I spent a delightful afternoon at a concert held in the Trinity Episcopal Church in Lenox, Massachusetts by Elizabeth Faidley's 2012 Conservatory Camp Violin Choir. Ms. Faidley is an excellent violin teacher whom I got to know through my good friend, the brilliant violinist, Yevgeny Kutik.
Having made a gift to Yevgeny's fund to help produce his CD, Sounds of Defiance, I found that I was eligible to take a violin lesson with the Maestro. Since my only acquaintance with the violin had been a few lessons I took from a friend when I was Searle Wright's Assistant Organist and Choirmaster at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University in the 1950's, (and those, under duress!), I could see no valid purpose in taking advantage of this offer, as splendid as it was.
Having been told about a talented young violinist in New Jersey by a friend of mine, I asked if he would be interested in using my lesson to work with Yevgeny. He was delighted to do so and his parents brought him to Rood Hill Farm last summer to play for him.
Benedikt Winzer is now ten years old. When he came here last summer, he played for Yevgeny with me at the piano, and was given an extraordinary lesson by the Master. Among other ideas Yevgeny presented was the thought that Benedikt should find a different teacher. Yevgeny recommended Ms. Faidley and the rest was history.
Pictured above are Yevgeny Kutik, Elizabeth Faidley, Benedikt Winzer, and myself at the Lenox concert.
This afternoon Benedikt played the first movement of the Bach Concerto for Two Violins with Yevgeny brilliantly. His growth over the past year amazes me. Ms. Faidley certainly knows what she is doing with young violinists.
Her Violin Choir had studied for several weeks at her Violin Camp in North Adams this summer. These eleven young performers, the oldest being sixteen, performed a program that included works by Vivaldi, Telemann, and Kreisler with wonderful tone, tuning, and musicianship. I was hoping to hear some violin solos from the youngsters, and was a little disappointed that much of the rest of the program was a series of transcriptions from various operas, played (very well indeed), by the group. Another time I would like to hear some of these fine young musicians perform Sonatas or movements from Concerti rather than the ilk of O Danny Boy and O sole mio arranged for group performance.
All of these young people are to be commended for the hard work they have put into the preparation of this program. They are all en route to a career in classical music.
Yevgeny Kutik has been under the aegis of the Ferris Burtis Foundation for the past nine years and is performing internationally. It was this connection that eventually put him in touch with Benedikt and Benedikt under the tutelage of Ms. Faidley.
Job well done!