An Interview with Wharton Arts faculty member Robert Radliff
A native of New York City, Robert Radliff has appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras in Florida, New York, and New Jersey and has collaborated with some of the world’s most iconic musical figures including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Jamie Laredo, among others. He is currently the concertmaster of the South Orange Symphony and performs as section violinist with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, an orchestra-in-residence at Carnegie Hall, and the Berkshire Opera Festival in Great Barrington, MA. Radliff is on the violin faculty at the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp in Cazadero, CA. Read more here.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
A: Human beings are very interesting creatures. We generally learn through the act of being taught by someone who’s done it before, so being a teacher really makes you think about how you impact others. I truly feel that’s why teaching is one of the single most important acts we can do to pay it forward, and I think about that a lot with my students. I really enjoy knowing I’m helping spread the joy of music.
Q: How has the pandemic changed teaching for you?
A: As with almost every aspect of our lives, the pandemic has certainly tested my abilities to teach properly. String instruments are particularly physical in nature, so not having the ability to adjust hands and fingers in-person has been tough. All teachers, no matter the field, have been forced to exercise lots of extra creativity to get the job done. Coming up with new expressions and metaphors to articulate what I need to get across has been one of the things I adopted early on.
Q: Favorite work for the violin?
A: How does anyone have only one favorite!? There are too many gems, and that’s a tough question to answer.
Q: How are you keeping sane during COVID-19?
A: I was doing a lot of yoga at the beginning of the pandemic and dabbling in painting and making some art projects for myself. I also recorded an album (soon to be released), so I’ve been doing a fair amount of practicing as well!