Sunday, March 07, 2010

Patricia Travers

The New York Times refers to Patricia Travers as the "violinist who vanished" in her obituary. She grew up in a world where there was a great deal of competition and a great deal of audience support. She had the advantage of having a great fiddle, a great deal of family support, and she got a chance to be in the movies.

It is a shame that her 1951 Ives recording was never re-released. Perhaps Sony (who I believe holds the rights for CBS recordings) will reissue it.

Making a career in the musical world as a grown-up is difficult. It is especially difficult for soloists, and was especially difficult for woman during much of the 20th century. Critics had far too much power, and some seemed to pride themselves on ruining careers. Managers also had far too much power over musicians.

Not being able to get concerts is as good a reason as any to "vanish," even if you don't mean to. Consider the case of Michael Rabin (be sure to scroll down to the article posted by Michael Waiblinger). Competence and passion do not necessarily breed lasting success in the musical world. Success in the musical world as a child does not give anyone a ticket to success as an adult, but I believe that it is terribly unfair to compare a grown-up child prodigy unfavorably to the way s/he played as a child. That child probably gave up a large part of his or her childhood for your pleasure.

She reminds me a little of the young Leila Josefowicz (who is nine in this video).

Now we have people playing Mendelssohn at 5 and Sarasate at 6. I wonder what the future will hold for this amazingly-competent violinist. I hope that she gets a great education and remains a musician out of choice. Who knows what kind of a world she will experience as an adult.


Anonymous said...

Patricia Travers was a great violinist. The cause of dropping out of sight remains a mystery to this day. Travers is with the Lord.

Anonymous said...

My aunt was a student at Curtis, in Philadelphia, with Patricia. My aunt was also a child prodigy who stopped playing at a relatively young age (just after college): i wish I knew what made her stop. She died in 2000 and I suppose I will never know the answer. I have her autograph book from 1944. Patricia wrote a note in it and also included is a news clipping of Patricia's photograph (with her violin) and the caption reads "Patricia Travers, 18, has her big moment".

Anonymous said...

I have no clue about Patricia Travers gave up the violin around month or months before or after Laurence Tureaud, best known as Mr. T was born.

Tom Barrister said...

Travers retired from the stage in 1951 to help her family with their business interests.

Anonymous said...

Travers has cousins of some sort.