23 Aug 2011

A Strad's Moveable Feast

Wonder what our musicians do when they’re on vacation? Here’s a guest post from violinist David Park about a recent trip to France.
david park
As an aspiring violinist, one’s dream is to become the ultimate artist. Since I could not become the next Heifetz, the next best thing for me was to be influenced by his tutelage. For six months, I was under his spell and rather than feeling like a prince, I felt like a pebble next to a Mt. Everest. For me, it is not matter of me becoming like someone, nor about being famous. It is all about connecting- connecting with the music and the people.
Well, that particular connection was certainly felt in one of my concerts in France earlier this year. I performed a concert at the capital of fine wine- Bordeaux, France. And I thought it was suitable to bring one of the great Strads ‘Firebird’ ca 1718 to arguably the greatest wine region on this planet. What I felt during that performance, with the audience, was something very special indeed; it was inexplicable. The only explanation was that being in that special place, my soul was in full harvest. For me, wine is interrelated with music; and being a Francophile and a wine lover, this was an ultimate experience.
While in Bordeaux, I was inducted as Commandeur d’Honneur for an exclusive wine society called Commanderie du Bontemps de Medoc et des Graves this summer in Bordeaux, France. It took place during the bi-annual international exposition for wine called Vinexpo. And the ceremony took place at the main event of the exposition called Fete de la Fleur. I felt very humbled being the only Korean-American and musician out of 15 countries that were represented; other honorees were Ambassadors of China, Japan, Netherlands, and Malta to France, and CEOs of major companies.
During the week of festivities, close to 50,000 wine professionals came from all over the world. In one of the soirees at Ch Branaire, there were representatives from Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Switzerland, Russia, Croatia, Canada, Great Britain, and US – literally it felt like an UN party! And my job was to match the wine and feast with the music (not an easy task considering I tasted nearly 50 wines of the extraordinary ’10 vintage Bordeaux all day). Another memorable event that week was the Les Cinq tasting event and meeting its distinguished proprietors. This group is formed by leading chateaux from four different appellations in Bordeaux – Branaire-Ducru (St-Julien), Smith Haut Lafitte (Grave), Canon La Gaffeliere (St Emilion), and Gazin (Pomerol). Owners of these prestigious chateaux are some of the most distinguished aristocrats from France and Germany.
I think in the end, whether it is an epicurean, musical, or any experience, it is all about connecting with the seat of the soul.