To give you a little glimpse of what it’s like to work with Barbara Stein Mallow, cello faculty and alum Gwen Krosnick (pictured above with Barbara) shares some of her reflections from this summer:
Here is what you gather about Barbara moments into being with her – whether in a chamber music coaching, in the audience, or in conversation with her, eyes aglow with her rapturous love of music: there is no end to the belief she has in those around her, in music, and in the great, life-affirming things that happen when people make music together.
She is a person whose utter joy in music-making, whose encouragement, and whose example have been a touchstone to me and to so many other KH alums; and hers is a voice I often hear as an anchor back to what matters most: how can I communicate all that I love so much about this piece? How can I make every moment of it mean something wondrous, human, meaningful, and irreplaceable? These questions – the big, juicy wonders and thrills of why we make music and share it with others – are at the core of what Barbara is about, what she communicates as a cellist, and what she shares with the students who are lucky enough to work with her.
It has been many years now since I was a Young Artist at Kneisel Hall, soaking up Barbara’s wonderful coachings. So at the final Second Session YA Concerts, I sat in rapt, joyful awe as I heard her influence in performances by two wonderful Young Artist groups: an exuberant, brilliantly played, heart-on-sleeve rendition of the Mozart C major Trio, and a deep, heartbreaking, masterfully-navigated Verklärte Nacht of Schoenberg. In both cases, I felt Barbara’s hand not simply in how beautifully the groups played, but in how supported and free the YAs felt to be their most personal and expressive selves: in the courage, joy, and emotional bravery with which these extraordinary young people played as they shared their first journeys with these difficult, wondrous masterpieces. It was deeply touching.
Barbara’s teaching, as with her playing, not only gets at the most intelligent, profound heart of the matter but it unleashes us, too – it gives us access to emotional landscapes beyond our wildest dreams, and yet brings us home again because these landscapes are indeed our own.
She captures all that Kneisel Hall means – joy, connection, deepest love and study of music – and I feel very fortunate to be part of this place alongside her.
With deepest love and admiration,