With strings detached

My broken E string

My broken E string

Hello from South Bend Indiana! I’m here as part of the Spectrum Dance Company’s four-city national tour. Rajan Krishnaswami (cello), Judith Cohen (piano) and myself (violin) are presenting the work of Irwin Schulhoff at Notre Dame’s magnificent DeBartello Performing Arts Center. The director of Spectrum, Donald Byrd, has brilliantly choreographed a deeply moving work titled The Theater of Needless Talents. It is based on the horrors of the Holocaust. Schulhoff himself perished in a concentration camp, and his work would have likely gained a much wider audience had it not been his untimely death. It’s very difficult to perform a work of such tragedy night after night, and I find myself emotionally drained after each performance.

After much anticipation, Judith, Rajan, his cello (it gets it’s own seat on the plane) and I arrived in South Bend on Tuesday night. We were nervous for our first rehearsal with the dancers and Donald, but it went well. Donald worked with Rajan and I on the pacing in Schulhoff’s Duo for Violin and Cello so that we could create a better sense of direction and forward motion for the dancers. Though beautiful, the hall’s acoustic is quite dry as is was designed for theater and dance, not chamber music. We have had to compensate by bringing up some of our dynamics and playing without our mutes in the slow movement.

Our first performance went very well, except for one major caveat: In the last movement of the Duo, with one page to go, my string went POP and I had no E-string! What do I do? Do I stop the show and the dancers, or do I continue on without my string? I the heat of the moment, I decided to continue on without it and replace the missing high notes with extra energy. It worked, and I think many audience members didn’t even notice!

We have two performances to go at Notre Dame. The Company will present another show in Richmond, VA while I make a personal stop in New York City for a few days. Then it’s off to Ogden, Utah. I’ll keep you posted soon with more photographs updates from the trip.


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