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Emails to my Therapist

Gavriel Lipkind, Carrie Knowles, and the B.C.O.

I don’t know how to say this properly, because I know so little about classical music. I’m a fan of hip-hop and old rock and roll. I play the serious stuff mainly as background while I’m reading, and go to classical concerts mainly to get dressed up and go out on the town with friends and sit under nice chandeliers and listen to pretty music that I don’t usually recognize.

But last night I went to a concert that was extraordinary. Even for a clunk like me.

Israeli cellist Gavriel Lipkind played with the Brussels Chamber Orchestra (of Belgium) in Raleigh in the official opening night of the Cross Currents Chamber Music Arts Festival, an international chamber music festival created and put on single-handedly by my friend and office partner Carrie Knowles whose son Neil Leiter plays viola in the Brussels group.

For most of the last year, Carrie has sat in the office next to mine and raised money and gotten visas and such and made this ten-day festival happen. What she has done is an amazing demonstration of what one person can accomplish (in spite of my telling her repeatedly and unhelpfully that she was mad to attempt such a thing. Just watching the process from next door was like having an office next to a heliport)

Well, the Brussels Chamber Orchestra, a conductor-free group of a dozen or so young musicians from half a dozen countries, played beautifully and were intriguing to watch. Then they brought out their soloist, Lipkind, whom I’d had no special interest in because I was mainly listening for Neil whom I’ve known since he was a wee fellow. The Belgium-based musicians had met the Israeli cellist in Norway.

Lipkind and the BCO together were an astonishing treat. And at intermission, I caught sight of Mamie, a regular here, who called out: I’m looking forward to reading about how bold he is.

I hadn’t even thought about writing of the experience. Sitting on the second row, I was too overwhelmed. Lipkind, in a black “bat” shirt and long gold curls, is the most physically expressive, playful, and joyous musician I’ve ever seen. It’s not reaching for a metaphor to say that he was making love to the music.

I can’t tell you a thing about his or anyone’s pizzicati (and I’m not sure if that’s a word or if it’s a word meaning little pasta), but it was thrilling music to watch and to listen to. And the interaction between him and the other musicians was like watching a celestial drama.

Seriously bold. Nobody holding back.

And this group of musicians and Carrie did their job well, at least in my case, since it’s part of their mission to bring chamber music to new audiences.

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Categories: boldness, creative self-expression

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