Since I remember myself, there were sounds of violin and piano. I must have been present during hundreds of hours of scrupulous work, when my grandmother was teaching my sister the violin, long before being aware of what it all really meant. Music was all around me. My mother played the piano. Often the violin students of The Moscow Conservatory came to rehearse chez nous, and that is how I became familiar with every microscopic detail of most violin pieces she had accompanied. My mother loved accompanying, she made everyone feel confident, even in most treacherous passages. We knew she would always wait, or, in any case, do just the right thing in order to support a player. Masterful accompanists are hard to come by; they must be cherished.
It was Spring of 1986 when I was taken to my sister’s violin lesson. At that time The Soviet Union was still in the “high achievement” phase in the arts. The promising talents were screened in rigorous exams and were selected or rejected for The Central Music School or The Gnessin School in Moscow, to study with the best and the toughest and, later, win International Competitions. The school’s vestibule is often in y thoughts, where the often-not-so-friendly-mothers were waiting for their little musicians to take them home. I was “chosen” at my sister’s lesson as someone gifted as I sang themes from the Mendelssohn Concerto she was playing, and was told that I shall be a violinist.