rnest’s story is so interesting we will tell it in full, just as he wrote it down years ago.
“I have been playing violin since I was 10. My mother wanted me to learn piano, but there was no space in our tiny one-room apartment in Russia for a piano or money to buy one. I practiced while standing on the bed most of the time (away from the traffic of the grandparents). I managed to attach the music sheets to the wall! Sometimes my music teacher would visit us to wish me well and to find out why am I so sick that I can’t attend classes. It was because I’d hide the violin behind the stairs and go play soccer with my street-friends. The musical education was important in the family. My maternal Grandfather was a prominent Jewish singer with a magnificent base voice, but with no conservatory education. My maternal Grandmother was also a singer and a ballerina in the Jewish theater, with no formal education. My mother was a Russian-Jewish Shirley Temple: she was acting, singing, dancing, and bringing theater to tears at the age of 5. Of course, she was not allowed to continue as an actress, so she became a teacher. That’s why my continued musical education was so important to them all, and that’s why I couldn’t drop the classes. I graduated simultaneously from a High School and from a Music school. At this time I had to decide whether to become a musician (in line with the maternal side) and enroll in the music college or to become an engineer (like my father was) and enroll into an engineering college. Fortunately, i was allowed to make my own choice, so I became an engineer. In this way I was sure I could irritate a smaller number of people at the same time. Nevertheless I continued to play first violin in the Philharmonic under conductor J. Presich and also in the Chamber Orchestra. Unfortunately, but quite naturally, I was degrading and moving from chair to chair further and further form the concertmaster. Finally, in 1959, I quit it altogether.
Many years later, in the USA , once I shocked my little son when I played the “Happy Birthday to you” tune on the out-of-comission Russian violin. Much later, just a few years ago, I retired, moved from Washington D.C. to Florida, and made a titanic effort to recover the dead skill. Although I had my old violin from Russia, I began to use my wife’s violin, a beautiful copy of the 1728 Antonio Stradivarius. Its comfortable shape and high quality tone inspired me to practice longer and play better... up to now.