When the experts look at my new viola there is a common sequence of expression. The first glance is cursory, the second is confused, the third is indignant disbelief, but the final stare is that of a connoisseur's appreciation of rare beauty.
"Masumi! Stop abusing your viola and play with more deliciousness!" My viola mother, Karen Tuttle -- who smacked students soundly on their butts in master classes -- taught me to cherish my relationship with my viola and to treat it with love and respect.
Busking -- playing music or improvising in the streets and other public places -- is a fascinating and beautiful tradition that dates back to antiquity. So, it was only fitting that I got my own introduction to this art form on the breathtaking streets of Florence.
I must be crazy. I know that I have a great fiddle but, somehow, 11 years later, I also know that this isn't my final instrument. I am looking for my own beautiful Guad like Bernie still dreams about. I am looking for my final viola...