Working at the Colburn School this week, I was asked if I’d like to hear some up-and-coming artists. You best, I said. Then came the bonus: they would play for us in the Jascha Heifetz studio.
When Heifetz died in 1987, his house was sold to the actor, James Woods, who announced his intention of demolishing the studio building created for the great violinist in 1948 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr.
Richard Colburn stepped in and bought the building, dismantling it brick by brick and keeping it in storage for 15 years until the elite school he was creating had space to accommodate it. Restored exactly as Heifetz left it, it serves today as a teaching studio for Robert Lipsett (pictured), who auditioned for Heifetz as a nervous student back in 1974.
I got to hear Bob’s star find, a 17 year-old US-Chinese girl so perfect and poised that I won’t utter her name because she is going to make it to the big time very soon without need of endorsement from this source. She’s playing her first concertos later this season.
I also heard the Calidore Quartet playing two movements of Hindemith before hitting the road with a WW1 programme.
Top-class playing, and to hear it in the private room of the greatest violinist of all is a privilege I won’t forget in a hurry.