It all began one snowy winter evening, in late 1992. I was still in high school, and visiting New York City when my viola was stolen, carried away by a homeless man, whom I can only remember by the scent he left behind as he disappeared. To this day, when I close my eyes I can still feel the cold, the snow on my skin, hear myself scream, and a choking sensation as I realized that this truly happened. My voice, my first love, my emotional outlet, gone forever, disappearing into the darkness of Manhattan.
The event became a painful secret, an occurrence I kept to myself. After numerous searches and appeals for help from the police, my hope for the viola's recovery slowly turned to despair, I didn't dare contemplate the possibility of it coming back into my life.
However, one person's kindness, inquisitiveness, and determination altered the course of this sad story, and changed my life in the most unexpected and profound way.
As the world was ringing in the New Year and the New Millennium, Ava Lindberg was pondering a question: what to do with a viola that came into her possession. While inspecting the instrument and the Russian-looking scarf the viola was wrapped in she began to realize there was more to the story then she had been told, and that the Red Viola was most likely a stolen instrument. Determined to find its owner, Ava traced it back through subtle clues to locate me and bring the instrument back into my life.
A few days later, on January 8, 2000 I was awakened by a phone call. My mom was calling to tell me that she received a letter for me, marked "personal and confidential". I asked her to go ahead and open it. After a long silence she said, "Your viola was found." The letter was from Ava Lindberg. It simply said that she had a viola, which she thought was stolen from me, and would like to discuss the future of the instrument.
Twelve years had passed since that fateful morning in Manhattan. Ava became a good friend, whom I came to admire and respect, and who also happens to be a wonderful pianist. Whenever we have the opportunity, we play chamber music together. I will be grateful to Ava for the rest of my life. The Red Viola has become a much cherished and loved companion in all my musical endeavors. This album is a reflection, a musical narrative, tracing the events of this real-life fairy tale. Each piece performed has a connection to the story, with works by J.S. Bach, Vieuxtemps, and Biber outlining the arc of emotional journey through loss and recovery, and pieces by Albeniz, Debussy, and Piazzolla devoted to the process of reconnecting and exploring technical and tonal boundaries of the Red Viola.
About the Artist:
Since her solo debut with the Manhattan Chamber Symphony at age 17, violist Victoria Voronyansky has distinguished herself as a recitalist, chamber musician, educator, and published author. She has appeared in major concert halls throughout United States, Israel, and Europe including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, 92nd Street Y, Aspen Music Festival, and the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Her performance of works by J.S. Bach was broadcast live on the National Radio of Finland, and solo performance with the Manhattan Chamber Symphony of Hans Sitt’s Concertpiece was broadcast on WQXR radio in New York as part of Robert Sherman’s Young Artists Showcase. She was also featured on the Israeli television as part of the Pinchas Zukerman Performance Program, and in broadcasts on National Public Radio.
As a founding member of the Acacia String Quartet, Victoria was selected by Isaac Stern for a performance and workshop at Carnegie Hall, won The Bärenreiter Urtext Prize in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and won the Young Artists International Competition. She performed with the International Sejong Soloists, in the Mostly Mozart series at Lincoln Center, and at Taos Chamber Music Festival.
Deeply involved in the field of education, Victoria designed and taught an innovative "Recording Project" course at the Juilliard School, where she has also given numerous presentations on topics ranging from injury prevention to physics of sound. This work led to publication of her writings in the Journal of the American Viola Society. In addition to the Juilliard School, Victoria has served as a member of the viola faculty at Mannes College of Music, at The Perlman Music Program, and viola faculty and artist in residence at Temple University Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance.
Victoria was a recipient of the Edward J. Noble Educational Fellowship and was presented with Blanchette Rockefeller and Henry Alderman Trust Awards. She studied viola with Heidi Castleman, Cynthia Phelps, and Pinchas Zuckerman, and chamber music with members of the Juilliard and American String Quartets, Isidore Cohen, Felix Galimir, David Geber, and Isaac Stern. She holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School.
Music on this Album
J.S. Bach: Sonata for Violin Solo No. 2, BWV 1003, transcribed for viola: Andante
Isaac Albéniz: Suite española for piano solo, Op.47, transcribed for viola: Asturias (Leyenda)
Ástor Piazzolla: Tango Etudes for solo flute, transcribed for viola: Tango Etude No. 4
J.S. Bach: Suite for Cello Solo No. 3 in C, BWV 1009, transcribed for viola: Prelude
Henri Vieuxtemps: Capriccio for Viola Solo, Op. post., No. 9
Claude Debussy: Syrinx for solo flute, transcribed for viola
J.S. Bach: Partita for Violin Solo No.1, BWV 1002, transcribed for viola: Sarabande
J.S. Bach: Suite for Cello Solo No. 1 in G, BWV 1007, transcribed for viola: Prelude
Claude Debussy: The Children's Corner, transcribed for viola: Le Petit Berger (in English The Little Shepherd. )
Ástor Piazzolla: Tango Etudes for solo flute, transcribed for viola: Tango Etude No. 3
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 3 In C, BWV 1009, transcribed for viola: Sarabande
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber: The Mystery Sonatas, transcribed for viola: Passacaglia
Piazzolla's Tango Etudes 3 and 4, and Debussy's Syrinx and The Little Shepherd were transcribed for viola on this album by Victoria Voronyansky.