Transcript:

Speaker Mark Colvin, you know, I can’t remember when I started playing myself. I can remember some of the early performances that I did when I was five years old, but I don’t remember the beginnings. I think I must have been two or three years old when I first wanted to play because my mother had a violin and she played occasionally, although she was a pianist. But I don’t remember too much about it. It was just always part of me.

Speaker And where are you? We’ll tell you a little bit about where you grew up. I know where you are. Tell me again, even though we’ve talked about it, the music, your family in your household, but the sort of legacy of teaching with both of your family, your parents, with your your sort of family law that way?

Speaker Well, my family, my mother and father both and my grandparents as well were teachers. My mother was a teacher of piano and my father was a Latin scholar and taught Latin and then went into administration. And he liked playing. He had a cello and played a little. And I always seem to like the violin and wanted to do that, although I did play piano a lot.

Speaker And when did you at what point in your life did you think, well, I’ll do this will become a serious thing for me?

Speaker Did you just how did it become a little a little girl with a violin, too?

Speaker Maybe I’ll make a life in music.

Speaker I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision. I think that it just grew. We had so much musical activity. Our little town was typical of the Middle West at that time. We had it was a town of 4000 people with a high school of 400 kids. One hundred of the 400 played in our symphony orchestra, which rehearsed every morning at eight o’clock. And we had not only those symphony rehearsals, we had theory classes and we had chamber music classes, string quartets and that kind of thing. And there were all kinds of competitions that would happen every spring in Iowa, in Kansas and so forth. And we were very involved in all that activity.

Speaker And what did you know about Juilliard at that time as you got a bit older? What was what was known? I mean, you were in Kansas. What was known about Giuliani? What made you think about, in fact, going. Well, at first to the to the Ivy. What what was the what was their reputation at the time? What did you know about it at all?

Speaker Well, my mother and father were since they were both teachers were aware of the best schools in various areas. And of course, Juilliard was considered the best school. And it was mentioned from time to time as being the best school and the best place to be if you were studying. And it just seemed to be a sort of natural part of the landscape.

Speaker And when did you tell me the story of how you went to New York? How did all that come about?

Speaker Well, I.

Speaker I had gone into my senior year in high school when I was 14, and I, I, I spent a lot of time practicing at that point, and then I finished college. I first went to Oberlin, then on to Michigan State. And I finished college and wanted to do graduate work. I wanted to go to the best school. So I decided to go to New York.

Speaker I had thirty dollars in my train fare and my violin. And so I did it.

Speaker And I came into New York, I knew the first thing I had to do was to get a job so that I could stay because thirty dollars wouldn’t last very long.

Speaker And I did that and I went into the school and I was there.

Speaker And to think for years, something like that, I was there until it until the outbreak of the second war.

Speaker And what was what was you know, first you went to the IAB just for a year, you told me to the Institute of Musical Art.

Speaker No, I was not part of that school framework, but my teacher of the Juilliard Graduate School was what you were that.

Speaker That’s the school I finally went into. How does that work?

Speaker Yeah, I got I got to New York. Too late to go into the graduate school. And so I. But I did get my teacher. My teacher got me started and.

Speaker I don’t remember.

Speaker I remember being aware of the AM. But not very much aware of it. I think there may have been an unfortunately snobbish attitude on the part of graduate school students toward the army, which was, I’m sure, a very good school. But I really wasn’t too much aware of what was happening there. The Juilliard School itself was small. They had enough string players to have one symphony orchestra. They had they had the personnel for a symphony orchestra. They had an opera department.

Speaker And I think that was it. It was at that time, no drama, no dance division.

Speaker And it was not scholarship school and. The person the student body was primarily American.

Speaker The faculty were primarily European teachers from Russia, from Germany, from Holland. My composition teacher was from Holland, from England, from many different countries. It was a really interesting cross-section of teachers. Very interesting.

Speaker And of course, that’s changed tremendously now because now the students are most ardent. Well, we have a predominance of Asian students, but also now we’re getting a lot of European students and the teachers are mostly American. So it’s kind of turned around.

Speaker Was the relationship with the Juilliard graduates who at that time, very much in the European tradition that would say the relationship between a teacher and student was your primary relationship, that you went there just you were study with your lesson was the core of your sort of Juilliard experience, or in fact, with all the orchestral work, a very big part of your life in the orchestral work for string players was not a big part of our work.

Speaker All I probably was for the brass and wind players, but the relationship with a teacher was the center of it because it’s music conservatory. And I think that’s still true today.

Speaker I don’t think that’s changed. I think most students choose their school according to what teacher they would like to work with.

Speaker And what was the what was your sort of sense of what of what a conservatory education would be like compared to what it was? Did it pretty much meet your expectations for you quite surprised when you got there, or did you pretty much think this is what I’m going to do? Pretty much what you thought it would be.

Speaker I hadn’t really thought ahead.

Speaker I got there and I found out that we did. Chamber music, we did theory and we had our license. And so we did that.

Speaker What were what were your goals at that time professionally? What were you sort of working towards? Did you. What were you. What were your sort of plans as a young girl then?

Speaker I think I was making my plans sort of as I went along because my family had no real knowledge of the profession. And so I was picking up information about various kinds of things from then people I met in New York.

Speaker There were many, many interesting things to do and.

Speaker I didn’t really have a format or a plan in mind. I came, but I just did what came to a hand and I finally, after a couple of years school, signed with the manager and started playing some solo concerts and also played some chamber music concerts.

Speaker And sometimes did play in an orchestra. So I did all three things. I didn’t start teaching until later.

Speaker And was what made you sort of decide maybe the concert life wasn’t for you?

Speaker What was it?

Speaker What was it about being out in play that made you maybe shift what you were doing or or see another way?

Speaker Well, several things happened. One was that the Second World War began and my husband and I were married and then we had a son and it became very difficult to travel during that period of time. And I didn’t want to leave, baby.

Speaker Also. I think that.

Speaker The people who play concerts and who go go on enjoying play, can’t play in concerts are people who really have a feeling for.

Speaker Some kind of social contact with the audience.

Speaker You need to feel if you play well, you need to be able to feel that you’ve given a gift to the Warriors, to these people.

Speaker And. It took me many years to understand that. But it’s true.

Speaker And somehow for you, you weren’t feeling.

Speaker I didn’t feel that way, I was never satisfied after the concert. And that feeling got in the way of the other other attitude. Naturally, I don’t think anyone’s ever totally satisfied with his performance. But some interviewer asked associate of mine once. Roughly how many concerts he played in a year. And you say no. Roughly one hundred smoothly.

Speaker Oh.

Speaker So I think we all feel that we could do better after a concert. But at the same time, you have to we have to understand and realize what we have done that the audience genuinely appreciate. And lots, lots of young people don’t understand it.

Speaker When did you tell me a little bit about how you started to date, when that became an option and you started teaching it and then eventually came to teach Julia?

Speaker Well, it was sort of by accident.

Speaker I actually had thought that I would like to study medicine after the war was over. And I considered that for some months.

Speaker And my husband asked me if I could do four years of biology. And I said no. And so I thought, if I’m going to do music, it has to be better than it is, has to be better. And so I decided to study some more.

Speaker And even Kalamian was a fine Russian teacher, had come to New York at that point and I went to have some work with him. And during this process, I sat in his studio and watched him work. And as I watched him, I thought something very special is happening in this room. I don’t know what it is, but something very special. And so when I was invited to teach, I thought, well. Maybe I should try this and see, because I had sworn I would never teach. I knew all about how difficult it was. I knew all about all the disadvantages from my parents.

Speaker And I thought, well, let’s try first day.

Speaker Sir, I had two little girls who were hunting desperately for their notes. It was true desperation. We had such a good time. We loved it. I loved it. I don’t know about them, but I loved it. And it got to be my days of teaching. Got to be the best days of the week. I really looked forward to it.

Speaker And when did you start teaching at Juilliard itself?

Speaker How did how did that really I mean, you had been there as a student and had you kept your relationship. How did that?

Speaker Well, I had many friends when I came when the war was over. My husband and I had been living in Washington. He was a to General Arnold, who was head of the air forces, and he was at the Pentagon. And we came back to New York. And I had many friends who were at the school. And a friend of mine was Dean at that time. And he asked me to come and teach.

Speaker So I thought, well, try.

Speaker Well, we know this has become an illustrious history because you’ve never really walked out the door. So, I mean, what at what point did you start teaching? It was long. You’ve been there ever since. There’s never been a break. No.

Speaker So you began up in the building in Claremont. What was that?

Speaker How is that environment different than what it’s like today? I mean, what were what was it like up in the Claremont building? And what was the room like where you’ve had your lessons?

Speaker Well, the room was not nearly so comfortable as the one room I have now. It had the same basic equipment, you know, good grand piano and and cabinets for music, that kind of thing.

Speaker How is it different?

Speaker The difference isn’t in the building, the differences are in the people who were involved.

Speaker You know the difference, sir, in the shift in the population of the student body and and the differences.

Speaker In the student body are the result of how music as an art form has changed in our country.

Speaker So and in that try it, if you can tell me a little bit about what was that what when in the sort of 50s and 60s, up it up in Clairemont.

Speaker What was that student body like? Who were your. Who were your colleagues at that time and who were your students at that time? What was that?

Speaker Well, at that time, our students were in the violin department. Many of them from Israel, very gifted people, very energetic, very talented and.

Speaker A fascinating group.

Speaker Politically, what had brought all these? I mean, why do you think there is this big sweep of students from Israel?

Speaker I think the students from Israel came from families who were refugees from Russia, who had gone from Russia to Israel and who still valued the tradition of musical performance in their families. And so the best of them came to the Juilliard School and they were fascinating group of people. Really fascinating. At the same time, I was asked to judge a competition which which was put together in Tokyo sponsored by a Japanese newspaper. And they sent tapes to the Juilliard School. And this was the first of the Japanese people coming in. We had quite, quite a increasing number of Japanese at that point. And then following them, a flood of Korean players who were very, very talented and very good. So that now I think it’s more than 50 percent or Asian students and they are wonderful.

Speaker We’ll talk a little bit about the time in the beginning years.

Speaker Who are who are the great colleagues that were teaching violin alongside who was there? What was your relationship to these other great teachers?

Speaker I felt very junior. Well, there was Edward Day here. There was Albert Spalding. By that time had died. There was some. Consulate’s still there. Felix Salmon was still there. Cellist. And of course, even Kalamian here joined the faculty. He was the, I think, the first Russian teacher who came in. And Josef Fuchs was. I think he may have come in a little bit later, but. But he did. Yes. And he had the background from Kneisel German background.

Speaker And what did you all have?

Speaker Was there a philosophy of teaching or was it just. To each his own?

Speaker I mean, at that point when you were a young student, right now, of course, you’re banging down the door. But who were you? And how are your students coming to you at that time? Were they you were very young. They may not have known who you were yet or were just coming to know you were you. They come and go to Juilliard and get assigned to miss the class. Or how did that work?

Speaker What happened was that that got me on came in and I was already teaching there. He asked me to work with him since I had already come to him before to do some study. And I was delighted to do that because I was very much of a beginner in teaching. Believe me, that is very much when you begin. We begin just not knowing anything. We of course, we know our craft. We know how to do the things, but how to communicate with the student in order to tell things to a student we don’t know. So I was delighted to accept this. And I worked with him. I was with him on many with many of the students. I did have some students of my own. But he was the predominant influence in the violin. How do we persevere? Was there. He was American. I was looking for European students, teachers, but he was pressing. I was there. And Colombia is a way of doing things diverged a great deal from what had been done before. And I used to have dinner with him and his wife every Monday night and we would get out our pencils and papers and go over the list of students and what they achieved and what they hadn’t achieved. I learned a great deal from that. I owe him a great deal. He was a fine, fine teacher.

Speaker And how did how is his style different from your own style? You must learn from him and yet clearly had to develop your your own way of working with.

Speaker Well, I think his style stemmed from his family background, just as minded, and his family were Armenian. And they come from Russia. And in an Armenian family at that time, the father was very authoritarian and. Teachers, I had the same orientation to the students you were that you were expected as student to do as you were told. Do this, do this, do this. Do this. And you had enough respect as student for the teacher that you did it or if you didn’t. You were very much worried about that fact. Backgrounds different. I think he may have believed that there are certain things that cannot be taught. And I know that today there are so many people who think there’s things, certain things that cannot be taught. Maybe. But I can’t do anything about them if there are. So I was interested in trying to take difficult situations and see if I could find a solution for them. I devised some training exercises to sharpen up intonation. I went into some very detailed work on the action of both hands. The muscles of the hands, which hadn’t been done much before that, although a man named Doonas had done some of it. I did a lot of experimenting, so I was curious because I had the feeling that people have such tremendous potential. And that our learning patterns, if we can make our learning patterns work well, going to be able to to do great things.

Speaker So that’s been that’s kept me fascinated.

Speaker A little a little simple. So in a way, Juilliard really made a home for you, allowing you a lot of freedom.

Speaker Oh, yes. To sort out the best ways to work with people. Oh, yes. I mean. Which is such a treat. Oh, it’s a wonderful thing.

Speaker This kind of thing. I had one student come in after he’d been in. Some are faster wool for a couple of years and saying all excited. It’s going to play a solo piece the next summer.

Speaker Great. He said, I don’t think I can. I said, why not? I can’t play fast enough. I can play chamber music, but I can’t play fast enough to play that piece. And I said, well, how fast would you like to go?

Speaker And he said, Well, I of course I’d like to go as fast as Pearlman, but I could never do that. I said, well, let’s let’s take a look and see what happens. I happen to have Pearlman’s recording in the studio of it. It’s a short piece and very, very fast. And I had the music. And so I said, OK, let’s see what we can do. So it took the first two pages and we went through a series of exercises which are familiar to every string player doing his piece with increasingly fast rhythms, you know. I had the metronome. And so we started out very slowly and we get faster.

Speaker Faster. He said, getting faster. I said, Mm hmm. So we kept going. And he said, maybe I can do this.

Speaker I think you can say I could never go as fast problem, but maybe I can do it. Can I go some more, faster and faster? We had already clocked the prom and record with me with a metronome. So we knew how fast he was going. So after 40 minutes and he hadn’t seen the piece before, after 40 minutes, I said, you want to see how fast you go? And he said, yes. And I showed him and he was faster than Paroma. Because, you see, I know this is what I found out. We stop ourselves. If he’d been have working that metronome when he started to get up to that speed, he would have said, Huh? But I’m getting close to prom and I can’t do that. And he was stopped himself from the European model that even right down.

Speaker Right. It really hard. I was really trying to create this European style conservatory with teachers being this sort of students. I mean, what what is that model? Someone is going it wants to create a European style conservatory. What does that mean to you?

Speaker You mean a modern European style conservatory?

Speaker Well, it will in the turn of the century or turn of the century, trying to create a big, big Juilliard in the model of the famous conservatories of Europe.

Speaker I don’t know what that means. I really don’t have any idea what that means. But I would assume that the style of teaching was mainly authoritarian. I know that I was afraid to ask questions because many of my teachers considered not wanting information, but questioning their knowledge.

Speaker And.

Speaker If the teaching process is based on repeating to a younger generation what you heard as a student from an older generation, just repeating it and repeating it verbatim, then it’s got to be authoritarian.

Speaker But I don’t think that’s what learning is.

Speaker And one thing I’m pleased about is that many of my students have gone on on developing on their own and developing wonderfully.

Speaker I’m very pleased about that.

Speaker Well, do you think part of that, and I think it’s it’s not you maybe who said it, particularly to me. But part of what she got from her from her many years with you was teaching was you teaching her to teach herself that she learned about about teaching and that sometimes she’ll sit and and work with some of the ways that you had her work so that instead of thinking, Dorothy’s going to give me the answers. You taught her to give herself the answers.

Speaker I tried to do that.

Speaker Yes, I tried.

Speaker Tell me a little bit about it. Of course, the being so only was he wanted your would you consider him sort of one of your first. Great. Great. Yes. Relationships that you form. Tell me a little bit about the beginning of that relationship and how you worked together. Well, when I first met him, I’m actually to be good because I think, as I said, his name and I’m not really.

Speaker If you say when you first met when I first met Itzhak Perlman, he was 13 and he had come over to the United States from Israel and he was in a miserable hotel room and it was raining and he was in a terrible mood, did not want to play for me. And he looked at me just frowning. And finally, at the end, he didn’t speak any English. Neither do his mother. But we managed to make it clear that he was supposed to play. He started playing Mendelssohn Concerto about double tempo and looking at me very closely. He did it. I thought, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. He was just it was just amazing. And.

Speaker And I think I fell in love with him then. He was he was he really was amazing. Then he’s continued to be amazing.

Speaker You know, we’re starting to teach together now. And he’s also conducting you probably know he’s going to be resident guest conductor of the Detroit Symphony next year. And the process of teaching and studying orchestral scores has gone him. He’s just so energetic that it’s it’s wonderful. And we have a good time. He comes in to the studio and the two of us are together. They’re poor children. For students who play for us, work awfully hard. But it’s fascinating.

Speaker And what was it like when you began? You saw him in the hotel room, thought, oh, my God. Here’s the beginning of something special. And then how many years did you work together where he was your student? And what was how did he grow during those years? And how did maybe you how did you change? And you learn a lot by teaching.

Speaker Well, I think with any student, the first thing you see is what they can do very easily without any help. And the second thing you see is what areas they need help.

Speaker And I think.

Speaker What I did with him and what I do with most students is to try to find questions for them, to give the answers, to give the answers than they know what they should do. Right now, I’m working on my list of questions.

Speaker Well, we work together.

Speaker I guess he must have been. I think he was 19 when he and Toby were married and he still came to see me after that occasionally for several years. And I’ve always gone to his concerts and we’ve always talked about things and disagree about things and agreed about others.

Speaker So you were telling me when we were when we were talking together that that people initially were intrigued by his play. But for so sure that he was going to have the career that he had. Has been fortunate to have. I mean, did you feel from the beginning that he was a whirlwind? Well, that would just.

Speaker Or isn’t it hard to see what where people might go?

Speaker I don’t think we can ever tell for people, Butko. But there was no question about that talent, his incredible talent. I think the question in some people’s minds was the fact that that he walked with crutches. And they called it wrong. They really called it wrong. And I knew at the time that they were calling it wrong. So I was very happy to see him become independent. I helped him learn how to drive a car. We used to drive from upstate New York down to in the summertime, down to New York, back for kosher food for him and. He would hold the steering. He’d sit there close next to me and hold the steering wheel so he’d learn how to get the feel of the steering wheel. And then after I get tired of that, he put a scratch on the gas pedal. And that was interesting. And I tried to find his way in many ways as possible, make him independent. And he became very independent.

Speaker And.

Speaker And what’s it like now teaching together, I mean, we’ve been in a in a lesson with you and Rachel when I feel like you are writing each other notes. What I mean. Is there almost like an unspoken language? Where do you do it? Constantly trading little thoughts back and forth. How is that teaching process working?

Speaker Well, I’m in the process of trying to learn and absorb his thinking process. He has a marvelous ear and he’s hearing sound very, very clearly.

Speaker And he knows exactly how to describe to the student process of getting that sound. And so I want him to take the lead. And he does. And. If if he wants to tease me a little bit, he’ll make a joke and then he’ll go on with it. With less than. But I love it.

Speaker Do you think it’s daunting for some of the kids to play for him?

Speaker Oh, I think it’s it puts them on their on their mettle. Yeah. So I think they concentrate very well and I think they learn very well. They’re very attentive.

Speaker Yes.

Speaker Well, for you or for him as well, I mean, do you think that you think that his is here? Is he a high watermark for a lot of the kids?

Speaker I think he is a high watermark. Yes, he’s the. The kids really think he’s he’s wonderful. And when you feel that way about someone and you play for that person, you his reactions very important to you.

Speaker And let’s talk about some of your gear. I mean, the list of your students is so I mean, one thing I’ll ask you before we go out of this sort of era that you took this part of is that many people first referred to that as sort of the golden era of Tilyard.

Speaker I mean, not all of them were violent students, but, you know, changed provide in many acts. And there was a real period of time and truly art in which an unbelievable level of musical talent was happening.

Speaker What do you what do you think accounts for that era of Tulear history?

Speaker Well, I think there are two factors here. One, I think we still have that kind of talent. It takes time to establish those people. But I think we have that kind of talent coming out of the school now. I mean, if you look at the lists of performers, you look through musical America, you look through through concert list, that kind of thing. You find most of them are coming from Juilliard. And you have youngsters who are beginning like Gil Shaam and and Sarah Chang. And then you have you know, it’s it’s a new generation that will take time for them to gain the reputation that it’s OK. I think the second thing is that that was a rather rich. Period. Professionally. There was some very strong managements. I see them was one of the very strong managements that had developed from the Herock office. And still today is a very strong management. There were a number of very strong managements at that time. Today, there are not as many. And I think that’s because perhaps there’s not as much of a demand for the kind of of playing. Quantitative to me, I don’t know. I shouldn’t try to theorize about this because I don’t really know.

Speaker Was it for you?

Speaker I mean, we you’ve had wonderful students throughout the decades where they would look at not Joe or Sarah or Bedourie. Talk a little bit about logic. Of course, we’ve had her in here. What would she like as do.

Speaker Not. It was always fascinating. And I loved her. She was impulsive, quick tempered, quicksilver, imaginative, amazing.

Speaker And she always had a very strong idea of what she wanted to do, and never in the world could have dealt with an authoritarian situation she felt would have found ways to deal with it. Very, very gifted violinist.

Speaker How did her plane change from what did you see when you saw her? Her audition? She described her audition to us, but did say what she say.

Speaker She said she was she was terrible, but she said you must have seen something. But the only thing you saw was potential.

Speaker She said, I saw the energy. I saw the energy here. And I saw the desire to do it. And so it’s just a question of how to get her where she wanted to be and what were her.

Speaker I mean, she spent many years with you. Did you. How did how did she change? What were there?

Speaker Was there a lot of how did her plane change or how did her growth change over the course of working with what she came with and what you really worked on?

Speaker That’s awfully hard to say. She always loved the high its records and she listened to them a lot. And I think she was very much influenced by the Hafitz style. But she her style now doesn’t sound like that style at all.

Speaker But she loved it and she loved the energy.

Speaker We did the usual things that everyone has to do chest to do with, you know, becoming accurate. That sort of thing. We tried to do. I tried to do as much with repertoire as possible so that she’d have some breadth of repertoire. She always had a very original way of approaching any piece of music. And I think it was that originality that made it possible for her to win the no competition.

Speaker What was what was she like, grad school? What did the other kids think of her? I mean, there’s a lot of very quiet little place sitting very quietly. I can imagine she was that. What was she like?

Speaker Well, the little boys admired her greatly when she was about 13 or 14 and the little boys were about 10. They thought she was wonderful, just wonderful because she would do things like. Jumping from the floor to the to the van and back onto the floor, into the divine Ambac floor, you see. There were no adults around and the little boys would look at her with adoring eyes. Isn’t she marvelous? She’s jumping on the furniture.

Speaker And she said that she was she really loved pretty college. She really ruled the roost. She made a of friends.

Speaker She did. She was absolutely the queen.

Speaker But she also talked about something. And I’m wondering what your thoughts were about from from your perspective, about a period of time when she decided not to play and really come to a crossroads, that she had a lot of lessons with where she came in.

Speaker She didn’t bring her instrument.

Speaker All that you just talked, but she talked.

Speaker You felt you were well. What was that crossroads? And how did you handle that as a teenager?

Speaker Well, I don’t think I was conscious of this process at that time, but I think everyone hits at that moment. Every performer who started early because we originally do it because we want to please our mother or father and maybe we wanted to please the teacher and maybe not. But we want to please mother, father. And then you see, as we get to be teenagers and late teenagers and we’re thinking about being grown up and we start to question everything coming from our families, we’re not sure whether this is really what we want. We say, oh, my mother want me to do this, but I’m not sure I want it. And I think that’s that was her moment when she had to decide that she was trying to decide what she really, really wanted to do. And the fact of winning the competition and the concerts that she had to play afterwards in a very fast sequence kept her busy and working very hard. And she loved it.

Speaker But when she thought maybe she wasn’t going to play anymore, she said you sort of ultimately had to kind of set the line down with her. How did that happen? What what what happened? I’m not sure.

Speaker I don’t remember clearly enough. I may have said to her, look, I’m not expert because I’m not I’m not a trained psychologist. I can help you with music, but I can’t help you with other things because I don’t have the knowledge, the background. So bring music next time. I may have done something like that.

Speaker Yeah, I mean, there comes a point where someone can I mean, you are there to teach me is that this spring there is to bit after a while, but that’s something else to talk about.

Speaker I mean, you must end up because people start with you as very little children in very personal relationships with people. I mean, these these relationships, these are your visa, your sugarcoats. If they are, I mean, what you know, is it something you think about a lot in terms of is there a line that you have to draw? Is there the teaching in the life and the Pammi? How? Or do you just delve in because they’re your kids.

Speaker I think there’s a line you have to draw. You know, if you want to be of help, you know, we all of each of us knows in what areas we can be of help, in which areas we cannot. And also in which areas we probably should not try. And you covered on that? Yes. Not frequently, but sometimes.

Speaker And, you know, we’ve we’ve talked a little bit about, you know, your sort of elusive style of of teaching that is big.

Speaker But I mean, if you think when somebody comes in and they’re very talented, what what what’s your what’s your sort of original hope?

Speaker What are you thinking when someone when someone has a wonderful audition and you think I could work with them?

Speaker Well, I think this would be fascinating to see. How far can you develop? I would like to see what happens artistically. Oh. Then I think about what areas need to be worked in. I think about what materials we need to use, things like that.

Speaker Is it a lot of pressure for you or is it just a joy that the DeLay studio has become this absolute pinnacle? I mean, there must be a bit of pressure feeling like so many of you can’t keep everybody.

Speaker I can’t teach all the people who want to come and study. That’s true. So I have to choose and I’m in the process of doing that now next year. That’s not easy.

Speaker But I have to plan. Well.

Speaker And does it do you see an unbelievable amount of talent that you have to let some of them go, or do we have hard to find her willing?

Speaker No. The talent is just if we’re. Our planet is flooded with talent. The possibilities are just amazing. The opportunities are not so many. And the good learning patterns that good teaching patterns are few. But the talent. It’s rich with talent.

Speaker Do you think that Giuliani’s and places like Chile are that place where you’ve had your freedom? I mean, is that critical to the ongoing world of performing arts and music? I mean, do you feel that a place like Juilliard is just so important to.

Speaker Try to maintain in every way that you mean sometimes the way you’re in your own orbit. There’s a lot of orbits that truly are. But in a sense, it’s still the grand institution as a whole.

Speaker We have a.

Speaker I don’t know that.

Speaker I don’t know that I can answer that question because I think you’re asking me what position school like Juilliard does and should occupy in relation to our musical culture. I don’t know.

Speaker I think.

Speaker Someone once said the best school. As a log, a fallen log in the forest with a student sitting on one end in, a very gifted teacher on the other end.

Speaker And the mutual learning that’s going on is incredible. And I think that’s what’s important. I learned from my kids so much.

Speaker Let’s talk a little bit about Rachel, since we’re looking a little grim. She’s been a real, real treat for you. I mean, a new generation treat.

Speaker I love little Rachel. Yes, she’s always she’s I always like the days when she comes in.

Speaker She’s an amazing mind. Amazing imagination.

Speaker What was it like for so excuse me. You got to get a drink. Can I do that?

Speaker And what was what did you want? How would tell me how old? She wasn’t sure. What was that audition like? What did you see? I don’t know.

Speaker Was she eight when she came in? I heard such incredible creativity and intelligence and the sound of what she was doing. It’s as if you were to meet an eight year old child. And have him speak to you with the level of understanding of an adult and you can’t understand what all these thoughts come from. But they’re their.

Speaker If you think of the most. Person, person or persons, you know, speech is sometimes very profound to you. And then imagine that person as an eight year old child, you you’ll see what it is.

Speaker It’s amazing.

Speaker And we’ve talked a little bit about what it is to nurture that talent, about the sort of your thoughts about the sort of prodigy idea. I mean, what about. Oh, they’re no, they’re not getting to watch television. What do you what are your what are your thoughts on people, on the sense of these kids being so small? Do they even know what they have or know what they’re playing? What do you mean? You’ve taught a lot of kids and little kids that age. What is the maybe the myth that the general public thinks about that? And the reality of what that really is? Part of it is.

Speaker Well, I don’t like the word prodigy. First of all, because it separates these children from from the rest of us. What they’re doing is just doing everything faster, more quickly. It’s a question of speed. And just at the other end of the scale, there are some children who are so very, very, very slow that they can’t manage to live by learn enough to live by themselves. So there are two ends of this spectrum. Usually these children have a very strong feeling, a desire to do the work they’re doing. They don’t want to watch television. They don’t want to go out and play football. They don’t want to do. These are the things they want to play violent. And so they drag the parents along with them. I don’t know how to explain this.

Speaker Well, you’re what we once said to me know that it was a little bit also inherently a sense of that practicing should just be like homework.

Speaker Well, yes, it should.

Speaker But do you think that I mean and I think that you also said something to me once about, you know, if you can play the violin at that level, why should you? We should tell you this. Why should you maybe encourage something, maybe mediocre and discourage something that’s so beautiful? I mean, you talked about a little bit on that low level.

Speaker Well, yes. Sarah Chung said it when she was. Jean-Charles PolicĂ­a and I were being interviewed some years back and they asked her if she didn’t feel she’d lost her child. And she said, no, my goodness. She said the average girl in the United States had the figures had just been published. I think in the Times, the average girl, the United States, spends four hours a day in front of television. She said, I spend it practicing. She said, I get to travel. I get to see these cities. I get to meet interesting people. She’s what would you choose?

Speaker In the end, you really got in the in the discussion of, like, men who are you’re talking about teaching. They give it away first. Is there a comparison between your early relationship in which you were working with him on the violin and now he’s coming back and learning about teaching from you as well?

Speaker Well, I don’t think he’s learning from me. I mean, I think he he’s so. He’s he has this beautiful ear. He knows exactly what he wants to hear and what he thinks is good, and he knows how to tell students how to do it. And it’s it’s it’s a pleasure to watch it.

Speaker Was it fun for you thought about revitalization?

Speaker Yes. Have your body back. Yes, it is, my good friend. And I love to watch him work.

Speaker I love to watch the children work. I just it’s. And watch them doing things. Well, you know, it’s it’s really special.

Speaker You were going to tell me what what you thought of Rachel. When did he first hear Rachel?

Speaker I think was about a year ago, a little more. He heard Rachel play for the first time and I flipped out. He said he couldn’t believe it.

Speaker And.

Speaker You know, if you haven’t seen a lot of early developments, something like that can be quite scary because the capacity, the talent is so big that some people don’t know how to react to it.

Speaker And.

Speaker Then after Tuck had worked with a couple of times, he got the feel of it and he liked working with her. But I think in the beginning he just went, you know, which I did, too. First time I heard.

Speaker She’s very quiet, though, in her. Have you found in spending a lot more time with her that you’ve had a lot of conversations with her?

Speaker No, we don’t have conversations, but we we have conversations musically. Well, she said she tells us a few things and she writes letters to us. And she wrote a letter to us saying, you know, I really want a puppy, but if I can’t have a puppy, maybe I can have a kitten. If I can’t have a kitten, maybe I can have a rabbit.

Speaker And if I can’t have a rabbit. Well, you know, we get letters like that, and that’s the child side of her, you know.

Speaker And that’s very much inside.

Speaker Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

Speaker And what do you think? In a kind of a theory or way, you talk about the gift that when you play, you’re giving to an audience. But having devoted your your life to music, both playing and teaching. What do you think the music is doing that it needs to keep doing emotionally, spiritually, physically, people playing it, hearing it?

Speaker This is the most difficult question. I can’t answer it. I really can’t. What I’m doing for you. Huh? I don’t think there are words for what it does for me. I hear something beautiful. And I just want to keep listening and keep just keep listening. I don’t want it to stop. No one has very strong emotional reaction to it, can get very, very, very sad or you can get extremely high. Happy. But those words can’t possibly describe what it’s like.

Speaker Do you feel that it’s a very different experience to hear it than to play it?

Speaker Yes, very different. Very different hearing it than playing it because you’re on this process of producing the sound is just not involved. When you’re listening.

Speaker In good way, I mean, in the. You just get to relax and enjoy it. I mean, do you think that you think that when you really hit a hit a high mark as a performer in the some of the work stops that you’re just I mean, if they say athletes, you’re in the zone.

Speaker Yes. If you get in the zone, you don’t feel that you’re making an effort to feel that you’re right there and it’s just everything flows. Yeah, that’s true.

Speaker And do you think that’s place to be able to get high?

Speaker It’s a wonderful place to be able to get. Yes.

Speaker Hard to.

Speaker Well, yeah, we we don’t always make it.

Speaker It’s it’s very important. You know, we think about maybe sometimes people going out.

Speaker I mean, maybe it isn’t some of the students that you’ve been fortunate to to be to know, to teach, to listen to it talk is not going out to to a to a half full house.

Speaker But the audience for music is changing. Do you have its heart? Do you feel there’s a there’s still a struggle to keep the world interested? Is the audience of classical music changing again?

Speaker I don’t think I’m equipped to answer this question, but I can tell you about one of my students who’s been he’s been truly amazing. And his name is Brian Lewis. And it came from Kansas at the Juilliard School. And after a couple of years of adjusting to New York life, he started in. He loves to play for people and he plays for everybody. Rubinstein used to do that. You know, he would play everywhere, including his children, a parent teacher association. Brian just loves to play for people. This is the thing I didn’t have and didn’t understand. But Brian understands. And the time he’s graduated from high school, he had built up a series of concerts for himself. He had about 40, 40 concerts each year that he had arranged. I had done all the business, had done all the arrangements for the concerts. And he would go out to a community and he knew how to help that community. And he would play the concert and he would talk to the audience, both pieces, and he would do master classes and he would listen to little little children play. If there was a local orchestra, he’d play with the orchestra. But he became a temporary part of that community for a while. And the community’s just love him. And he now has probably, I don’t know, maybe an 80 to 100 concert season.

Speaker Every year.

Speaker His mother. See, he had a background. His mother has been the president of the Suzuki Association on occasion. She she’s been president and I think she’s been also secretary and so forth. And she understands how these organizations sit in a community, how they affect the community, where they belong or what they do for the community. And so Brian grew up in that and he knows what to do. And I think we need a lot of people like Brian.

Speaker Do you feel that you need a lot of people who were willing to give this sort of thing on a grassroots level, reach out all the way? I mean, in a sense, you’re saying some people are going to tour the world, but there’s still a lot of just regional or working with people are playing.

Speaker I mean, there’s there’s very different kinds of careers.

Speaker There are many different kinds of careers you can have inside of what we call concert performance. If you look at the teaching profession, you see that there are people who teach beginners to people. We teach intermediate in Syria, teachers who teach more advanced repertoire. And then there are artists, teachers who can even break it down farther, if you like. The same thing is true. If you if you play in public, you are a concert artist. So you go to play for one of the local clubs in town. That’s concert. And that’s important to those people. All right. Let’s say you you go to play in a school for children so that they can hear what the music sounds like. That’s very important. It’s not playing Shostakovich. It’s a New York film. It’s but it’s very important. It’s a wonderful thing to do.

Speaker One topic I want to touch on also that we’ve talked about is if your views on sort of women’s lib, how how you really have to work or think about the role that women players have in the music world now and maybe some of the tools that they need to get in.

Speaker And what have you done to kind of work in that way, especially you talked about it with some of your foreign born.

Speaker I mean, what has that changed since your time? I don’t think women have.

Speaker I don’t think women have the problems today that they had that we had when we were young, when we were young. We could not get done. Women could not get an audition with the New York Phil. When we were young, concert managers saw a woman violinist on the street go to the other side of the street. When one manager told me that that there were many areas that just weren’t open to women. But that’s no longer true. The exception of Vienna. Vienna Philharmonic.

Speaker I don’t think.

Speaker The problems today. I think women have a very good chance at doing any of these things. What I find is that some of the Asian women need some encouragement toward being able to express their own ideas and some encouragement toward getting away from accepting instructions instead of using their own initiative. I think that’s probably what I was telling you.

Speaker And what what kind of things has Juilliard changed over the years to sort of address?

Speaker For specifically for Asian women, I don’t think.

Speaker No, not specifically, but I mean, it seems like the list of classes that I could go through that anyone could take if they wanted to. I would never believe it. Oh, that’s true. All sorts of thoughts. Joe Polizei or things have changed over there have been I bet you see the school very differently.

Speaker I think a lot of things are available and and they’re very good. Students have access to them. I think he’s he’s teaching one class called the business of music very valuable class and could save the students a lot of time of trying to experiment with what will work professionally. Very good class. There are many classes like that. And there’s a seminar in which we bring in from the profession people who are expert in one area or another. We brought in a David Foster came in to talk to us. He’s president of ICM. Someone from the management is in New York. Field has been over there. A member of the New York Philharmonic who used to be a student at Juilliard came over to describe what it’s like to be a member of the Philharmonic. Ruth Waterman came to discuss what it’s like to be playing in Baroque music as a specialist.

Speaker How do you and how do you.

Speaker I mean, I suppose almost all the kids or you tell me the kids that end up in your studio, your kids, you believe how solo potential.

Speaker Oh, but do you have to have conversations where, you know, not everyone’s going to have that. Have kids are going to go. Yes. Everybody isn’t going to be madore.

Speaker Well, as I said before, anybody who plays in public is a concert artist. But that doesn’t mean that there will be enough concerts for that person to to live on it, to buy a house, to buy food, to take care of the family. So I’m telling all of my students at this point that since we don’t know what the future holds. We have to think about some extra way of subsidizing what we’re doing, and some people go to orchestras and they play a few concerts, you know, they’re free. The difficulty with that, of course, is that the schedules are rigid and you can’t change them. A lot of people are going to universities and those schedules are much more flexible. And you can if you’re teaching in the university and you want to play a country, you can go out and play a concert and come back and you can do quite a lot of performance that way.

Speaker What are your what are your hopes for someone like Rachel?

Speaker The big question, you just that she’ll play that she’ll be happy playing.

Speaker Yes, that’s it. I hope that whatever she does, she’ll be happy with it. And if she decides she wants to go into law, that’s fine.

Speaker Do you think she through a little bit. Have you heard rumblings of the legal profession? No, she’s not a person who argues. But now some of my kids who make wonderful lawyers, I’ve had students who have signed with management, gone out and played concerts, decide when they graduate from high school that they want to do something else.

Speaker I had one who went to Yale recently who wanted to go into. Medicine, and this is her third year or fourth year. Yes. Away from the July pre college number one last year decided she wanted to do economics. And she also went to Yale. She comes down to see me for lessons. But for the college work is very important in her mind. And so she doesn’t have put push behind.

Speaker You say it’s as pointed with so many stars emerge, though. I mean, do you even think about it sort of advising your expertise when somebody should begin to really play or how many concert dates play or when the public will begin to see somebody who’s quite young?

Speaker I mean, do you think that the talent almost has to be thought about also because the PR world has taken over and you have to take all these thoughts into the game plan there?

Speaker Well, I think the situation it isn’t that I can advise or I can plan.

Speaker It’s kind of like a surfer riding a wave. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but you sort of hope you can stay on the board for a while. You know, what happens is that there’s a kind of tidal wave starts. A wave of opinion about the young person, and as it grows, I hope you can keep a cap on it so that it doesn’t get out of hand. But that’s not something that you plan and decide to do. That’s something that happens as a result of people hearing this person play and deciding they really like it very much.

Speaker But do you feel protective of your sugar?

Speaker Oh, yes. I try to keep try to keep their their learning time as long and as relaxed as possible.

Speaker I think I wore you out. Not a bit.

Speaker Is there anything that you think is important about your time at Juilliard that your your life. Actually, I agree that I we haven’t talked about. I don’t think so, although one thing I would say, just because I you know, I make the presumption that, of course, everybody will know who your students are might be it might be interesting just to tell me or tell the audience I have wonderful pictures. Who some of your wonderful students have been. Those we know. Those we may not be the most. I mean.

Speaker Oh, I would be so hard. I bet. I’m sure I would forget important ones. Well, we’ve talked about it, Soc.. And of course, it’s chilly. Then there’s the ones we the people we’ve talked about media worry and guilt. And Sarah and Rachel and of wonderful little boy Shamsky Sato, who’s coming up now, and Joe Kennedy in England. And it’s a fascinating artist. And DePrince Faden, who some he’s one of the one of my students has gone to conducting. He was concertmaster of the country, KeBAL. Oh, so many concert masters. Philadelphia. Chicago.

Speaker How many students do you think you’ve had over the years? I have no idea. Thousand, probably.

Speaker Probably. Yeah.

Speaker And then many string quartet players, if they they’re there. Different breed and they’re wonderful artists. The first violinist to the Juilliard Quartet, former first violinist of the Tokyo. We could go on and on the American Quartet first and second violins.

Speaker And a lot of the people you have working with. That’s true. Well, quite a number of your teaching. Read your studio. Develop people you’ve worked with.

Speaker You’re. Yes, there is. You tell me a little bit just because we’ve seen who is the other person that Rachel has lessons with.

Speaker He’ll come. He is the the organizer and music. Music supervisor and coach of the Sejong players. He was a wonderful, wonderful a chamber group there, I think. Twelve, thirteen people and there is mysel comes from Japan who is a great chamber music player and there is no Coach Tanaka and one being him and Pyotr Milevsky from Poland and Kurt Cesspits House from Germany. They’re both in Cincinnati and Cathy Cho. And then I have to develop my institute, which is which I’m very excited about. I was able to to get a grant from this wonderful foundation to bring in first class players who are to have the teaching personality because not everyone has it to come in and give their time to the students in the pre college so that those students get extra coaching time. Oh, the first two we had were Robert Chen, who who’s now the new concertmaster in Chicago, and Kathy Cho, who’s with Columbia concerts and travels and plays a lot of concerts and teaches at the Juilliard Bricolage. And we now and then coach Nick Cannon, who recently played here with Ashkenazy at Avery Fisher Hall, was with us for a while, but he’s playing so much that he couldn’t keep it up. And who else? Now, today we have. We now have. Axel Strauss and Stephan Melankovich. Both of them beautiful players, Axel Strauss just won the last number. And we had the Yang Chai, who sat, uh, with the concert manager now playing concerts.

Speaker And are you finding that their that their their love of their talented teachers is quite fascinating to watch?

Speaker I love to watch when you watch that develop. Then at the same time, I have a group of of five young people who are doing extra practice supervision for the students. They listen to their technical work. They also know their scales. They sometimes listen to repertoire.

Speaker And so you’re your legacy of teaching is.

Speaker You hope so. OK. Well, I think we’ve been just about working out that, Axl, just with the work he wanted to. He won the last one, which was win two, three years back. Are they not? How often do they have that?

Speaker I think I think violence every four years. Oh, my gosh.

Speaker He’s lovely, isn’t he? I had a little lunch with him. Did you know if he was telling me about the work he was doing? He was very in the institute here. Yes, very. But I liked him a lot. Mm hmm. It must have isn’t a big jump start to win in Alberta. Was he just booked up?

Speaker No. He got a lot of concerts from it. But it’s not a jumpstart because it doesn’t get to a management.

Speaker The managements are going very slowly these days.

Speaker It’s hard to get something because you might I can only imagine how well you can play how it plays. Beautifully, beautifully. And he’s a very, very personable faryal that he was someone who would be able to maneuver himself professionally because he was so articulate.

Speaker Is this still recording? Yeah. All right. Please delete.

Speaker When I said that he couldn’t get a management layout because he’s so incredibly I just I found it very charming, very attractive and so very just I thought it was just the joy. I actually really like him.

Speaker Yes. He’s a he’s a wonderful person. He’s getting married in in August. And he’s going to live here for a while. If you marry another musician marrying a singer from Juilliard. No, she’s from home.

Speaker The Germans say she will come to Juilliard next year.

Dorothy DeLay
Found in: Juilliard
Interview Date:
2000-04-13
Runtime:
1:29:07
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
819936813
MLA CITATIONS:
"Dorothy DeLay , Juilliard" American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). April 13, 2000 , https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interview/dorothy-delay/
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