From our diarist, Anthea Kreston:
Two concerts down, nine to go in 11 days on this US tour. We started in Princeton, where I had the distinct pleasure of staying with someone I had met through the comments section of this blog – the noted author and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton, Andrew Moravcsik. I was also able to meet his wife, the celebrated author Anne-Marie Slaughter, a hero of women (and men) the world over. Over dinner and breakfasts, I got to know these remarkable people a bit better – their advice on work-family balance have been a life-changer for me over these last years, and have saved me from several serious relationship blunders.
As I walked into the historic Nassau Hotel for lunch with the presenter and Quartet, I froze at the sight of a fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray, chatting and posing for photos. As he walked by, and my Quartet showed up, I learned that his Quartet (with German cellist Jan Vogler) was playing Princeton the same night, at the other venue in town. Our cellist knows their cellist, and I begged him to go over and say hello, nearly jumping out of my shoes with excitement.
Long story short, I sat next to Bill Murray for lunch, and had such an uproariously silly time. He was up and down, chatting with the guys at the bar, talking to the waitresses, he was exactly like all of his characters he plays – he is himself. His battered, tan and green RV Van was parked outside the swank hotel – he himself drives the band from venue to venue. He grabbed the huge pepper shaker from the waitress and with a unique flourish, peppered everyone at the table, whether they had something pepper-worthy or not. I was on my “A” game, and we hit it off well enough that I got an invite to go suspender shopping with him after lunch. I begged off – my jetlag was starting to show – tonight’s concert was going to end at 4 am Berlin time. I have had few regrets in my life, but I do believe that passing up a suspender shopping trip with Bill Murray may have been the largest.
Last night was Library of Congress, and I again opted out of the hotel in favor of a deeper experience. Linda Stern, the widow of Isaac, had extended a welcome to me, and we had a tender, intimate afternoon together, where she reminisced and walked me around her lavish apartment, awash in memories of Isaac as well as countless Chagall and Picasso paintings, memorabilia and framed original scores and documents. I jumped in a cab directly after the concert, and the two of us stayed up to all hours together, drinking wine and eating cheese sticks.
So, now onto the Midwest. By next diary, I will have played Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Carnegie, Cincinnati and Houston.
with Bill Murray