Your CV shows great interest towards contemporary authors: is there a reason for this choice, certainly courageous?
I think that not performing new music is not an option for anyone today. Unless perhaps one specializes in Baroque music. Music is part of life, and as such, life goes on! I love interacting with living composers, understanding through them the process of composition helps us, the performers, understand the process of composers of past generations.
However, it is clear your preparation on the whole span of musical writing: who are your favorite authors? And the ones you play the most?
If I had to choose one, it will probably be Bach, whose music remains fresh. I love Beethoven and Brahms and Schubert and Schumann, Ravel, Debussy, and also the wonderful Italian composers, Palestrina, Vivaldi, Boccherini and so many more.
Let’s talk about your experience, so far, in the recording studio: with which record companies did you work and which authors did you record?
I released records for Vox, Nonesuch, Avie records and Opus one records. Each producer is different. Some are more involved and some are less involved in the recording process. I always edit together with the producer, as this is a very important step in the process. In recent years I mainly worked with Da-Hong Seetoo, who is an excellent violinist himself and has extremely good ears.
A very particular choice: you recorded Bach’s Suites in different places around the world. Is there a relationship between Bach’s absolute intimacy and the space that surrounds us, not only as an architectural design but also including the civilization that lives in a certain place? Are there aspects and elements in common?
While we are all human in very similar ways, every audience brings with it a different background, expectations, level of education and understanding that will affect the way they hear music. When I play for children or for audiences that are not used to hear classical music, I choose one of the earlier, more accessible suites and I play shorter programs. I have also lately started to include a screening of a documentary movie that was made about me and my process of recording the Bach cello suites. I find that audiences from all walks of life, appreciate that human aspect, connection to the performer through other media than the performance itself.
About YouTube and didactics, also via the web: what are your interests in this area and what are your goals?
The web is a wonderful way to reach students who might otherwise not have access to the high level of studies, and students, like myself (as we are all students) who are just thirsty for knowledge. While these videos cannot replace a one-on-one interaction with a teacher, I know that teachers themselves, use my videos as a tool to help their students. My goal is to reach as many students as possible, and by “students” I mean, not only young cellists but also older, amateur, professionals, violinists, violists, etc. and I am proud to say that I receive messages daily from students all over the world thanking me and asking questions. It makes me happy to know that we have such a wonderful community eager to share ideas.
You have chosen to live in New York: does America offer you new opportunities, for example reaching a more complex maturity, or professional possibilities?
Yes, absolutely. The United States has been an amazing home for many years since I came here alone at the age of 16, barely speaking English and with a lot of ambition and no money. This is a big country with many opportunities, and here you are really free to be who you want to be. The level of playing here is of course, extremely high, and so many talented people are around. It is inspiring, and difficult at the same time.
Do you know Italy? Do you have any program in our country in the future?
Years ago, I spent a whole magical summer studying at the Academia Chigiana in Siena. This left a very big impression on me. The great cellist Mischa Maisky was teaching and performing there that summer. Last summer, my husband and I visited Milan and Lake Como and took a day trip to Cremona. In Italy one feels the music in the air, it’s a very special country and I would love to come back soon to perform there.
Can you tell us something about your cello, about the instrument who is your “musical companion”?
Talk about Cremona… my cello was made by Francesco Rugieri in 1673 just outside of the walls of the city. It has been my musical partner for the past 9 years and I am very lucky to have him. I also own a wonderful Carl Becker cello, which I love.
You have three children, I don’t know their age, but are they being introduced to music? Maybe to the cello?
Yes, I have three teenage in the house. they are 12 and 14 years old (the youngest are tweens). They all played instruments, one stuck with it, and she recently sang the title role in Menotti’s “Amahl and The Night Visitors” both in New York and in Cypress.
Thank you for featuring me and for your thoughtful questions, I enjoyed visiting your website and I hope that we will meet in person sometime soon.
Thank you very much for your availability for our website. Best wishes for your career as a concert performer, for your teaching activity and for your CD recordings and, of course, for your life, in all its other aspects.