Me, playing my violin in New York City in 1973.
When I was a child, my parents never bought us a stereo, as they simply were not interested in music. So, I depended on the radio to listen to rock and roll. I also enjoyed choral music in church.
As a college student, I lived with my grandmother, who, unlike my parents, owned a stereo. I began buying LPs, usually Broadway musicals and pop music, and was able to listen to these recordings every day.
After graduating from the University of Hawaii in 1968, I embarked on my solo trip around the world. It was in Thailand that I fell in love with classical music. A Christian missionary lent me a violin and invited me to rehearse with the Pro Musica Orchestra at the German Embassy. The orchestra was comprised of Thai, Australian, and American musicians and conducted by a German.
I already had a rudimentary knowledge of the violin, as I had taken lessons for three years in Hawaii as a young teenager.
Well, long story short, I sat on the sofa in the music room and heard the Bach Double Violin Concerto for the first time. Awesome! I could not believe that two Thai men could play their violins so beautifully. Just imagine: German Baroque music performed in Thailand. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to this exquisite music.
I joined the orchestra and a Thai prince lent me his spare violin, which was better than the Christian missionary’s violin. The prince played first violin and I played second violin. I wasn’t very good, but I did try to keep up with the orchestra.
To this day, whenever I hear the Bach Double Violin Concerto, I recall that special moment in Thailand, when I heard it for the first time and fell in love with classical music.