New York is a brilliant, thriving city and I was lucky enough to spend new year’s there.
Around April last year, my high school violin teacher Roger Jonsson (eminent violinist himself) introduced me to Adam Chalabi, his good friend and deskmate in Orchestra Victoria.
Adam has an incredible reputation – one of my choir teachers, Dermot Tutty, said that he had never heard a single bad word about Adam and now, having actually learnt from him, I can say that it is true.
His previous students have amazed me with their growth and where they are now, and while he had previously taught at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in South Melbourne, I had never considered him as a teacher.
However, Roger was pretty adamant (“I won’t talk to you anymore if you don’t go and learn from him”) that I move to Brisbane and learn from Adam. With his help, I was put into touch with Adam and I had one lesson in April where immediately after, I decided that I would move interstate and learn from him.
One or two weeks after our lesson, I received a call from Adam, and he invited me to go to New York in January with him to participate in New York University’s 2015 Winter Strings Conference.
To say I was pleased is an understatement.
I agreed, and so on January the 1st, 2015 I flew from Melbourne to Shanghai, and then Shanghai to New York. I had time with friends to see and go around Brooklyn, where we lived, and New York City before our course, which was great.
The conference lasted for 5 days, where I watched masterclasses with teachers like Cyrus Beroukhim, Stephanie Baer, Adam Chalabi, Karen Ritscher and Patricia Pollett, and participated in masterclasses with Peter Herresthal along with lessons from Adam. We were also given opportunities to attend a naprapathy class with Norwegian Morten Skjønnhaug and Alexander Technique teacher Edward Malave.
One of the greatest moments of the class was my masterclass with Peter Herresthal, a teacher in Norway and also the Royal Academy of Music in London.
He and I worked on the Adagio from Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G minor. Prior to this I had played this piece on and off since I was 11 years old, and for a while the piece lost its lustre.
With him however, I regained some of that back and approached it from more of a Baroque Violinist point of view, and I gained new insight on phrasing, direction and the timbres and colours of each individual melody, harmony and countermelody of the piece.
It was one of the most insightful lessons I had been in for quite some time, and one of the most important things I took away from it was that you can never know a piece too well. I’ve had the Adagio for almost 8 years, and every single time I revise it it’s a new adventure.
Thank you to all the teachers and staff that made New York amazing, and thank you to the new friends I made as well! It was bliss.