting me forget that music does feed our souls, and that we are lucky to have it.

 

Violinist and pedagogue Boris Kuschnir:

Despite all the difficulties in 2020, I was very thankful that my whole family including myself did not get COVID-19 and that my friends and students who unfortunately got the virus, had minor symptoms and are healthy again.

I’m very happy that because I had more free time due to the cancellations of concerts and masterclasses, I finished my PhD thesis about the executive and artistic challenges of performing Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major K 218.

Also, I found time to digitalize some old video recordings of the Vienna Schubert Trio in which I played for 8 years a long time ago.

Most importantly, I had more time for my family and took better care about myself.

 

Artistic Director of Menuhin Competition, Gordon Back: 

In 2020, I was most thankful for my family and my dog Millie!

Also, the wonderful Menuhin team in London and Richmond worked tirelessly to reinvent a Menuhin Competition for 2021.

 

Dallas Symphony Concertmaster, Alexander Kerr:

2020 was a challenging year for me physically, personally, and professionally. Despite its challenges, I can honestly say that I am thankful for many things: my health, my family and friends who helped me get through each and every day, my students who gave me such joy throughout the whole year, my physical therapist Tom who helped me rehab a broken collarbone in record time, and the CEO of the Dallas Symphony, Kim Noltemy, whose leadership has been both inspirational and unwavering.

 

Chairman of the Board of the Kronberg Academy Foundation, Raimund Trenkler: 

I am thankful for the power of cohesion, faith, and creativity of everybody involved at the Kronberg Academy during this pandemic. I appreciate the strong bonds and friendships created by so many people throughout our organization. 

 

Founder and President of Primo Artists, Charlotte Lee: 

I am deeply grateful that despite shuttered concert halls, the noise we made in 2020 filled the speakers of laptops throughout homes across the world, brought solace and joy to spirits that needed comfort, and catalyzed Congress to step up and give our field the relief we advocated for to keep doing what we do!

 

Violinist Maxine Kwok:

2020 has seen a decimation of the performing arts, the likes of which we’ve never seen. As many of us wondered what to do next, I’m so grateful for the online community of music lovers who supported all the incredible projects that were released by so many, including my own orchestra the LSO.

I’m so thankful to have had the chance to collaborate with composer Darren Bloom, filmmaker Antonia Luxem, and dancer Marie Astrid Mence in creating a short film called “Rising” about creativity and connectivity in London's lockdown.

Let’s hope we all stay so connected in 2021 as we negotiate a safe return to the concert hall. 

 

Founder of Getting to Carnegie Competition, "The Pianist With the Hair," Julian Gargiulo:

Through great difficulty and hardship, great new things are born. 2020 has been a year which brought the world closer together than ever before. I’m thankful for my friends and family who have helped me learn to appreciate this new world.  If the secret to happiness is low expectations, then I think we’re all in for a spectacular 2021.