In the second instalment of her life-change diary, Anthea Kreston, new 2nd violinist of the Artemis Quartet writes about packing up her American idyll, breaking up her trio and preparing to move to Berlin.
The house is becoming empty – every day a steady stream of friends comes to help bring things to donate, or drop off food, or just come and talk. We generally don’t lock our door – our house is always filled with people – students and parents and friends. Did I tell you – the other day I spread the word that we could use some big suitcases and food – we gave away all of our dishes. Several hours later, I came downstairs, and there were 5 suitcases in the front hall, and in the kitchen two lasagnas, a salad, some Indian, Mexican and Persian food, two pies, and a quiche. I love this town! There have been a lot of tears – from students, us, parents. The other day I saw Jason in a full embrace of a father and daughter, all crying. How is it that we have decided to leave this wonderful place – nestled in a valley between mountains and the ocean – surrounded by family and friends?
I constantly go back and forth between feeling guilty for ripping my family from their homeland – their culture, friends, grandparents, language, home, career, possessions – nothing will ever be the same. On the flip side, I know this is an opportunity of a lifetime for us all. But – what if I am wrong? I am directly responsible for the happiness of my daughters and husband. They are making a leap of faith for me – and trust (sometimes shakily) that this is a good leap. To jump from something that is already perfect is a crazy choice. My guilt is only overcome by my deep and unquestionable belief that somehow this must be right for all of us.
The list of things to do is mind boggling – priorities are constantly shifting. One minute, the most important thing in the world is to get the oatmeal on the table, the next is to sell our cars and get my paperwork in order for my work visa application. Finances, housing, visa, health, schooling, and OH – maybe I should practice???? Two full quartet programs Carnegie-Hall ready – I can do this!!! Our final Amelia Piano Trio concert is this weekend.
And to think – the Artemis Quartet – with their still-fresh, public grief of the loss of their friend, colleague. This is the hole that they want me to fill. They speak of their friend often – in rehearsal he is there with us. The mentions of him are sometimes lighthearted, sometimes – “he would have liked it to be this way, there”. This is a group of three people who will never stop grieving – his sound, now emanating from Gregor through his generously donated viola – his ideas, markings in the parts. Friedemann is, as much as Volker, Heime and Natalia, a permanent part of the sound, heart and mind of this quartet. We are not a quartet, rather an octet.
Did I tell you – Heime came to see us for a drink after the audition? What fun to see him – and there are plans to meet with Volker soon. These are the people that I knew at Juilliard – and Heime welcomed me into the Artemis family with a bear hug. He looks the same as he did 20 years ago – with that sparkle in his eyes and warmth of personality just coming out of every pore.
So – grief and hope – for all of us in our own ways – this is the hand we now play. My favorite composer is Schubert – his ability to mix two divergent emotions in a single moment in time – this is what the four of us are embarking on. Grief and hope, all together.