Any time Aaron Berofsky’s teachers at The Juilliard School performed, he made a point to go see them.
“I liked to listen to what my teachers had to say,” he said. “But I also liked to observe how they work.”
Berofsky, a world-class violinist in his performance prime, has been a full-time faculty member in the Chautauqua School of Music for two years and held his own recital July 14 in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.
As a coach, he works with about 12 students, doing weekly violin sectionals, instructing chamber music groups and string quartets.
He said watching an instructor perform can be beneficial for students who would otherwise only see their teachers play small bits of music during lessons.
“In general, not all faculty perform a lot,” Berofsky said. “If the opportunity is there for them to see a teacher perform, they should come see.”
Lessons are beneficial for students in terms of form and technique, but Berofsky said there is another layer to see. In order to learn how to perform at a recital beautifully for 90 minutes, watching a teacher play can show them how it’s done.
“When I was studying, I always wanted to see faculty perform who I thought played beautifully,” he said.
Beyond enrichment for students, Berofsky said a faculty recital could appeal to the general public.
“Hearing faculty of this music school could be very interesting because the faculty here use a unique repertoire that is very beautiful,” he said.
He said the Mozart sonata he played is, in his opinion, the best Mozart sonata. Coming from a passion for early music, he said his repertoire for the evening included contemporary work, but with a very ancient quality.
“I feel like my early music background informs how I play Mozart, too,” he said.
For July 14’s recital, he was accompanied by Ellen Hwangbo.
“I play with a lot of different people,” Berofsky said. “But if I can, I play with [Hwangbo] a few times a year. She is wonderful to collaborate with because she’s extremely sensitive. I feel like she can read my mind.”
Berofsky is slated to give a master class at 2 p.m. July 15 at McKnight Hall, where students and the public will be able to learn from him actively by observation and instruction.
(Photo by Carolyn Brown.)