Detroit’s Cass Tech to New York’s Lincoln Center: Hard work, perserverance
pays off for Michigan musicians
The Ann Arbor News (Michigan)
February 05, 2013
By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk | [email protected]
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Hard work, talent and perseverance were the recipe
for success for violinists Ani and Ida Kavafian.
That and a little luck for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
musicians appearing at St. Cecilia Music Center on Thursday, Feb. 7,
Baptism by fire gave the two Michiganders seats among the ranks of the
one of the nation’s most eminent chamber music organizations.
As a student at The Juilliard School in the last 1960s and early 70s,
Ani Kavafian often attended Chamber Music Society concerts at Alice
`I’d look at these players and say, this is the job I wanted,’ she
recalled. `That’s the greatest job in the world.’
Ani Kavafian got to play several times as a guest and then was asked
to step in for violinist Jaime Laredo to play with pianist Richard
Goode a new piece by contemporary Czech composer Karel Husa in two
performances on a Friday and a Sunday for the Chamber Music Society.
Then she got a call from Yo-Yo Ma, and a last-minute invitation to
join him in the Brahms’ Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and
Orchestra with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut on the
Saturday in between.
It’s a staple of the repertoire, but one the young violinist hadn’t
yet played before.
`I never practiced so much in my entire life,’ she recalled. `My
philosophy is you have to go through every door that’s opened to you.’
`Those were good decisions,’ she said.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns on Thursday for
its second concert in its first season as partners with St. Cecilia
Chamber Music Series, directed by David Finckel and Wu Han,
co-artistic directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Seven musicians will be in St. Cecilia Music Center’s Royce Auditorium
to play music by Cesar Franck, Richard Strauss and Ned Rorem in a
program the ensemble also will perform in Chicago’s Harris Theater the
following day and in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in New York
The Kavafians grew up in the Detroit suburbs of Highland Park and
Royal Oak and went to high school at Cass Tech in Detroit and studied
at Interlochen Fine Arts Camp.
`I consider myself a Michigander,’ Ida Kavafian said.
Their stepfather, Ara Zerounian, who died a few months ago, taught
public school music, mostly to elementary and middle school age
`He started a lot of very successful and wonderful musicians,’ Ida
Ani Kavafian originally wanted to study music at the University of
`A lot of my friends were going there, and it was closer to home,’ she
Her mother insisted she go to New York City to study at The Juilliard
As fate would have it, the teacher she had hoped to study with at
University of Michigan died a couple of months later.
`It turned out to be the right decision,’ she said. `My mother was