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Julie, a former student of mine called me not long ago to tell me that she had just landed an orchestra position. Joyfully, she reminded me of her first lesson with me, and her very first question. "Professor Arad, you ARE going to help me get a job, aren't you?" To which I replied. "No, I'm going to try to help you become a musician and an artist. I have no promises to make beyond that." My answer had not been very reassuring to Julie. In fact, she hated it. But during our years at Indiana University she had become more and more immersed in consideration of style, sound, form, instrumental and performance techniques, and less and less concerned about getting a job. She now plays with the Utah Symphony.

What I had carefully omitted to tell Julie in her first lesson I did tell another student, Milan (in a moment of weakness, mind you). "Every successful student represents a weight off my shoulders and is a cause for great celebration." Milan, in his turn, reminisced about that conversation when he called to inform me of his successful audition for the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. (Milan Milisavljevic is now assistant principle violist at the Met).

In thinking of former students - some of them have become well known performers, among them winners of national and international competitions such as Fischoff, Concert Artist Guild, Wigmore Hall, coleman, Melbourne, and En Arbor (Abigail Rojanski with the Verona Quartet was a winner in all of these). Or Lionel Tertis. (Roland Glassl and Yuval Gotlibovitch were First Prize winners here). A number of them have become teachers themselves. A former student is teaching in Brussels Conservatory, another teaches in Manchester, yet another in the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt. And quite recently, Melia Watras was appointed as a tenured professor at Washington University. A great number of them are playing in orchestras all over the globe, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to the London BBC and the English Chamber Orchestra, from RIAS Berlin to the Sao Paulo and the Taiwan Symphonies, from Hilversum to Ottawa and Calgary (Jethro Marks is principal violist in Ottawa and Laurent Grillet is principal in Calgary), from Nashville to Atlanta and St. Louis.

With a special pride (and some concern) I think of former students who are members of wonderful (and sometimes struggling…) chamber music ensembles, the Corigliano Quartet, the St. Petersburg Quartet, the Manderling Quartet, the Verona and others. I think of all former students who are leading rich musical lives. I think of them and should feel a sense of relief. Yet, these are former students and now are the current ones, the younger, to whom I cannot promise anything, and the burden is still heavy on my shoulders.


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