Author: Rosemary Ellen Tingley
Author: Rosemary Ellen Tingley
Rosemary Ellen Tingley in her Daniel Kossov: Pictures of an Outstanding Musician Part 2- A Violin From Jerusalem unfurls with unbelievable dexterity and compassion her almost nine years of personal experiences with this gifted, complex and little understood musician, Daniel Kossov.
As Tingley candidly asserts: she “sometimes doesn't understand him; I cannot see where he is coming from or going to. My head is bursting in an effort to comprehend what he is telling me. My brain is strained to the limit and everything I ask him annoys him because I am way off the track and everything I suggest is driving him further away and further into introversion.”
Daniel Kossov was born to Jewish parents, Isaac Kossov and Natalia Epstein in 1977 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, a former Soviet Republic that borders Afghanistan. His parents were very well-respected musicians. At the age of 2 he emigrated with his parents and paternal grandparents to Israel. At 10 he was the concertmaster of the Jerusalem Youth Orchestra where he was often seen conducting and leading string sections as well as frequently performing as soloist with orchestras in Israel and abroad.
His brilliance and genius did not go unnoticed and by the age of 17 he entered the Curtis Institute of Music where he won the Concertmaster audition. It is here where he studied with the renowned pianist, music theorist and pedagogue Edward Aldwell. After graduating from Curtis, he was awarded a full scholarship to another esteemed learning institution, the Guildhall School in London, where he was immediately asked to lead the orchestra.
In 2001 at the age of 24, Daniel arrived in Perth, Australia and amazingly became the youngest ever Concertmaster of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. During his young life, he has taken part in several projects with some of the world's leading orchestras under such renowned conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Mazur, James Levine, Andre Previn, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano, Colin Davis, Wolfgang Sawallish and Zubin Mehta.
The principal objective of Tingley's narrative is to unveil to her readers what makes Kossov tick. From reading her interactions with him, we get an image of a musician that is not satisfied with just being an crowd-pleaser. In fact, it was this refusal to be a showman that would sometimes land Daniel in hot water with some of his teachers and peers whom he often disagreed with insofar as personal interpretations or executions of techniques were concerned. He never understood why anyone should think they know better than Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Shostakovich. Furthermore, he strongly believes that no matter how difficult a passage may be, there should never be room for compromise.
As Tingley points out, Daniel seems to have a curious relationship with composers as he actually puts himself in the shoes of the composer, endeavoring to re-create the composition exactly as they had “heard” it. This is somewhat akin to the great actors who live their roles and make us believe that they are in fact the characters who they portray. To exemplify, Tingley informs us that one day she received from Daniel telling her that he is having coffee with Mozart.
It should mentioned that although the principal focal point of Tingley's tale is an attempt to unravel the mystery that surrounds a gifted musician, it is also a self-reflection wherein the Tingley tries to make sense as to why she had come to Jerusalem in the first place and was she using Daniel as a catalyst for her exploration. As she states: “Deep down in thoughts hidden even from myself had I really come to somehow find the Holy Grail; the secret of the Kingdom of Heaven. And had I found that all my belief in the Catholic Church was worthless; that my God had feet of clay?”
Tingley wields a formidable analytic intelligence in presenting to her readers a narrative pertaining to a solitary individual with a unique gift who must face daily the troublesome and ambiguous aspects of being a genius. And regrettably, as Tingley observes, the real misfortune is that in the artistic world the true performer may not always be recognized and be given his or her due because the observer or listener may have been blinded or deafened by a eye-popping show of superficial brilliance witnessed in a previous performance of a work. An added plus about this book is that Tingley's writing is clean and clear with a perfectionists eye for detail, particular the finely tuned descriptive scenes pertaining to Jerusalem.