Jaime Laredo, violinist and conductor

A few nights ago, I attended an amazing concert at the Atlantic Music Festival. I’ve been staying here for close to four weeks, and there’s been no end to the amazing music that is continually being made, and the inspiration that’s been pouring out as a result.

This particular concert, out of all the concerts I’ve attended (and there have been at least three every week), touched me the most. Jaime Laredo, violinist, and Sharon Robinson, cellist, appeared as scheduled guests at the third out of four orchestra concerts, with Sarah Hicks of the Minnesota Orchestra as conductor. All three were a killer combination. Superb conducting, combined with excellent playing… well, one struggles to find words to describe it.

Sarah Hicks, conductor

Sarah Hicks was the first woman to hold a titled conductor post in the Minnesota Orchestra’s history. Over the years, she’s gained a lot of acclaim for her conducting at various orchestras as a guest conductor. We were truly fortunate to have her here at the festival.

Not only that, you can check out the blog she co-writes with Inside the Classics co-host Sam Bergman. I love that she has this half Japanese look, too. I also was impressed, watching during rehearsals, by the fact that she doesn’t have to scream at orchestra members to get what she wants out of them. (This was also confirmed by various orchestra members — remarks that she is one of the few nice conductors.) She is nice but very firm and decisive with her conducting, and gets what she wants because she knows what she wants and conveys that clearly to the orchestra members.

Anyone who can make an oboe sing with the crook of one finger is one pretty good conductor.

She’s also been trained as a pianist and viola player, even winning prizes for her piano playing. As a piano performance major, that’s just interesting to me.

And she loves blogging.

From her bio:

In her spare time, Ms. Hicks enjoys running, yoga, her two large dogs, cooking (and eating) with her husband, French hornist Paul LaFollette, blogging and songwriting.

How cool is that? Songwriting? I never would have guessed!

Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson. What to say? I was fascinated with the fact that they are actually married to each other, and have collaborated in many performances.They also teach in the same school, Indiana University. Jaime Laredo is famous enough that he has his own wikipedia page, and lots of pictures that appear in Google images. He’s in very high demand as both a conductor and a soloist, and is a Grammy award winner.

Sharon Robinson, cellist

Sharon Robinson has also won many awards for her playing, and was a Grammy-nominee. She has appeared as a guest in many orchestras, both in the States and in Europe, including the National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the London Symphony, among others. She is quite renowned for her chamber music performances, and co-founded the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, which was named the 2002 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to marry someone who is a fellow writer or fellow musician (or both?). It could potentially be a recipe for insanity, but on the other hand, it could be a beautiful thing as well. Because that person you’re playing/writing/whatever with is someone you’ve come to know and love, you can be so attuned to their expressions and reactions, and make harmony together.

And plus it just seems more romantic — making beautiful music with the one you love.

That came out funny, for some reason.

They performed the spectacular Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor. Talk about a piece that seemed as if it was written for their pairing… What I loved about their performance in the is that at times they seemed to be breathing totally in sync. They were so attuned to each other’s playing that they played so beautifully. Especially the slower second movement. It almost brought me to tears with the intensity and passion of their playing.

They seemed to be writing their own lifesong into the score, flowing from heart to fingers. A reminder that music has to come from a deeper place than the technical abilities or facilities of fingers.

Cello picture from Flickr creative commons and used with permission.

Pictures of artists are artistic photos from their respective niches in the web.


37 thoughts on “Lifesong

  1. I haven’t ever been to a concert like that, but it sounds beautiful!

    My husband is not a writer or a musician (even though he played the violin as a child, and was very good – he hates it). But, he’s an artist. He makes the most beautiful things out of wood. He’s a contractor by day and has designed the most amazing kitchens and basements, and he added details to our own house that make it special and unique.

    His artistry is very similar to my writing. We both start out with an idea that grows as we start creating.

  2. I LOVE classical music and i love violins and cellos. My grandad was a cello player and used to be in a quartet during the ’40. I play the piano (badly). Sometimes i feel like classical music is the real rock and roll…so powerful and rebellious!! Don’t you agree??

  3. Hey 🙂

    My brother is a Classical Composer – and would play early morning tunes that relaxed the house so much so, until it made the whole day peaceful. One things’ for sure they STAY busy but they are so passionate about their work! 🙂 I use to go to his recitles. Some small settings others HUGGGGE settings. Of course, he’s been around the world too…but I didn’t go on those trip – awhhhh hehehe. I’ve been asking him to teach me how to play the vilion – when he gets some time.

    Hope you’re having a great day 🙂

  4. “They seemed to be writing their own lifesong into the score, flowing from heart to fingers. A reminder that music has to come from a deeper place than the technical abilities or facilities of fingers.”

    I absolutely love that quote from your post. It’s packed with so much meaning and inspiration!

  5. Oh how beautiful and lucky you are! Cellos are just gorgeous, aren’t they? I was once in a relationship with a fellow writer, a disaster! But I was just starting to get my MFA at the time, and we was my former (young not a geezer) professor from undergrad. So there were a few disasters going on 🙂

    Sorry, TMI, i know! But I do think with true love an artistic relationship could be so creative and beautiful! But then any true love relationship is exactly that!


  6. My university had lots of concerts for us to attend-its where I absolutely fell in love with the cello! If I ever marry, I will have the cello accompanied by the piano… 😀

  7. “Making beautiful music with the one you love” is a beautiful thing. I always thought musicians are making music with love and passion for music, do they make music with one they love?

  8. this is almost completely irrelevant but i’ve always wanted to be a conductor. it looks like fun, doesn’t it? i’ve never seen a female conductor though!
    x x x

  9. my love and I used to attend concerts all the time but haven’t found the time (or the energy) to go as of late. Thanks for the inspiring post!
    xo tash

  10. The only exposure I have had to the violin is watching my brother play. However, it must have been close to a spiritual experience having the opportunity to attend such a wonderful concert.

    And yes, I agree, Sarah Hicks is gorgeous!

  11. what a lovely post. If there’s anything that touches me so easily? That’s music. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known and it makes me live.

  12. Ohhh wonderful post ! I remembered when I studied violin haha (not brilliantly of course). My father was a “Director” of orchestra and teacher of theory of the music.
    My brother also is teacher of piano.He teaches traditional piano and through the Suzuki method. You know the suzuki method?
    My favorite works are the concert for violin of Tchaikovsky and concert of Aranjuez.
    I have an antique violín , it was a a gift of my godmother, she was daughter of englishes.
    Hugs Abby 🙂

  13. I like classical music but I know so little about modern musicians.
    Side note…have you ever read “Bel Canto”…it focuses on an opera singer and the people around her…it talks quite it about the power of music and musicians, and is beautifully written. You might enjoy it.

  14. Well Abby, I must admit to knowing nothing about classical music but your enthusiasm and passionate writing style radiate through this lovely post and leave me wanting to find out more, thanks! xx

  15. It sounds like an amazing concert! I never got to go to concerts growing up, as Western classical music wasn’t very popular in Bangladesh. I learned piano without ever being able to attend a concert! But when I lived in London, I tried to go to a concert every few months – piano solo recitals, orchestras, smaller groups, operas, everything I could, really! – and I’m really going to miss that when I leave.

  16. Such a lovely review. And I think it would be insanely romantic for two writers/artists to marry. Whether it actually lasted or not is a different story, but you can be sure that however long it lasts, it will be filled with inspiration, passion, and creativity!

  17. I totally love this post….What a beautiful review, thank you for that and have a great day:)

    Ps: I am having a really great GIVEAWAY today…hint?(something you can wear) so please join in !!!!

  18. What a great post! I like how you in-cooperate so much about music in your blog. I really do think music can help us in so many ways.
    This is the first post on March 30, 2008. So yes, the story has evolved. I have one friend who only wanted to read about Ellie, but I possibly have a short attention span so I had to write about her friends. At one time, Eric was Ellie’s boyfriend. Ellie dated Elliot too. So its a small world. Then there is Nick & Heath who have had their own adventure as couple. Book 2 starts after Ellie graduates high school. I know..I must be insane.

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