Alice and Josh and ISO

I am generally not one to get all girly when in the presence of greatness. But this morning, as I drove to Indianapolis, I thought about how wonderful it was going to be to play Dvorak's 9th (New World) Symphony with the ISO, not to mention join this fantastic ensemble in the Sibelius Violin Concerto (one of my favorite violin pieces!) with soloist Joshua Bell... I must admit, I was giddy. Rehearsal was really fun, and I enjoyed every moment under the baton of maestro Krzysztof Urbanski

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Shortly after I got home, though, I got an email from the Performing Arts Medicine Association that the society's co-founder, Alice Brandfonbrener, had recently passed away, which brought a ripe solemnity to the otherwise upbeat character of my day.

So here I am, doing what I love to do (playing viola with world-class performers and ensembles), in large part because of the efforts of Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener and the association she started. Without a network of performing arts medical practitioners I may well never have bounced back from the playing-related injuries that debilitated me so many years ago. Though her passing is a true loss to the field, ALL performing artists are better because 32 years ago Dr. Brandfonbrener wanted to help musicians hurt less. And 32 years later, here I am, hurting much less, and playing with ISO.

Tears well up in my eyes as I think of the legacy of this great woman, and what her efforts have helped me achieve. It is no small thing for me-- who for some time, many years ago, lost all feeling in her left arm-- to be able to play a supporting role to the great Joshua Bell in a superbly stunning concerto.

I believe tomorrow's rehearsal will be incredibly powerful for me. There's nothing quite like making exquisitely-crafted music with a group of exceptionally fine musicians, while remembering someone truly relevant. Thank you, Dr. Alice. In tomorrow's rehearsal I will be giddy because of everything you've done for me, without ever knowing me. Thank you.