Remembering Yuli Turovsky, the Teacher
April 1, 2013
Flash version here.
Russian-Canadian cellist Yuli Turovsky passed away on January 15, 2013.
Yuli had an enormous impact on my development as a musician. I will always remember his great generosity, as a musician of course, but also as a human being. Many will tell you that time simply didn’t exist when you were in his class. When my parents and I were in the process of immigrating to Italy, I worked with Mstislav Rostropovitch a few times. I had my choice of professors at the time, and that very fact meant we had many choices for immigration. Rostropovitch advised me to go study with Yuli: “You could go to any of the great schools. You will learn everything you need, but you will be like a dog: you’ll understand everything, but you won’t be able to speak.” It’s true that Yuli taught me to talk through my instrument, and for that I am deeply grateful. He also knew how to infuse many of his students with the boldness to go beyond the reasonable and the conventional. It led me to certain excesses at the beginning, but I also learned to keep the audience in suspense thanks to the boldness of Yuli, who served as an example to me.
One of the greatest moments of my life was when I met Yuli Turovsky. I was nine years old when I had my first audition . . . and I studied with him up to the last day.
He was an exceptional teacher, always ready to devote innumerable hours to his students, always listening to them, despite a professional schedule that was beyond packed. There was no problem he couldn’t solve; he had all the solutions, even though he sometimes let us find them ourselves . . . as a teacher, and especially as a person, he was exemplary.
He taught me almost everything I know today, and he had so many precious lessons . . . but perhaps the greatest lesson was to play each note as if it was the last, to always have something important to say. Every concert was important to him, but each note was just as important.
He will always be my biggest inspiration.
Translation: Rebecca Anne Clark