Here, in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Tri-State area, we had a thriving chamber music community, organized by the indefatigable, one-of-a-kind, Andy Wolf—bass player/cellist, retired from the Cincinnati Symphony, and his wife, Emily. (Andy was also an entrepreneur, who purchased 17 houses around Cincinnati’s Music Hall, at a time when Over-the-Rhine property costs were low, but no one except Andy was interested in rehab projects in that historic neighborhood. (How times have changed, $$$$$!!) All while simultaneously running a restaurant catering to symphony and opera patrons and being part owner of our main string instrument repair business—The Bass Viol Shop.
Andy passed on about ten years ago, almost arriving at year 100, but, almost as if he were still with us, I can hear his voice over the phone: “Look—we’re all going to be locked in. Come to my house, bring a suitcase. We can play every day until this passes!” I, and all his friends, would have rushed over to his house (with indoor swimming pool-- which, of course, he built.) And indoor banana trees, with bananas! (No swim suits allowed!)
His widow sold the house. Our group dispersed, passed on, retired from playing. But we had about 20 years of phone calls, inquiring: “What are you doing tonight?” And he would prepare fantastic gourmet dinners and after-desserts. And always, as we were walking out the door, exhausted from having been persuaded to play two quartets too many,, Andy would say: “Hey—what are you doing tomorrow?” We’d always say, “Sure! What time?”
It was a privilege to be his musical friend! Haven’t played in a quartet since…
Donald H., Cincinnati