Was trolling YouTube for cool classical performances (no, that’s NOT an oxymoron!), and found a hidden jewel: a 2004 Philadelphia Orchestra performance of Strauss’ Don Quixote with Yo-Yo Ma as the famous man from La Mancha, and my former teacher Roberto Diaz as his faithful sidekick, Sancho Panza. Not surprisingly, they both kick major ass. This is the excerpt that has the most major of the several viola solos in the piece, wherein there is a dialogue between the Knight and his Squire.
With my performance on Sunday finished, there was one more hurdle in store for me during my trip to Philadelphia. I had scheduled a lesson with my former teacher from Peabody Conservatory, Roberto Díaz. He had been the principal violist of the National Symphony when I’d studied with him in Baltimore, and he went on to occupy the same chair in the Philadephia Orchestra shortly after I left Baltimore to join the Oregon Symphony. He’s now the president of the Curtis Institute of Music, and in addition to his administrative duties, he also teaches and performs there as well. Continue reading “learning lessons”