So what will I be doing from the middle of 2019

So what will I be doing from the middle of 2019


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2018

Our diarist Anthea Kreston is leaving the Artemis Quartet next year. Others might panic. Anthea sees a bevy of opportunities. So many things a violinist can do.

“I really don’t know what I am going to do next year.” Normally a statement like that might instill fear, especially if the person thinking it is supporting a family, not in her native country, and will, in 9 months time, of her own choosing, be entirely without an income. So – what does that person do? She makes lists. Lots of lists – things she is good at, things she likes to do, things she doesn’t like to do, things she has never done before but bets she would be pretty good at, things she has never done before and has no idea how to do but would really like to try, places she would like to live, things that are important for her and for her family. These lists are usually found in the inside covers of various books in bookshelves around the house, by accident in the hands of a friend (I normally leave a rotating pile of free things in our front entrance and more than once someone has written to me “there seems to be very important notes written in the back of this book you gave me!”), on hotel stationary crammed in my backpack. I write and write, and when I am home, I mull and mull, and plan, and search, and talk to my lovely husband over a glass of something tasty after the kids are peacefully snoring upstairs.

They do ask me – “mom – what are we going to do next year?” They are sometimes worried, but immediately we calm when we talk about all the things that we could do – all the exciting places we could go, or what our lives might look like here, in Berlin, but with more Mom around. With Jason I talk about the Big Issues – how we want enough money to be able to visit our kids anytime we want when we are old, environmental/political concerns, who wants to be the next bread-winner, education for our daughters. Whether we want to live somewhere hot or cold, or close to the water or mountains, or in a city or the country.

And so I have subscribed to lists that come into my mailbox – openings for concertmaster, university positions, artistic director of a festival or concert series. And I think of crazy stuff like – how about a radio show? How about leading musical tours? Writing a book? Strangely, Jason is completely not worried. Not in the least. He is, and always has been, so confident in my abilities, or maybe in my ability to land on my feet. I am bizarrely financially conservative – we have a big buffer, I am good at being very poor (I haven’t upgraded my lifestyle even though we could have these last years, we are just living the way we always have). For my birthday yesterday they gave me dried beans, spices and quinoa – they know what I like!

And so – off I go – just kicking the ball into outer space – I will audition for concertmaster of Oslo, principal violin of St Paul Chamber, send in a couple of applications for University positions, and continue to explore and expand the roots which have grown and deepened here in Germany these past 3 years. I don’t really have time to practice all that orchestra stuff, and I haven’t really ever taken an orchestra audition, but I suppose I will just go, play with honesty, and see where it all leads.

Anyway – I still have 9 months. Plenty of time.



  • Alexander says:

    Enjoyed reading this. So calm and with no all that “what if” and “who is to blame”. Way to go and success be yours. I will light a candle for you in the nearest church, for sure 😉

  • Fritz says:

    “Realistic confidence and extreme flexibility” are the terms that come to my mind – it is simply admirable how you are looking at opportunities ahead … Reading this I begin to have a vague idea why Jason is not worried but keeps cool.

  • Bruce says:

    I said before and will say again: I doubt anything Anthea does will be (could be) boring. Can’t wait to read about her further adventures.

    In bocca al lupo!

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I hope you will remain in Europe with a good job. Maybe you will start the Kreston Quartet?

  • Larry says:

    I mean her no disrespect but she seems a bit cavalier in her attitude, like it’s going to be a snap to get a gig as a “concertmaster, university positions, artistic director of a festival or concert series, radio show.”

    We wish her well.

    • Qwerty1234 says:

      That’s the self-confidence you need to have to play at a high level and win positions like that.

    • Fritz says:

      To Larry: If I didn’t know many if not all of these positions had already been offered to Anthea – not asked by her – I might have agreed it could all sound a bit too easy. However, though these ideas are ambitious (of course) and challenging (without any doubt), they are realistic in first place …

  • Sue says:

    What a gestation! Good luck.

  • Terence says:

    If your children don’t already have dual citizenship Anthea, then hold out in Germany long enough to get it for them.

    No one can predict the future: it may be very useful for them. For example, university is much cheaper in Germany, and health care too.

    Both the US & Germany allow dual citizenship.

    • Anthea kreston says:

      Good idea….I will look into that. We will think very carefully and balance all of the options and long-term possibilities. Thanks!

    • Scotty says:

      Do you live in Germany, Terence? I do and my child has dual citizenship. But I’m American and her mother is German and so she has blood citizenship in both countries. My understanding is that if you are adopting a second citizenship that is not through blood, the United States requires that you renounce your US citizenship. I think the German government has the same requirement.

  • Marg says:

    Anthea, you will of course ‘land on your feet’ as the saying goes because what will look like good luck will be the product of hours of writing lists, mulling options, exploring cazy ideas with Jason over a good wine, and the willingness to take some risks. I cant wait to see where the path leads but promise your diary fans you will keep writing. If we have to send a petition to Norman, just say the word!

  • Tamino says:

    “especially if the person thinking it is supporting a family, not in her native country”

    Well, Germany, south of Berlin (?), is IMO a much better place to support a family, raise children, educate them well, keep them in good health by having a comprehensive and very affordable public health insurance system, also in times of insecure income revenue.

    The native country here, the US, gives you comparable options only if you are wealthy. And God forbid somebody in the family has serious health issues. Living in the US that alone often means personal bankrupcy.

    Except for one missing ones dear extended family, or having much better job opportunities there, I see no other reason to raise children in the native US. Germany, Berlin, is so much better if one needs to get by on less than very high income revenue.