I met Maestro Joseph Silverstein when I was 9 years old. His bushy eyebrows were my favorite feature of his although his sideburns were close runners up. I remember eating a turkey sandwich at the photo shoot. I remember wondering what he was going to eat because he was Jewish and I didn’t know what was and wasn’t allowed for kosher foods. He at a sandwich. I didn’t ask what kind. Did it have a pickle?
Silverstein died Sunday at the age of 83. He was the director of the Utah Symphony for 15 years. He put his hands on my shoulders for a photo which was in the Utah Symphony Magazine in 1989.
I know. You wish you had a bib like me. My mom made that dress, I’ll have you know. It was a favorite of mine. As was the headband. I wore that headband for my school pictures in first grade.
My parents took me to the symphony when I was little. It was a special occasion to wear Sunday best and that included my dress-length London Fog coat. I felt fancy. After the symphony, we went to Snelgrove’s for ice cream.
I’d like to say that the Utah Symphony has always been a part of my life. On the day that I was born, Mstislav Rostropovich was the cello soloist on the program that night. World famous cellists didn’t come to little Salt Lake City in 1980. My mom would not miss this. So she sent me to the nursery and hurried out into the night to the concert.
Eighteen years later, Rostropovich came back again to Salt Lake. Mom and I went together.
I have a signed and framed copy of this magazine picture. Silverstein gave it to me as a Christmas present. It was my 15 minutes of fame. Whenever I went to the symphony after that, I felt like I was just a little bit more important than the other patrons because, did that old guy sitting in front of me share a catered lunch with the Maestro?
I think not.
I was honored to have met the virtuoso.