Today I am thinking of my dad. He would have turned 64 today. He loved the Beatles (When I'm 64) so for me this year is more significant than next year. Cigarettes cut his life too short 20 years ago.
I don't think I would have been a musician without his help. Almost every musical milestone until I went to university involved him.
My first memory at three, was going to Chedoke Park with him hand in hand and Vivaldi's guitar concerto playing through my mind.
He taught me some folk guitar at 6. He taught me chords at 7. He made me sight read at 10.
I remember his thick orange binder stuffed to to breaking point with photocopies of the entire guitar repertoire (it seemed) of the local library. It was filled with Dowland, Bach, and countless Spanish exercises. I had been playing viola for a few months and had no technique. Didn't matter to him. He would open that 10 lb. 6" book and open to a random page and say "Okay, read this!". And I would read it, always badly. This went on for 5 years. Torture.
He was remarkable. He strived to learn his entire life. Taught himself guitar at the age of 24. He was an incredible nature photographer and painter. Had a passion for science that I didn't see again until I met my husband.
Mendelssohn was his favourite composer. For him, Mendelssohn was a composer who he thought was underrated, a genius in his opinion.
My dad was disappointed that I had never composed since he thought that was the highest calling of being a musician. He implored me not to be "just a music box", not just to be a violist.
I guess maybe I should tell you now that I am not just a violist anymore. Something changed in me this autumn. And I think it quite spooky that the pieces that changed my perspective were two Mendelssohn duets I arranged for voices and string trio. And now composing does not seem as daunting anymore.
I will always miss him. But what he gave to me will always be there. Thank you and love you Dad.