Master cellist Msitslav Rostropovich died this morning in Moscow, and a part of me is thinking that the fact that I bought new strings for my own cello yesterday is some kind of precognitive tribute.
I’ve only ever heard him play in recordings – his version of the Bach unaccompanied suites is soul stirring – and I’ve seen recordings of him conducting as well. (Conductors, by the way, are hot. They just are. It’s intrinsic.) I’ve read some of his writings about the instrument, and I’ve seen video footage of his playing, his lithe fingers dancing over the strings, a merry gleam in his eye, as if he knows he’s the one in charge of the music, and we’re all just joining him on a journey.
He may not be quite as known among the masses as Yo-Yo Ma or Jacqueline DuPre (he taught the latter, by the way), but in classical music he’s the standard by which others are measured, the spiritual successor to Pablo Casals.
He was 80, when he died, which isn’t horribly young, but even so, it seems too soon.
I never knew him, only his music, but I’ll miss him.
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How fast can you type?
90 words-per-minute for error-free.
Faster with typos.
What is your favorite online game?
None. I only rarely play computer games at all, and when I do they’re not online. However, I used to be an ardent MUSHer, which is how I met not only Fuzzy but a good number of my present-day friends.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are?
That’s kind of a loaded question, isn’t it? Going by IQ, I’m in the top 2% of the (measured) population (I’m not going to share the official number.), but I’m terrified of spiders, some horror movies give me nightmares even though I KNOW they’re fiction, and I cannot cook a hamburger to save my life. So, forgive, me, but I’m not going to rate myself.
Name three of your best teachers from your school years
I’ve been blessed with many, many amazing teachers, all in public schools (until college). But the top three?
- Ray Goodheart was my teacher at Palo Alto Pre-school in Golden, Colorado in 1975 & 76. He had us doing long division at the tender age of five, and made us spell multi-syllabic words with Alpha-bits before eating them. I last talked to him in 1988, when he told me his best San Francisco story just before I left for college.
- Earl White was a teacher at Georgetown (CO) Elementary school when I was there in 1977 & 78. I was only in his class for an hour or so a day, as I was in 2nd grade and he was in charge of 4th-graders, mainly (who, by the way, seemed really grown up at the time). I remember him as being tough but fair, and I also remember that he pushed me, and never let me get away with being lazy. I caught up with him via email a couple years ago, but never maintained the connection.
- Alison Warriner was the professor in charge of my expository writing seminar my freshman year at University of San Francisco, and she was amazing. She was a stickler for proper grammar, but then, her father wrote that hateful green textbook, Warriner’s Guide to English Grammar and Usage, so she came by it naturally. She was also warm, funny, and a little snarky, and I wish I’d had her for other classes. I did some of my best work in her seminar, and still have a copy of the first A I earned (and let me tell you, an A on an ALISON paper is only slightly less impressive than a Pulitzer prize).
What are your plans for this upcoming weekend?
I play at ComedySportz on Friday and Saturday evenings, and on Sunday a bunch of us are (theoretically) meeting at Scarborough Ren Faire where our troupe-mate Jill is a member of the cast. Oh, and, I’m having my hair done on Saturday afternoon. Yay, pink!