Faculty Friday with Eliezer Gutman
Welcome to this week's Faculty Friday!! For first time readers, our Faculty Friday blog is a series of questions and responses meant to feature instructors from Luzerne Music Center in a unique light. Focusing not only on their professional career, we ask faculty questions that give students and readers a glimpse into their daily lives.
Eliezer Gutman has a unique position at Luzerne Music Center: he is both conductor AND violin faculty for our Junior Session. Having grown up in Israel, Eliezer's conducting and performing has brought him all over the world. During the year, Eliezer conducts the First State Youth Orchestra, which is part of the Music School of Delaware where he also a teaches. On top of that, he has also been successful as a violin teacher at St. Andrews High School. Now switching to his performance side, Eliezer is currently the concertmaster of three orchestras, and for the last fourteen years has been the first violinist of the Copeland String Quartet. We are so excited that he will be joining us for another summer of fantastic music making.
How did you first get connected with LMC? And how many summers have you been on faculty?
I got connected to LMC through Elizabeth Pitcairn. She came to play a solo at the Allentown Symphony, where I serve as concertmaster. It was a year after she became the Artistic Director at Luzerne Music Center, and we spoke about a possibility for me to come and teach. And a year later, I started teaching. This coming summer will be my 7th year at LMC. I really love that place.
What was one of your favorite musical memories growing up?
Growing up I was a member of the Haifa Youth Orchestra in Israel, where I met my wife who played flute at the time. I have so many great memories from that orchestra; traveling abroad almost every summer, having very good friends, and playing chamber music. It was a really fun time.
Who has been one of your biggest music mentors?
I had two important teachers in my life, who actually knew each other well. In Israel I studied with Avigdor Zamir for several years. Avigdor was an incredible violinist and teacher and had taught many great violinists. I studied lots of violin repertoire with him, and we even played chamber music together. After coming to the United States, I studied with David Arben - Assistant Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra for many years. I feel that Mr. Arben really gave me the foundation of being a disciplined violinist. Intonation and rhythm are essential, taking care of each and every musical note to be played like a "pearl". Each note needs to have "life". The right hand is extremely important, almost as important as intonation of the left hand.
You are both a conductor and violin teacher, what are your favorite aspects of both? Or in your opinion what is the biggest difference between the two?
I enjoy both conducting and teaching. Obviously each has it's challenges. The rewarding part of conducting the Junior Session orchestra is seeing the improvement from week to week. It's really very satisfying. I can see in the eyes of the students that they want to do well. They want the concert to be a success.
And the same you can say about teaching private students, seeing their growth and their improvement is every teachers dream. The difference is that in an orchestra, since there are so many students, the impact that I can make teaching privately is so much greater than a large number of students and instruments.
If you are not conducting/studying or playing violin, what might we find you doing?
I like reading, I like cooking, I do not like watching TV, I like spending time with my wife and daughter since our son moved out. Do you prefer salty snacks or sweet snacks?
I prefer salty snacks.