Is that Janine Jansen in my concert?

Is that Janine Jansen in my concert?


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2019

From our diarist Anthea Kreston, soon to leave the Artemis Quartet:

I guess this has been perfect. I guess it was the right time in my life, the right time for my family, an exotic enough location, and challenging enough. I guess it was the right amount of time to do it, and I suppose I got much more out of it than I had expected (my phone has a section where I jot down a list of potential (and usually unrealistic) goals, and so many of them have been accomplished, it’s really rather silly), and I also think if I had kept going, my family, my health, and my spark would have suffered. These days, with the touring and uneven schedules, I feel like I am in a perennial fog – it reminds me of my 20’s, when last night’s hangover would transform, by mid-afternoon, into kind-of a calm lethargy, and nothing seemed to really jump forward – I was just spinning the wheels that I had so diligently sweated over since I was 2 and a half years old. I am not a natural wheel-spinner. I want to go places, stay places, dig in and fly.

I still don’t know where and what we will be doing next year – this contributes to my fog. But I am working hard preparing for auditions, following up on old contacts, and building on a new momentum that has sprung up, surprisingly, between the small cracks in my seemingly over-stuffed life. New management, new groups, concerto appearances, recordings, it’s all a big sloppy mess, and that’s my speciality.

The pace is fast – it’s odd what a difference 3.5 years makes. I have been to many of these concert halls 3 times now – I know the hotels, the back-stage and the restaurants (or room service menus). My routine – always pick up fruit if you pass a fruit stand, grab bread and cheese from the breakfast buffet, FaceTime with family when they get back from school – my daily packing and practicing is down to a science. My performances – I don’t know from the outside, but inside I feel confident, calm, communicative, flexible and energized.

A funny thing – terrorism. This has also become integrated, normalized. I suppose the same as Americans and living with the constant fear of home-grown single-person shooter terrorism. Two days ago, there was a terrorist incident in Utrecht, and as I took the train there yesterday, with concerned messages coming from family and friends, it was as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I checked my phone, sent them a message “they got the guy” and continued on my way. I have been close enough to a handful of devastating terrorist attacks these past 3.5 years, that somehow it doesn’t even phase me anymore. I know it isn’t right to feel this way. But it is truly how it feels.

Last night Janine Jansen came to our quartet concert. That was very cool. Everyone on stage was puffed up, like my pet love-bird Aphrodite used to get when a new person came to meet her. Twice the size as a regular bird – colors resplendent and eyes sparkling. She came backstage at intermission (and after). I was really star-struck and was hiding in my dressing room. I finally came out, greeted our Dutch manager, and shook her hand. It was a nice, soft hand – she is quite delicate – surprisingly delicate considering what a huge and magical presence she has. I went back to my dressing room, and was texting with an old student who started to chide, then scold me – “get out there, Anthea, and ask for a selfie!!!!”. So I did. I got my Classical Music Nerd on, and it was really fun.

Tomorrow I start my “Inside Music” tour in Berlin, and some people will continue on with me for my last European Artemis concert in the present configuration, in Hamburg at the Elbphilharmonie. Then it’s off for the USA tour, and the final concerts with Artemis – sextets on viola! C-String, here I come!



  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Best of luck in the new phase of your life and career.

  • RW2013 says:

    See you tonight at the Emersons.

  • X.Y. says:

    Dont worry: The risk of being killed by a road accident or even an electric appliance is much, much greater than being killed in terrorist attack!

  • Marg says:

    I can understand your being awed by JJ. I saw her in Sydney – fabulous player. And from the way you write, the time is right to move to something new.