Violinist in Thailand

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I was 27 years old when this photo was taken in New York City in 1973.

It was 1969 and I was 23 years old, having a Coke in the coffee shop at the YWCA in Bangkok, Thailand, when a Presbyterian missionary from the USA sat next to me at the counter.  She said her name was Dee, and she and her husband were in Thailand trying to convert the Thai Buddhists to Christianity.

Long story short, she invited me to her home for dinner and then lent me a violin to play duets with her.  I guess I was good enough, because she invited me to join the Pro Musica Orchestra at the German Embassy.  This orchestra consisted of musicians from Thailand, Australia, Canada, and the USA.  It was conducted by a German, who had trained in Germany.  (He was not the same one who met me in Munich later that year.)

A Thai prince, who also played in the orchestra, offered me one of his violins, because it was better than the one Dee had lent me.  However, after a few months, the humidity made the violin fall apart.  I took it to a repair shop, and it was glued back together.  I was afraid that it would break again, so I returned it to the Thai prince and thanked him for lending it to me.

I then sat on the sofa in the German Embassy and watched the Pro Musica Orchestra perform.  I heard the Bach Double Violin Concerto for the first time.  It was incredibly beautiful, especially the slow movement.  I was deeply moved, and tears streamed down my face.

Now, it is 2017 and I am 71 years old.  Many years have passed since that moment when I heard that Bach concerto performed in Thailand.  I wondered what had happened to the Thai violinist (not the Thai prince), who played the first violin part.  So, I googled his name and discovered he is a retired attorney, who had studied in England.  At age 81, he still plays the violin in a string quartet in Bangkok.

My friend, Dee, died of breast cancer in 1979, ten years after we met.  She was 41 years old.

8 Responses to “Violinist in Thailand”

  1. Christine Says:

    Interesting memories, it’s great how we can google people in this way.

  2. Kay G. Says:

    That is so sad, to learn that Dee died at age 41.
    It is good that you were able to look up the information about these people from your past.
    Lovely photo.
    Do your still play the violin? You might have told us, I am sorry, I can’t seem to remember much these days!

    • gigihawaii Says:

      No, I stopped playing the violin after I got married in 1980, because I was so busy working, taking care of the kids and home, etc. I sold my two violins in 1992, so other students could play them. But, David and I still attend the symphony and opera at the Blaisdell and we enjoy listening to CDs, also. We have a good life together.

  3. Olga Says:

    What a rich and varied life you have had.

    I wish I could google the success rate of converting Buddhist monks to Christianity. Well, maybe I can…

  4. DJan Says:

    Some wonderful memories. Isn’t Google great? I think of someone I have lost contact with and can usually find something about them, especially if they write a blog. 🙂

  5. DeniseinVA Says:

    You have had wonderful adventures and met very interesting people. I always enjoy reading about them. Thank you Gigi!

  6. honoluluaunty91 Says:

    I just finished watching that Concerto online with Yehudi Menuhin and David Oistrakh. WOW!

    I am not a musical fan but that performance was outstanding and I can see why you cried.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Beatrice Says:

    Sorry to learn of your friend, Dee’s untimely death. Glas you shared this story of your meeting.

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