Alban's Blog

Webmaster and Opus 118

After my arrival in NYC on Jan 23 I immediately called my friend and Webmaster Alexej to talk about problems I am having with the Website software. I know Alexej through his father Arnold Steinhardt, the primarius from the Guarneri-Quartet. We played about 10 years ago the Tchaikovsky-Pianotrio somewhere in New York. When I met him again a year after this concert in a bus going from Newark into the city, he mentioned that his son was a webdesigner. As I was in need of a new webpage I didn’t hesitate to contact Alexej immediately, and the rest is history.

Alexej told me to get in touch with his mother who had the software I needed to solve my problems. Calling Dorothea von Haeften reminded me of the wonderful project she is involved in: Opus 118. I had completely forgotten that I was on the advisory board of this non-profit organization supporting this Music School in East Harlem. I don’t know if you have seen the movie “Music to the Hearts” (or something like that) with Meryl Streep – it was inspired and is about this violin teacher Roberta Guspari who single-handedly created a very powerful music program at a school in East Harlem. The movie was very touching, because it deals with the power which lies in music, how it can change the lives and the attitude of young people, how it can make them not only more social but also more intelligent and efficient.

First I asked Dorothea if I might bring her some bagels from my favourite bagel place “Absolute Bagels” on Broadway (between 107th and 108th), mentioned the software I needed and then offered my services for Opus 118. A day later I got a “date” to play for some of the kids who in exchange would also play for me with a nice little question&answer session afterwards. This will happen next Wednesday at 5pm, and I am so excited because I will meet this lady who had enough stamina to fight for a program which changed so many lives already. Until now I only know the project only from the movies and from the internet, but to be there where it all started, hear the results and talk to kids whose life has been touched by music is more fulfilling than most other musical encounters. I will definitely report how this afternoon went, probably from Spokane, where I have to play another Elgar Concerto this weekend. Oh God, but now I have to learn the Honegger Concerto which is coming up in 11 days… The clock is clicking….


  • Harry Guenther


    Congratulations on your performance last night at the Piatigorsky Memorial Concert at Shriver Hall in Baltimore. Not only did you work magic on the those in attendance; you also worked magic for the N.Y. Giants in their Super Bowl win. I’m looking forward to hearing you again when you perform with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C.

    Best wishes,

    Harry Guenther

  • Alban

    Hi Harry,

    yes, that was quite amazing – when I played during the World Cup Quartefinals simultaneously to Germany versus Argentina, Germany won as well, and this time the Giant did it – quite a miracle ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I know, all my doing!
    Thanks for coming to the concert, enjoy the Sinfonia Concertante in March,
    best wishes from New York,

  • The BearMaiden

    Mr. Gerhardt,

    My “Sun” is a student of Roberta’s at his school, and also takes private lessons at Opus. So we were there this evening, and it was a pleasure to hear you play. You play with passion and life and humor, and both my Sun and I enjoyed it tremendously. It’s not often he gets to see other people play, and I enjoyed watching him watch you in rapt attention. As a parent I have to tell you that it’s quite a feat to capture the attention of several young children that way–they didn’t cough or wiggle or stare off at the ceiling.

    And we all thoroughly enjoyed your answers to the children’s questions. You made the music come alive for them, you shared your joy and enthusiasm and inspired them. Thank you!

    Continued success to you!

  • Alban

    Thanks, BearMaiden, thanks for treating your “Sun” with classical music – I know he will profite of that for his entire life to come. Best of luck to you, best wishes,


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