Good morning Benjamin,
You don’t know me but I have come to know you over the last 6 weeks having been fortunate enough to have discovered your masterclasses on the YouTube channel.
I am a 62 years young Englishman and it was my Father’s deep hope many years ago that one day I would follow him and understand and feel his considerable passion for Classical music. Many well intended attempts were made – as everybody else it seems I had many years of violin lessons and I was taken to lots of concerts at the Cheltenham Town Hall. Gustav Holst had attended my school and so the pursuit was relentless -Sadly I couldn’t “get it”
I never connected with what Classical music was all about in this time or since – nobody ever explained the tonal structure of the music in terms I could relate to. The significance of the circle of fifths – dominant/ tonic….matching notes to feelings. In short Classical music seemed to be a box that would remain forever locked away from my heart.
So it is to say a massive heartfelt thank you that I write today – shiny eyes, one bottom playing, breathing life into musical pieces that had long become mechanically dead, the videos!!! – your words and actions have literally broken off the Gordian knot on the box and revealed a whole new world to me. Life expanding…. It’s been five decades in the coming but now I have heard the light – and my how it is utterly fascinating!
I wish you a speedy recovery! Your work has ignited this soul’s energy and having just become a Grandfather for the first time I hope I will be able pass this on to my grandchildren articulated in words and actions that are “sound” relevant
Bravo sir bravo – You are one true lock buster of a person!
A few days ago, I ran into this image of a meadow which was blooming last spring at Hauser & Wirth in Somerset, which reminded me of the texture of your beautiful garden on Brattle street. I want to share it with you because these colors inspired me joy, the same joy that I experienced at your driveway concerts. I was there almost every Sunday, and they helped me in dealing with my loneliness and sadness during the lockdown. Thank you very much for that, it has been like receiving a gift every week.
My best wishes
Hello Maestro Zander,
On sunny warm days we expect to hear lovely music flowing from your open doors, streaming across your lawn to us. Such joy.
And on special days, a rehearsal in your backyard and a concert in your driveway.
You bring us the gift of music and the optimism of your delightful smiles.
We’ve wondered why it’s been so quiet recently.
And now, sadly, we know the reason.
So, here we are, sending you our wishes for a speedy recovery.
All the best,
Cathy and Steve
I’m so sorry to learn of your injury! Glad to hear, though, that the surgery went well, you’re on the mend, and you’re keeping busy. This really hasn’t been the year any of us expected, no?
The four of us have basically been homebound since March but, except for my wife’s mild bout with Covid in April, we’ve been mercifully free of illness or injury during that time.
Speaking of Becca, I thought you’d like to know that I introduced her to Elgar’s Symphony no. 1 a couple of weeks ago through the BPO recording from 2016 (one of the finest performances I’ve heard of anything, anywhere) and she loved it. Now I’ll just need you to program/record the Second, if you could!
Also, I’ve been doing a lot of yard work of late (Worcester will take away your leaves if you put them in the street – and we have an obscene number of trees on our property) and today I was serenaded for part of my labors by a recording of the BPYO’s Shostakovich 10 from almost two years ago. I can hardly believe that 1) it’s been that long and 2) a youth orchestra can play Shostakovich like they do. It’s astonishing, really (and I say that 24 months and one Brazil tour after the fact).
Anyhow, I look forward to catching up with you in-person again – hopefully much sooner than later. Can’t tell you how much I miss hearing live music, especially the BPO and BPYO.
I hope your rehab goes smoothly and that you’re able to be back home soon!
“How strange it is that the past is so little understood and so quickly forgotten. We live in the most thoughtless of ages. Every day headlines and short views. I have tried to drag history up a little nearer to our own time in case it should be helpful in the present difficulties.” (Winston S. Churchill)
“He’s not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.” (John Donne)
“I have only a second rate brain, but I think I have a capacity for action.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
A little personal video greeting from the Netherlands, for a speedy recovery! Please look here.
(It was too big to send through mail, so I had to upload it…)
All the best from Amsterdam!
Mt Auburn will never be the same. I can see you holding court and opening the eyes and ears of all the fabulous staff there. Don’t linger…get your work done and get the hell home!
I just watched your B 5 fourth mvmt with Meredith. Nobody else can do what you are doing, so thank your surgical team, listen to the nurses, and “run” for it…we need you!
Thinking of you, wishing you steady and solid recovery, knowing that YOU CAN DO IT!!
HUGE hugs and boatloads of love,
I’ve heard you’ve recently taken a fall and are recovering from a surgery. I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope that your recovery is going well. I’m sure you’re staying busy with all kinds of projects and thinking about scores in your head.
I love following the concert series that you’ve created in your driveway. What an incredible concept! To see it flourish and to see how many people are attending is so wonderful. Congrats on creating such a wonderful experience for the Cambridge community during these difficult times!
Things in Chattanooga are going exceptionally well and I’ve remained quite busy since I’ve arrived. I’ve come to realize that the location doesn’t matter, it’s the person that remains busy with all kinds of work and projects! I miss Boston dearly! How I wish we had BPO & BPYO rehearsals to look forward to every week. I’m hoping that this COVID situation will settle as soon as it can so that we can resume our beautiful work of nourishing the souls of the people that come to our concerts.
Thank you for everything that you’ve taught me about what it means to be a musician. I am taking those things and using them everyday when I work with the young musicians of the Chattanooga Youth Symphony. Before I arrived, I don’t think they ever knew what it meant to communicate and perform like artists.
Please send my regards to Angelica and Neil, as well as everyone else (Amanda, Elisabeth, Mark, etc…). I hope that I can catch up with you over the phone sometime soon. I’m sure we have plenty to catch up on. Actually, this week will be my premiere performance with the Chattanooga Symphony for Veteran’s Day. I’ll be sure to update you with how that goes.
Sending you all of my best from Chattanooga!
I’ve learned some sad news about your bad injury. Thank god it was a picture of you at the second email, where you are smiling. And it gives me and all people who love you a belief and hope that you will get better soon!!!
It’s amazing and ever encouraging to see your shining eyes and unshakable spirit!
I’m so grateful that I saw you recently and played for you and can’t wait for an opportunity to see you when visitors will be allowed.
Thinking of you and sending you good vibes for the fastest recovery.
This is Janis Fox, daughter of the late Jerry( Gerald) and Florence Fox.
I was sorry to get this notice that you had taken a fall, but so very relieved that you continue to be upbeat, optimistic, and productive! I know that if my parents were still alive, they would join me in wishing you a speedy and complete recovery.
I love the photo they sent of you….beaming from your bed, and busy on your laptop! Your passion, and positive energy continue to shine, despite your circumstances.
Sometimes an accident like this….one that forces you to slow down, and experience life from a different perspective….can actually open one’s eyes and heart to things we otherwise may not have seen or appreciated. I certainly hope that is the case for you, and that you emerge from this “ adventure” that much wiser than you went into it!
With my very best regards, and best wishes,
P.S. Curious to hear what music you are listening to to help promote your recovery! Do tell! Of course, I’m hoping (and assuming!) Mahler is on the playlist!
What a shock to read what happened to you! That’s a hell of a way to reach a double bar. But of course, for you it’s not a double bar, but only a brief intermezzo. I understand you are already working from your rehab bed. Con spirito— as always!
Wish you as speedy a recovery as possible. Wish I could help. Let me know if I can.
Wishing you the best,
Ben! Maestro! Only a small portion of your magic is wrapped in the reality that enables someone who has never met you, comfortably to think of you simultaneously in both those categories: Ben, and Maestro. This of course is the way you bring music so widely into the world.
Bernstein could only be “Lenny” to his most intimate friends and associates.
I am only Harry, your near-contemporary, poet and longtime teacher in the Writers’ Program at UCLA. Perhaps my highest accolade came when a couple of my students declared me to be the “Ben Zander of Creative Writing.” They were of course wrong to do so. There can only be one Ben Zander of anything. I am only inspired pedagogically by you.
I refrain from declaring: “How fascinating” to see that you’re stuck there, off your feet, isolated and repairing. You must find it stunning to be forced to banish so much physical motion from your daily functioning.
And I shall prematurely restrain my tendency to wax on with personal appreciation for what you are to music, before it begins to seem the least bit elegaic. Elegy is for endings. Your patent energy is one of perpetuity. Please do remain perpetual, Dear Ben.
We all hope and expect to see you up again and soon, on your feet, summoning music back into your driveway, inspiring it from all of those performers you encounter from your podia and recital halls, whose shining eyes seem always to surround you.
Very best well-wishes,
I was so sorry to hear about your fall! I do hope you aren’t in too much pain. Why am I not surprised to learn that you are handling the situation brilliantly?! Just because you are forced to rest your legs until they heal doesn’t mean you can’t use your mind and your creativity! I hope that the Philharmonic will continue to update its members on your progress, and I send you my warmest wishes for your recovery.
With fondest regards and memories of your driveway concerts,
Dear Mr. Zander,
You are an inspiration to us all. Your smile is contagious and heartwarming.
I know that this slip on the slippery steps to the outdoor grill will not impede your get-well progress. You have got what it takes. As Franco Rinaldi the spaghetti man who advertised on TV used to say, “As I got older, I got better!”
All the very best to you,
Mary C. Spiers
(one of your many, millions of friends and well-wishers)