Thursday, July 29, 2010

Here's Marjorie! (Ch.8 Pt.1)

I was lying on my powder blue canopy bed reading Seventeenwhich I pilfered from the Memorial Middle School library, while watching a rerun of "Love Story" with the volume turned down. At thirteen, I was torn between wanting to look younger for concerts, like the child prodigy violinist Lilit Gampel, and wishing to be cool, like actress Ali MacGraw.   
Strains of my parents arguing wafted upstairs, swirling, like the spiral staircase.
"There's only one Heifetz," my mother shrieked. "It'd be the opportunity of a lifetime."
"I dunno what you're talking about Frances. You mean, Marjorie plays the Oklahoma concert as part of her Mid-West tour, then flies off to California? What for?"
"For exposure, John. So she can be in the presence of one of the greatest living artists of all times. Lilit Gampel played for Jascha Heifetz. It was written up in The New York Times Magazine. Why shouldn't Marjorie? And besides, one day she may want to study with him."
My father raged. I could hear his heavy footsteps pacing back and forth. "Jeezus, can't we just be a normal family for a change?"

J. Frederick Müller had booked me for concerts all throughout the Mid-West. My 1973 tour would culminate in Enid, Oklahoma at the Tri-State Music Festival. With Mr. Müller as conductor, we were to perform the Saint-Saëns "Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso" together with an orchestra comprised of three state high-schoolsIt would be a high profile event, according to Mr. Müller, with artists, music teachers and educators present from around the nation. The "Here's Marjorie" brochure that Mr. Müller designed had been circulated to every school and musical institution as part of American String Teachers Association. I received numerous requests to perform as soloist. And every Saturday, at Juilliard Pre-College, my mother wondered if I might be in better hands under the tutelage of Dorothy DeLay. Parents in the waiting room at Juilliard whispered that Miss DeLay had more clout than the other violin teachers. Her students were gaining recognition and winning international competitions. Isaac Stern had sent Miss Delay wunderkinder from Israel, the Far East, and the Soviet Union. And the students adored her for the tolerance she showed for Juilliard dress code. The secret was out: Dorothy DeLay allowed her students to wear bell-bottomed jeans.

"I'm not crazy about Miss Thomas," my mother admitted, finally.
My father wiped his brow with a sleeve. With the exception of Sarah Scriven, one teacher was as good as the next.
"She plays favorites."
"What are you talking about, Furrances?"
"John. If you don't believe me, let Marjorie tell you, herself."
Marjorie Jill! My mother shouted upstairs. I flung the magazine on the floor, turned off the television, and snapped to attention.
"Uh, what?" I had been deep in thought. My hair had grown out, and I could finally pull it back like Ali MacGraw.
"Tell your father about your teacher, and how she favors Stephanie."
My father stood beside my mother peering up at me. From my vantage point, on top of the spiral staircase, they both looked crazed. The top of my father's head had turned gray. My mother wore a frosted wig.
OK, I thought. Here's an opportunity. I never felt at ease with Miss Thomas. She made me cry at lessons.
"Yeah, well, she said I wasn't ready to perform Rondo Capriccioso in publicand that I'm concertizing too much."
"See, John," my mother said, victorious. "That teacher doesn't want anyone in Stephanie's midst."

My father, determined at last to pacify my mother, phoned Mrs. Reynolds, secretary to Jascha Heifetz, at the University of Southern California.
"It's settled," he told my mother, days later. "Jascha Heifetz is willing to hear Margie. She'll need to prepare scales and harpos."
"You mean arpeggios," said my mother.
"And she'll need to write an essay to Mr. Heifetz."
"An essay? What for?"
"She's supposed to put in her own words why she'd like to meet him, I guess. Frances, I'm just the messenger."
"I'll help her with the essay to make sure that it's polished. In fact, I'll write it for her to save time."
"In her own words, Frances—"
 "They'll be hers. Don't worry, John. To think that our daughter is going to play for Jascha Heifetz! Imagine? I wonder what we should  prepare—"
My mother darted me a glance at the top of the staircase where I stood leaning against my bedroom door.  "Well, let's see. You'll have "Rondo Capriccioso" at performance level. Maybe you could brush up on Achron's "Hebrew Melody" or Bloch's "Nigun". After all, Heifetz is an elderly, Yiddishe man."
I shifted from one foot to the other. I had heard Heifetz was a control freak, a man of few words, and an irascible artist.
"He'll adore you," my mother said, blowing me a kiss. "Pretend he's your grandfather."

♪ ♩ ♪

"Whatever you do," said my mother en route to Juilliard by Greyhound. "Don't tell Miss Thomas about the Heifetz audition. It's not for her to know."
We rested our heads on each other's shoulders in the bus, and fell asleep twisted like pretzels, but with a secret pact.
At my 8 AM lesson, I unzipped my music bag and placed Fiorillo Etudes on the music stand. Miss Thomas sat on the window ledge over-looking Lincoln Center. She crossed her legs, smoothed her skirt, and nodded for me to begin.
I held a note too long, out of rhythm. I felt exhaustion from the nocturnal, five hour bus ride. 
"Marjorie," Miss Thomas said. "Observe tempo and meter."
She lunged to the piano for pencils. I squinted at the music and tried again. My fingers felt like sausages.
"Intonation. Here's a red pencil. Next time, you'll have to mark in blue."
I started over after circling the errors, but botched another segment.
"Marjorie. Have you practiced this etude?"
And I thought, who does this woman think she is, Heifetz? I rolled my eyes.
Miss Thomas heaved a frustrated sigh.
"Mar-jor-ie. I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply."
The edge in her voice unnerved me.
"Perhaps Juilliard's not the school for you after all," said Miss Thomas. "It's a privilege to study here. We don't retain students who display negative attitudes by making faces at the teachers."
I lifted the violin to my chin, and began a concerto. I closed my eyes tight to hold back the tears, but it was of no use. The tears had dripped onto the violin. Miss Thomas reached for the box of Kleenex on top of the piano.  
Another lesson would be over, but not soon enough.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Bus Ride (Ch.7)

Saturdays were busy, busy, busy at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division. Private one-hour lessons with Sally Thomas were followed by concert orchestra with Isaiah Jackson, chamber music, solfege, recitals, string ensemble with Wesley Sontag, and music theory with the cantankerous, chain-smoking Frances Goldstein.  
At  five o'clock sharp, I met my mother in the lobby for the long commute back to Boston. She waited by the elevators, eager to hear a report about my classes.

"Tell me about your day," she said, as we left Lincoln Center to walk down to Port Authority.
"It was fine."
"Fine? That's all you have to tell me?"
I didn't want my mother to know that I flunked Goldstein's music theory exam; Sally Thomas had again made me reach out for Kleenex; and my sight-reading skills in orchestra were so deficient that I was placed in the back of the second violins.
"Hungry?" She asked, as we passed a Sabrett Hot Dog stand in Times Square. The aroma of fresh pretzels wafted into my nostrils. "Fresh salted pretzels, plump, juicy hot-dogs," yelled the vendor. A hot dog dropped onto the pavement. He stooped to pick it up with his fat fingers, and tossed the flying wiener back into the cart.
"Ugh. Gross me out," I said.  
"New Yorkers," said my mother.

At Port Authority, my mother pointed to a sign at the Terminal Deli. Whole Broasted Chicken for $2.99
"Now that's a deal," she said. "Let's get that for our supper on the bus. It'll be like a picnic."
After buying chicken and beverages at the Terminal Deli we stopped at a magazine stall. 
"Nothing beats The New York Times," she said, reaching into her coin purse. "How about you, my dolly? What would you like to read on the bus?"
The front page of The National Enquirer featured: Baby born with two heads and a tail.
"Mummy, can I have that?"
"I suppose, but what an odd headline. You think it's true?"

We rushed to Gate 14 with bags, violin case, and broasted chicken. My mother gave the bus driver the tickets. She plopped our belongings onto two seats behind the driver.  
The aroma of  chicken had all ready begun to permeate the bus. A woman across the aisle plugged her nose, and the man seated behind us pulled his coat over his face.
My mother sat down and slowly released the chicken from the paper bag. The aroma intensified. "Here, precious." She split the bird with her fingers. "Your half."
Noisily, greedily, like a woman half-starved in the wild, she ripped the drumstick from the thigh, gnawed voraciously, cracked into the bone, and sucked the marrow.
"This chicken is out-of-this world," she said, waving the remains of drumstick. "I was so busy comparing notes with the other Juilliard mothers that I forgot to eat anything all day. You better dig in, before there's nothing left."
I bit into a tender, succulent thigh and then moved on to a wing. By the time we hit Yonkers Stadium, there was nothing left but a pile of bones.
"Now, what to do with this mess?"  
"Dunno." I wiped my hands on a Towelette and unfolded The National Enquirer.
"Feh," she said. "Let's get rid of it. I'll put it by the toilet. Good idea?"

I popped open a can of Diet 7 Up and read the tabloid with complete absorption. How could a baby with two heads and a tail survive? What about the real-life mermaid?  I flipped to the next  page. 
Twelve year old violinist hailed as Paganini Incarnate! 
It can't be, I thought. I read with wide-eyed amazement about Dylana Jenson, a girl from Los Angeles who displayed such technical prowess that the renowned conductor of Seattle Symphony, Milton Katims, believed her to be the reincarnation of Niccolo Paganini.
Niccolo Paganini, the greatest violinist who ever lived! 
My mother returned to her seat after depositing the chicken bones by the toilet.
"Mummy, read this," I said. "This girl concertizes all over the world. She's appeared on the Tonight Show and soloed with New York Philharmonic under Maestro Andre Kostelanetz."
My mother skimmed the article.
"Well, how about that," she said. "There's so much competition out there. It's a good thing that we have Mr. Muller. He'll see to it that you get concerts, too. And you know, at age eleven, it's not a day too soon."

My mother, Frances Kransberg, loved bus rides. The motion and monotony soothed and comforted her. She'd fall asleep with a faint smile on her lips, awaken for brief spells, babble in hushed tones, and drift back to sleep with her head slumped forward. It was on Greyhound bus trips that my mother shared her innermost thoughts. During an awakening, she had words for my three older sisters, Judy, Susan and Karen, who were now busy with children of their own. 

"I sense that deep down your sisters are envious of you. But if they'd think back, they'd realize I wanted the same opportunities for them. I gave them all music lessons, plus ballet and drama classes, but they didn't take the studies seriously. All in all, I think they might have been spoiled. I wanted Judy, Sue, and Karen to have everything. But through trial and error, I realized that it's not how much you do, but what you do, and how well you do it, that counts. The more energy you pour into one thing, the more you get out of it. Farshteyst?"

To prod my mother on, I'd bate her with questions. I adored being the favored daughter.
"Mummy, what sort of pianist was Judy?"
My mother shook her head. "Your eldest sister Judy was musical, no question about it. That girl had talent. But whatever she played, I couldn't recognize the piece. Counting mystified her, and every composer came out sounding—well, like Judith Ellen. Funny, but true."
"How about in school? Was she a good student?"
My mother tilted her head back and closed her eyes. "A scholar my Judith Ellen was not—but everyone loved her. What a sense of humor she has—such a character. My parents, may they rest in peace, were crazy about her. When Judy was born, she looked just like my Bubbe Chashe. The resemblance was uncanny. Your grandmother took one look at Judy as an infant, broke down and cried. She was convinced that her mother had been reborn. Jewish people are crazy that way. We believe in such things as reincarnation."

"How about Susan?" I unwrapped a piece of Dentyne. A bus ride without gum was unthinkable.
My mother emitted a long, painful sigh. It was the sort of sigh that echoed throughout the entire bus.
"Susan was, what's the word? Combative. Maybe because she was the middle child. I don't know. She wasn't pliable, like you."
"What do you mean?"
"When Susie took violin lessons, she battled not only with me, but with her teachers. She's always had such a temper. I remember she'd get angry out of the blue. One time, when your sisters were rehearsing piano trios, she took her violin bow and thwacked it over poor Judy's head causing it to split into pieces."
"Judy's head?"
"No! The bow, silly."
"What did Daddy do?"
"Your father? You know what a short fuse he has. He threatened, 'I'm not buying another goddamn violin bow! That's the end of the music lessons.'"

"Tell me about Karen, Mummy."
Eleven years my senior, Karen was closest in age to me, and I felt the most tenderness for her.
My mother gazed longingly out the window at the rolling hills and meadows.
"Karen could have become a professional cellist, I think. Beautiful tone and vibrato came naturally to her. But I couldn't get that girl to practice or study for anything. Karen was obsessed with boys. Such a waste of talent and intellect. When God gives you a gift, you should use it."
"Oh yes, Mummy. You're right." I reached out for her warm hand. I took delight in knowing that I pleased my mother more than any of my sisters.
"Oh look, my wonderful daughter, we're just outside Boston. The ride went so quickly—"

The bus driver tapped the microphone and cleared his throat. His deep voice boomed over a loud hiss.
"Sss-Someone's left a pile o' chicken bones by the toilet in the WC. Would whoever left them bag o' bones in the bathroom, kindly refrain from doin' that next time? Please, folks. No more food scraps or bones in the bathroom. Thank you. And remember, go Greyhound."
in photo left to right: Karen, Susan and Judith Kransberg in 1950s

Thursday, July 15, 2010

J. Frederick Müller (Ch.6 Pt.2)

Scherl & Roth company owned and operated a large string instrument factory in Cleveland, Ohio. My mother was so determined to purchase a quality violin for me that she arranged for us to meet with a personal representative.

A big-bellied, moon-faced man opened the door.
"Welcome to Scherl & Roth. I'm J. Frederick Müller, president of the company."
"Nice to meet you," said my father, removing his hat. "We're the Kransbergs from Massachusetts. I'm John, this is my wife Frances, and youngest daughter, Marjorie, the budding concert violinist."
"So, you're a violinist, young lady," Mr. Müller said, bending to my eye level.
"Where, and with whom do you study?"
I stared at his horn-rimmed glasses perched upon a snub nose.
"Answer the gentleman," my mother urged.
"Oh?" Mr. Müller asked, evidently impressed. The name Juilliard had cachet.
"Yes," said my mother. "Our Marjorie studies with Ivan Galamian's first associate, Sally Thomas. In fact, she recently returned from Meadowmount, the prestigious summer school. Everyone agrees that her violin is inadequate at this stage of her development. We heard a young girl, Stephanie Chase, who plays on a magnificent instrument—it might even be a Strad, and she's signed with management all ready. This is what our Marjorie is up against in terms of competition. Can you show us your finest?"
"Bear in mind," said my father. "I'm only a furniture dealer, so we're concerned about cost—"
"I understand. I'm sure we can find just the right instrument for your daughter."
"She'll also need a good bow, and strong case," added my mother.
"Tools of the trade," laughed Mr. Müller as he led the way to his office.
"I'll go to the store room and be right back. Please folks, make yourselves at home."

My father whispered as he glanced around the office. The walls were lined with framed posters of Germany.
"Müller—a German name, Frances. You think, deep down, that he's a Nazi? I'd say he's probably in his mid-fifties."
"Oy John, you think?"
"Müller doesn't have to know we're Jewish. Don't say anything, Frances. Promise me. It'll just make everyone uncomfortable."

Mr. Müller returned to his office with a stack of violin cases.
"So. Where are you folks from?"
My parents gave each other knowing looks.
"We traveled all the way from a little town in north-shore Massachusetts," said my father. "It's just a bit north of Salem. You've heard of Salem, haven't you, Mr. Müller? The witch trials. Frances grew up in Salem—"
"We're of the Jewish faith," blurted my mother.
"That's nice," said Mr. Muller unfazed by my mother's random statement. "Many of the world's greatest violinists are Jewish." And he went on to name a few. "Mischa Elman, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, right? Maybe you'll be famous some day, young lady. The world awaits a great woman violinist. Here. Try this one. And I have some bows for you to play on as well. Nurnbergers—fine German made bows."
Mr. Müller sat down on his swivel chair, leaned back, and clasped his hands behind his head.

I lifted a mud brown violin to my chin, and decided to show this J. Frederick Müller that I wasn't just any kid playing the fiddle. From repertoire that I heard others perform at Meadowmount, including works by Mendelssohn and Wieniawski, I played excerpts with unbridled passion, stomping my foot for heightened effect. I, too, could be a rising star.

From the look on Mr. Müller's face, I thought he might tumble off his chair.
"Why that's remarkable," Mr. Müller exclaimed. "You are—how old?"
"Just eleven," boasted my mother.
"Oh, this selection will never do."
He swiveled around in his chair and grabbed the wretched, muddy violin from my hands.
"I'll go to the vault, young lady, and bring you back a magical violin."

Mr. Müller returned with renewed energy and a bounce in his step. "Here you go, Marjorie. What you played on a moment ago was a factory made Roth. But these violins were handmade by Ernst Heinrich Roth. He was the maker responsible for carrying on the tradition of fine German craftsmanship to America. The Grandpapa, so to speak. Anyway, Ernst Heinrich crafted each instrument to the exact dimensions of the Cremonese luthiers, Stradivarius and Guarnerius."

"Margie, play the same repertoire as a moment ago, so we can make a comparison," said my mother, her voice taut with anticipation.
"You must be a musician, Mrs. Kransberg. Are you?"  
"Only an amateur violinist, Mr. Müller. I enjoyed playing in Brookline Civic with Harry Ellis Dickson. Oh, the fun we had—"
"But Margie gets her musical talent from her old man," my father winked. Everyone laughed.
I played through a wide range of repertoire. My mother's eyes were closed. She listened intensely to every note.
"Ooh," she gasped. "What a magnificent sounding instrument. I prefer this one to all the rest. It has carrying power."

Of all musical instruments, the violin is praised for being the closest to the human voice. My mother used to warn me if I became angry, the violin would growl in response, and betray my anger. If I achieved inner serenity, the violin could soothe and soften the hearts of those who listened to its song. I tested as many violins as Mr. Müller encouraged me to try that day in 1970, and chose the one that responded to my demands with a rich, varied tone.  

"Your daughter is a marvelous talent," said Mr. Müller, after I laid the chosen Roth in its case. "She could be a soloist all ready."
"Really?" asked my mother. "How might our Marjorie secure concert engagements? She hasn't an agent or manager—"
"I tell you what, Mr. and Mrs. Kransberg. If you purchase a violin from Scherl & Roth, through my connections with Music Educator's National Conference and American String Teachers Association, I can assure you that this company will put your daughter on the map. Why, we'll get the word out nationwide that Marjorie plays on one of our instruments, and we'll have her booked for concerts in no time at all. I'll personally launch her career."
"Mr. Müller!" My mother drew in a breath as she uttered his name. "You're our angel." She turned to my father. "Remember John, when I spoke of seeking a benefactor for our Marjorie? Here he is—
J. Frederick Müller."
In photo: Me featured on cover of Orchestra News 1971

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Violin (Ch.6 Pt.1)

"Margie needs a better instrument before she starts Juilliard," my mother nudged my father weeks after returning from Meadowmount School of Music. "That young girl, Stephanie Chase, plays on a very fine violin which makes her sound like a professional."
I was relieved that my mother thought Stephanie played better than I did simply because of the quality of her violin. Of course I knew that Stephanie's accomplishments were the result of dedication and perseverance. She didn't sneak out during practice hours at Meadowmount to socialize and eat Entenmann's.
"What's the matter with Marjorie's violin?" my father asked, his face buried in a TV Guide. I could see only his balding head from the top of the pages.
"It's not up to par. Makes a zhurring sound, like a lawn mower."
"A wha?"
"It buzzes, John, like a zhurring sound buzz."

My father threw down the magazine.
"How much will a new violin cost, Frances? Because lessons at Juilliard are a huge expense, and as I keep telling you, I'm not exactly made out of money."
"Calm down. We'll shop around for a good deal. I wish Marjorie could play on a great instrument like Stephanie, but I guess that will have to wait—"
She cast her eyes heavenward and whispered as if in prayer. "Some day my Margie will have a precious violin from the Golden Age of makers. I just know it. All she needs is an angel."
"An angel? You're talking crazy Frances."
"No Johnny, I'm not," she said, her voice emphatic. "Don't you know? Many great musicians rely on wealthy individuals to loan them rare instruments. I'll bet that's what Stephanie has—a Stradivarius that was given to her by a benefactor. It makes all the difference to an artist. Stephanie produces such a marvelous tone, in part because of that violin; our Margie will have that someday too. Of course, it helps to have the right contacts. I mean, Stephanie's parents are both artists and well-educated—"
"Gee, I'm sorry Frances, that I'm only a furniture salesman. Forgive me."

My father nervously tapped his shirt pocket. "Have you seen my pack of Marlboros?"
"I have an idea."
"Oh Jeezus," he gasped. "Here it comes."
 "There's Scherl & Roth."
"Let me find my cigarettes before I go crazy here. What's a sherlinroth?"
"It's a string instrument company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Sarah Scriven assured me that the handmade Roth violins are wonderful. She tipped me off one day at a lesson, and said that Roths are modeled after the old master craftsmen, in other words, excellent copies—yet they're affordable. She showed me a brochure. I have it somewhere. Wait, I'll find it. There's a picture of an elderly man holding a violin. 
Think about it, John. It's not too much of a drive to Cleveland, is it? I mean, for that wonderful daughter of yours?"

Meanwhile, I broke my own practice record that day, and worked for six hours, just like Stephanie Chase. "Oh, that's my dolly," cheered my mother. "With a new violin in your hands, and six hours daily of practice, lessons at Juilliard, it's a recipe for success. And you'll outplay the other students because as far as I'm concerned—"
"Yes, Mummy?"
"You have the most talent."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sunday Open Concert (Ch.5 Pt.4)

Sharan opened the door, and Mr. Galamian stood in front of her. He snapped his fingers. "You must practice," he growled. I fled from Sharan's room, hoping Mr. G. hadn't recognized me, and returned to my cubicle. I knew that if I didn't practice, I would never be accepted as Mr. G's pupil. And if I didn't get to be his pupil, I would never become a concert violinist. And if I didn't become a violinist, my mother would be sorely disappointed. Frantic, perhaps.

There were consequences to our having broken the practice rules. Fannie and Miss Thomas held a meeting for all the Main House girls, and warned that if we were caught not practicing again, all privileges would be taken from us, and our parents called.  Ceo, pronounced say-oh, one of the cafeteria cooks, was assigned an additional role as practice monitor, in other words, a spy. I was sent off to Lilacs Cottage to take additional weekly lessons with Ani Kavafian, an accomplished pupil of Ivan Galamian's. Ani's task was to do damage control, as my practicing left much to be desired.

Meadowmount presented students in recital three or four times a week in the concert hall. Most of the events were closed to the public, but Sunday matinees were open to friends and family members. Attendance was mandatory for students. The faculty would sit on a long wooden bench, off to the side. Students would carefully observe Mr. Galamian and his assistants, assessing their reactions to student performances. A nod from Mr. Galamian could mean the start of an international career, or concert management. My parents had planned to visit after my initial two weeks of music camp, and alas, they showed up on a Sunday eager to hear one of Meadowmount's rising stars.

♪ ♩ ♪

Twelve-year-old violinist Stephanie Chase stepped lightly and briskly onto the stage, and acknowledged her audience with a warm smile. The hall, small enough for intimacy, was bustling with family members and friends. I sat near the last row with my father. His head drooped from heat and exhaustion. He had driven from Wenham, Massachusetts to Westport, New York through the night, and would drive directly home after the concert for work the next day; a round trip of eleven hours. From the corner of my eye, through the mass of audience, I saw my mother fifth row center. She was determined to sit as close to the stage as possible. Her bewigged head was cocked slightly, a pose she maintained whenever listening intensely. Stephanie tossed her long, chestnut brown hair away from her face, and smiled politely at the enthusiastic audience. She then unfolded a white handkerchief and calmly placed it under her chin. Stephanie, at age twelve, maintained the aura of a seasoned professional. A quick glance at the piano accompanist, David Garvey, after readying her violin, and Stephanie dug into a display of Wieniawski's pyrotechnics. From start to finish, her performance was flawless. With eyes closed, Stephanie exhibited an intense level of concentration, and mercurial technique. She practiced six hours daily, and resided during the year with her teacher, Sally Thomas. During Stephanie's polished performance, I wondered if she ever made mistakes. It was difficult enough for me to pronounce Wieniawski but this girl—this twelve-year-old girl—rendered a flawless performance of the work in its entirety with unrivaled poise.

The audience erupted into a feverish applause before Stephanie had even finished the last chord. She greeted the reception with a look of humility, bowing and lip-syncing "thank you" to the audience. Her chest heaved like a gymnast from a perilous work out. With her handkerchief, Stephanie wiped the perspiration from her neck and chin. My mother bolted up from her chair. "Bravissima! Encore!" I heard my mother's voice rise above the chorus of cheers, and she clapped her hands high in the air. The audience rose to their feet, and Ivan Galamian, seated along the side wall with the rest of the faculty, Sally Thomas, Margaret Pardee, David Cerone, Paul Makanowitzky, Josef Gingold and Dorothy DeLay, beamed with delight. He cupped his hands and whispered something into Miss Thomas's ear, for Stephanie was her prize pupil. And to this day I remember a thought that struck me: It was my mother's misfortune that she had me for a daughter rather than Stephanie Chase