IPO musicians Jenia Pikovsky (Violin), Linor Katz (Cello), and Miriam Hartman (Viola) share how they found their love for music, their new routine during quarantine, and more.
AFIPO: To start things off, what inspired you to play your instrument?
Linor Katz: When I was eleven years old, I attended a concert where I was exposed to the beautiful shape and sound of the cello. At that moment, I knew I wanted to play the instrument.
Jenia Pikovsky: I come from a musical family – my mother teaches violin and my father teaches piano. The two of them began teaching me their instruments when I was six. I was inspired to continue playing the violin because of my musical upbringing and the strong Jewish educational tradition.
Miriam Hartman: I began playing the violin at age five but switched to the viola as soon as I was big enough to hold one up. My parents had five children in order to get a string quartet out of us. In fact, playing in the family quartet for the first time is my earliest memory of performing.
AFIPO: You’ve been playing your instrument for quite some time now. Do you recall your first musical memory?
Linor Katz: Music runs in my family. My mother is a piano teacher, and some of my first musical memories were going to her studio class concerts. I remember being in awe by the talent and swept away by the beauty of the music.
Jenia Pikovsky: My first musical memories were going to the Kiev Philharmonic with my parents. The concerts were phenomenal, as was the musicians’ talent. Not to mention, who could forget the delicious sandwiches during intermission?
Miriam Hartman: As I was saying, my parents made sure to get a string quartet out of their children. To this day, I still remember playing the viola in the family quartet for the very first time, performing Haydn’s “Lark” quartet. My journey with music started long before that though, beginning when my father inspected my hand and then bought me a viola when I was just six months old. From that moment on, the instrument was waiting for me under my bed until I was able to play it.
AFIPO: Touring with the IPO around the globe must be exciting. What location has been your favorite during your time at the IPO?
Linor Katz: I’ve been with the IPO for about six years now, and my favorite place to go on tour is definitely Japan. The IPO also does collaborations with other artists, and I wish we could back in time to do one with Ella Fitzgerald. Imagine how incredible that would be.
Jenia Pikovsky: I’m really in love with the city of New York. The energy of the city is truly spectacular and unique. After playing with the IPO for sixteen years, I can say it’s unlike any other place in the world. When we’re on tour in NYC, we perform at Carnegie Hall, which is a very special place for me and one of my favorite venues to perform. Not to mention, I have a lot of great friends and family in the city, so it’s always a good time when I’m in New York.
Miriam Hartman: How could I even chose? I’ve been touring with the IPO for 36 years, and it is always such a pleasure. Any place where we have a great conductor and receptive audience is a favorite of mine.
AFIPO: Now that tours and most else have been put on pause, what have you been playing on your music playlist?
Linor Katz: I have a young daughter, Alma, who I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with as a result of quarantine. My current playlist has a lot of children’s songs for her.
Jenia Pikovsky: I’ve been trying to keep up with my violin practice, so I’ve been playing a lot of scales and exercises.
Miriam Hartman: Due to everything going on, a lot of artists are completely unemployed now. I’ve been trying to support these musicians by subscribing to their YouTube channels so that they can earn some money. There are some wonderful and interesting performers out there, and I highly recommend that everyone take the time to seek them out!
AFIPO: How have you adjusted to life during quarantine?
Linor Katz: Other than playing the cello, I’ve been video chatting with my parents and sisters often so that they can see Alma, who is only 7.5 months old, grow. I also eat quite a lot now and watch Netflix with my husband before going to sleep, but I’ve also been playing some sports to pass the time.
Jenia Pikovsky: My typical day now is quite different from my life before quarantine, but I am enjoying being able to do things I usually have no time for in my busy schedule. I spend much of my time cooking, reading, and watching movies. I’ve even been teaching my young son mathematics while also gaining a lot of spiritual energy from my family.
Miriam Hartman: Life during quarantine is fairly simple, and my days frequently rush by in a blur. I start each day with some yoga to get the blood flowing and then practice viola after breakfast. Quarantine has given me the time to indulge in Bach and new etudes, which I’ve never had the time to learn before. I also call my elderly parents, who are in their 90s and are completely quarantined in their house, quite often. Life has certainly changed; I’ve never had so many consecutive nights of actually eating dinner in my life – what a revelation!
AFIPO: One final question – what are three things you can’t live without?
Linor Katz: I definitely could not imagine a life without hugs, and I love avocados and showers.
Jenia Pikovsky: I can answer this question much better now due to the current surrealistic situation. I would say my family, my violin, and my inner harmony.
Miriam Hartman: I certainly could not live without music, Israel, and my family.
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