I'm writing this one with a heavy heart.
A friend of mine, a violinist and conductor named David Bousso, has died. While we weren't close, we were friendly and I always thought of him fondly. We met at Mannes and played many other jobs together, including subbing on tour with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, where we shared many hotel breakfasts and chats about our careers. Freelancers have these conversations with their fellow musicians and take them to heart, and many of the things we said have stayed with me. When a friend leaves you, what are you supposed to do?
We are all still reeling from this news, and the only details we have are that his parents are sitting Shiva in his honor. No details are known yet about how he died and why it was so sudden. Even aside from David, this year has been filled with the premature deaths of several fellow musicians that I have been somewhat familiar with. I'm not listing their names here out of respect for the fact that I hadn't met them and I don't want to use their memories for my personal exposure. I know that some musicians go through this every year, but I'm sad to say that this is my first encounter with this and I am compelled to act, but have no idea what to do with my energy.
Will I go sit Shiva with his family? Somehow, that feels selfish to me. David was a person that I hadn't seen for at least 8 years, but was always happy when I ran into him. He even asked me to play with his orchestra a few times, but it was during a very busy time in my life and I had to say no. I never even got to see him conduct, much less ever saw his family, though I knew he was a native New Yorker. Will I donate money in his name, or to his family for the funeral? Probably, though I don't even know what causes he believed in or if they'll even be taking donations for funeral costs. Funerals are for the living, and will soon be over and gone. How do you truly honor the mark that someone made on a community?
Here's what I remember most about David: he was ambitious because he loved music. He was always asking about which musicians were working in which pits, and which musicians were subbing where, and what would he have to do to make a new project happen. On the level that I knew him, he was moving and shaking because he genuinely loved the bigness of it all, and just wanted to play more. He was never catty, networking for the sake of networking, and was always happy to be wherever he was. He was always kind, and definitely zealous for music. We all know those people who want to be in the know so that they can devour work: David wasn't like that. He just wanted to be in the thick of this wonderful business we are lucky to be in. He talked it, breathed it, played it, and ultimately created it through his promising career as a conductor. I'm sad to say that I've missed him for a while now, and I should have made it a point to say hello and ask to play for him. That's a second chance I'll never get.
For all of you that are sad with me about David, or anyone that's left you recently, let's take some time to remember our loved one for who we was, and sit with the memories we have and how he made us feel, good or bad. Let's pick one lesson we learned from them, one example he set, or one moment we had with him, and find something we can take from it that will make us better people. Let's share that with someone else. Let's give our dearly departed a memorial that we can share in kindness with the people we know, and the people we will meet.
Rest in Peace, David Bousso. November 18, 1983 - June 9, 2018.