I don’t know how often Musician from Marlboro tours have small children tag along, but on the early spring tour this year, we waded through the worst blizzards the Northeast had seen in years… with Dénes Várjon and Izabella Simon’s four-year-old daughter Liana in tow. This made the group move slower… frequent bathroom and run around breaks were mandatory on the road. Even with a wonderful cousin childcare helper along for the trip, we couldn’t push ourselves as hard on the couple of longer travel days as we might have without a child. I so loved the experience of getting to know this tiny human who mostly spoke Hungarian. Izabella told Liana Hungarian folk tales in the rental car office. She later asked her mother if she weren’t playing the concert in an English style since she would be playing with me and I spoke English.
The Dvořák and Brahms songs that Sarah Shafer and Izabella and I performed ran the gamut of playfulness to moodiness, but I think having Liana always nearby somehow helped me keep the right emotional immediacy in those songs. She was the closest thing to a mascot as I’ve ever had on a run of performances.
During our last run-through on the stage at Marlboro College, we had just learned that the Valentine’s Day Marlboro performance, which was to have been our second to last concert, would be our last.
Boston was completely obliterated by new and built-up snow, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum had cancelled our concert. We were disappointed to end the tour early but happy that we were at least rounding the last bend in Marlboro. Since we felt so confident near the end, having performed the pieces four times already in the last week, Dénes let Liana come up on stage while we rehearsed. She gave us an elegant improvised dance all the way through both sets. Dénes even caught a photo!