Songs & Dances, Stunning Students and Farewell, Takuzosan!

Taking a moment to breathe out on the gorgeous water at the Deleware Water Gap, I looked back on the last month, realizing how deeply complex life can be – and perhaps it is that complexity that gives meaning to each chapter.  And then, a frosty river plunge.  I thought of the far-too-early passing of a dear family friend, Takuzo Ishida – husband, father, chemist, bonsai master, carpenter, long-time CMSM Board member and, just last year, a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors.  His life was one of kindness, generosity, integrity, excellence, and joy.  With blessings, may you Rest in Peace, Takuzosan.

With Takuzo post-concert in Tokyo, 2017

With the quartet off for the past month, April was wonderful whirlwind of special performance experiences, projects, and teaching.  Now in early May (how did that happen so fast?), we waved goodbye yesterday to the end of the semester here at Cornell, said hello to Slope Day, and ushered in the beginning of summer.

I had the great joy and honor of putting together a program of the Ruth Crawford Seeger sonata, Heifetz’s arrangements of a few Porgy tunes, and then the Dvorak quintet with my dear friend and long-time duo partner, Ieva Jokubaviciute on our most recent CMSM concert.  Her darling daughter and my unofficial goddaughter Alma came long for the tour, and my heart was so full spending time with her.  She even gave us an impromptu concert of her entree into Suzuki Book 2 – life kinda doesn’t get better than that.  Following the CMSM concert I had a chance to do some outreach volunteer visits to two of my favorite Twin Cities elementary schools – Blake and Valley Crossing – such fantastic kiddos!

After Minneapolis it was time to head back to Cornell to prep my annual faculty solo recital, entitled “Song and Dance Come Forth” which featured works for solo violin and viola + 1 written for, inspired by, or adapted from song and dance.  A special tribute to John Harbison, now celebrating his 80th year followed some Bach baroque dances, followed by Brahms’ G Major sonata and some bluegrass tunes – heading back to my childhood roots at fiddle camp in Northern Idaho…

Speaking of those childhood roots at fiddle camp in Sandpoint (a charming town near the Canadian border) where my father taught each summer at Gunther Schuller’s jazz and chamber music festival, I got to dive hard into the rich and inspiring folk music scene in Ithaca at the Friends of Stewart Park benefit concert.  Sharing the stage with local legends in a program curated by Rick Manning – brilliant landscape architect, engaged citizen and bluegrass-er – we fiddled, strummed, plucked, stomped, and sang our way through the night at La Tourelle to fundraise for this fabulous organization.

Then it was off to Florida for a quick getaway to celebrate my cousin Hae-An’s pre-wedding weekend, a 36-hour trip out to the Bay for the Crowden Music Center‘s benefit and some surprise volunteer work at Castillero Middle, and then back to Cornell for our end-of-year student performances.  My students gave their showcase solo recital on Monday and they blew me away – committed, thoughtful, and commanding performances.  With an unexpected day off, I went down for a moment with my honey, on the Deleware River, and that brings us full circle.

And, as always, a photo diary…

CMSM concert with Ieva and Society artists Papa Kim, Sally Chisholm and Tony Ross

Play time with our dearest Alma…
…and of course, a mid-April Minnesota blizzard…

Volunteering at Valley Crossing Elementary School…
…and the Blake School =)
The gorgeous (and delicious) tenure celebration dinner that my lovely neighbors, Doc & Greg made for me!

This is what happens when one rehearses on Easter at the Mizrahi home: the most epic egg-dying-decorating party ever!

Cousin time in Florida!

Solo recital at the Carriage House Hayloft

Post-show with dear friends Amy, Scott, Patty and Ben and my fabulous collaborators Kerry and Rick

Bluegrass night for Friends of Stewart Park at La Tourelle!
Post-Crowden Music Center Benefit with the Meraki Quartet (good luck at Fischoff tomorrow!)
And a surprise visit to Castillero Middle =)

My students at their end-of-year showcase recital – they so beautifully crushed it.

Taking in a super fun student performance, the Cornell Pan-African Dance and Drum Ensemble year-end concert

Taking a moment to exhale and take in some chill time at the Deleware Water Gap =)
And finally, a heartfelt blessing to Notre Dame – found this old picture of me and friend Miguel in front of the cathedral 15 years ago…

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