I am in my old hometown of New York City. It’s so great to be back. The weather is perfect and my tummy and mind are sooooo happy to see all my old haunts. My favorite Italian, Greek, Japanese, Korean and Chinese restaurants…ramen, oden, soba, burgers, pizza, luthiers, radio stations, shopping and friends. It’s all here in about a 3 block radius (okay, I’m slightly exaggerating as I didn’t include Central Park!).
All of this made me think about the reason why I came here originally. I moved to New York to study with Dorothy DeLay, the greatest violin teacher in the world, whom I studied with for 6 years-3 years in the pre-college division and 3 in college, trying to get my bachelor’s degree while touring, recording and flying like a maniac around the world. Ms.DeLay could have been anywhere-Bloomington, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Boston, Florida…but she chose New York City to teach and be seen in. I am so thankful for this and my home continued to be New York for almost 20 more years after I graduated.
Today, I did an interview for Sirius XM Radio, Symphony Hall and played 2 pieces in tribute to the 10th anniversary of 9-11. Every American remembers that day like the previous generation remembers what happened when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I was in my apartment in New York, and I was supposed to meet a broker downtown to look at some apartments. She phoned me to say she was stuck on the bridge as she heard that some small plane mistakenly flew into some building. She told me to see if I could find out anything more by turning on the TV, and several minutes later, my mouth was on the floor.
The smell, the burning air, the cloud that descended over lower Manhattan was horrifying. One could smell death-lots of it. I soon was asked to take the train to Washington D.C. to perform the Beethoven Triple Concerto at the Kennedy Center, as a violinist could not fly into America at the time. It was scary there too with a rehearsal being called off because a suspicious van was parked outside the Kennedy Center. It was difficult to sleep that entire time knowing what had happened to America.
At Sirius, I was asked to choose 2 pieces to perform. One about reflection and the other about life affirmation. I chose Somei Satoh’s ‘Birds in Warped Time II’, as Michael Arad, the architect who was chosen over 5200 entrants from 63 nations, was the sole entrant to use music. This music together with his design was chosen and is now, the World Trade Center Memorial.
The second piece I performed was America’s National Anthem. It is one of the most beautiful anthems written (even though the music was an old English drinking song!). I recently performed this in front of 42,000 baseball fans at a Mariners-Red Sox game in Seattle. Thank you New York City.