Harmony in Strings

On Friday, December 15, High Desert Chamber Music’s 16th season will continue by welcoming the Kaplan Duo — made up of Mark Kaplan, one of the leading violinists of his generation, and his son, Yamaha Artist pianist David. We had a chance to talk to Mark about his journey into music, what led him into academia, and about concertizing with his son.

Mark grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He started playing violin when he was five. He never really thought much about making a career out of music until he was in college. When Mark was 17, he became very interested in physics and decided to give himself a year to decide which avenue to pursue. At that point he was studying a Juilliard and Columbia, a very stressful year, but eventually settled on violin. “I enjoyed both and didn’t really ‘decide,’ but felt perhaps less self-confidence in physics and sort of drifted toward music as I started to get some performing opportunities.”

In 1975, Mark made his European performance debut substituting at the last minute for Pinchas Zuckerman. He was supporting himself and his young family exclusively from concerts and while it was a rewarding life, it was not easy especially given the variability of income. At that time UCLA had a professor position available and it turned out to be a very good fit and thus began his academic career. This is also where he met and instructed Executive Director Isabelle Senger, who was completing her master of music degree. Since 2005, Mark has been professor of violin at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Regarding performing in a duo with his son, he says “It’s very joyful making music with your own kids and I have played with David ever since he was quite young.” Mark and David’s performing duo happened fairly organically. Most of the time they just played for fun, but they also performed in public. When David was 11, the two played at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival together and the rest is history! In addition to being a Yamaha artist, David is also a faculty member at UCLA.

When asked if he had any favorite pieces or if any works were particularly meaningful to him, Mark mentioned that’s a question that every musician he knows has figured out how to evade! “As a professional musician, you know a LOT of music, and you need to really love ALL the pieces you play, or you can’t play them well. And you can’t have a favorite among them, any more than you could have a favorite among your children.” So he chooses only to play pieces that have meaning to him.

Please join us on Friday December 15, at 7:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon in Bend for a program featuring the works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Ravel. There will be a pre-concert talk with members of the group at 6:45pm. This concert is brought to you by Three Graces & Co. Tickets are available through High Desert Chamber Music by phone or online.

Come hear the music!


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