Tis the start of a new season – no, not an equinox, but a concert season. So much has happened already this calendar year that my mind is swirling trying to keep it organized. As I write this listening to Julia Fischer’s “Bach Concerti” album, I’m thankful for much that has happened. I had a myriad of touring – Mexico, Canada, eastern Europe, London, Alaska, Australia, and crisscrossing the United States. I played several new concerti (including the Brahms double and Schumann), worked with fantastic colleagues, and did some memorable interviews. One regret – I didn’t join my grandparents at the family home in Ontario this summer. You see, my grandfather died very suddenly on August 21st, following an exciting summer that included my grandparents touring Europe and vacationing at our favorite locale – Lake Penage.
Robert Sords – husband, father, and grandfather – was many things. Patriarch, strict, devoted, generous, sometimes ornery…those come to mind. What else comes to mind is a man who loved attending my concerts and seeing various successes. Bob, as I called him, taught me how to drive a boat, park a car, and be pretty persuasive in business. As the oldest of his eight grandchildren, I loved seeing the various relationships we all had with him – all pretty special, but none held a candle to the 62 years of marriage to my grandmother. They did everything together – the orchestra chorus, gardening, golf, meals out, vacations, and attending various athletic events, concerts, and graduations. I have some pretty spectacular memories of spending summers in Canada with them – bunking up in their room, sauna conversations, fishing, and puttering around the lake. Needless to say, of all of my performances this year, the most difficult one, no question, was playing two Ave Maria’s at his funeral (Caccini and Schubert). A special man – one minute stern, the next, chuckling. I miss him very much.
It’s amazing how as life progresses – priorities change, little things don’t matter as much, and the big picture comes into focus. Career-wise, that is certainly the case this season and with moving forward. I am grateful for being booked up for the next 24 months, for the wonderful colleagues I am privileged to collaborate with, and focusing on repertoire and venues that are important to me. It’s a newfound focus – certainly different from five years ago. Perhaps I will direct interviewers to this particular blog, and then most of their (pertinent and appropriate) questions would be answered.
Yes, this blog was more somber and vulnerable than is my norm – and perhaps reveals some of the craziness that has ensued this year. I am a firm believer in life experiences guiding art and the creative process. If that is to be believed – then the curveballs thrown this year only serve to illuminate the future with more clarity.