Melissa Reiner

Violinist

Watch her 2015 TEDx talk:

How To Listen Like A Musician

@ TEDxLondonBusinessSchool

 

Check out her solo album:

Great Love Constant Thought

Listen / Spotify / iTunes

Thank you Mark Twain...

Welcome aboard the maiden voyage of my blog, A Musician Abroad. For those of you familiar with the magnificent American author and humorist, Mark Twain, I acknowledge my appropriation and tweaking of one of his book titles for my own title. For those of you not yet acquainted with "The Innocents Abroad", I recommend it as a classic in expatriate travelogues.

My purloined title is (mostly) where the Mark Twain comparisons end, although I would be honored to emulate his erudition, wit and talents. I too am American, and although I am also a British citizen and currently dwelling in the glorious mess that is London, I will be using American spellings. Apologies to my British compatriots reading this and wincing at the lack of "our" and zealous use of "z", but as the possible champion of the 5th Grade Spelling Bee (I remember being near triumph and then alas my memory draws a blank - I may have won, I may have lost, but at least I know I can spell in the good ol' US of A), it's best I stick with the spellings I learned as a child.

This is not a David-Copperfield-style bio (the Dickensian hero, not the *ahem* magician). I will not bore readers with less-than-fascinating childish tales which led me to this blog, spelling bee reminiscences aside. Suffice it to say that as a career artist, the love I possess for my chosen field (music: I'm a professional violinist) is equalled by my love for literature. Due to the vagaries of fortune in the music industry, both in Hollywood where I lived for 12 years and now in London, I am not forced to work as often as I should and there is only so much time one can spend perfecting one's violin technique, sunbathing (not often applicable in London, to my everlasting regret) and meeting for lunch/coffee/drinks/nefarious activities/yoga (do you like how I stuck the really healthy thing at the end?) or however else our waking hours are filled. Therefore I read. A lot. I always have been a voracious reader, and in an interview I gave to the local paper at the age of 7 (I know I promised not to refer to my childhood but this is embarrassingly funny) after winning a National Writing Competition for the second time, I told the reporter, "Books are my friends." Luckily for my parents, I did not turn out to be an anti-social psychopath and in fact became an alarmingly (for them) extroverted teenager, thanks to my time in the trenches of Classical Music Summer Festivals. Believe it or not.

After a lifetime of mooning over the words and tales of British authors as varied as Evelyn Waugh, Iris Murdoch, Tolkein, Dickens, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Anthony Burgess, Martin Amis and Graham Greene, I decided to take my British citizenship (hats off to my mother's birthplace) and move to London, where I knew that a career in music was just as feasible as it is in Los Angeles. Although I am miffed to discover that 21st-century London does not really resemble the books I adore (I was hoping for post-WWI decadence), it is still inspiring and tantalizing and a better permanent fit for me than Paris was 13 years ago, when I followed in the footsteps of some of my American literary heroes (I haven't forgotten the gems of my mother country, thank you very much) like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and ran off to improve my French and escape the confines of music conservatory; I am happy to report that I have felt pleasantly unconfined ever since.

I have just completed my first novel (there's that lovely access to free time again - being a musician has so many hidden perks) and while I am beginning to work on my second novel (why not?), it occurred to me that I had more to write about than my fictional characters allow. Hence this blog, which one could think of as a mental smorgasbord that I share with my family, friends, and the curious unknown. As a professional musician who has intimately dissected the nature of another art form besides music, I hope I am uniquely positioned to entertain with language as well. But ultimately I am entertaining myself, which is the foundation of any creative pursuit.

Hence I greet you, dear reader (are you dear? not sure of that yet). Perhaps...Respected Reader: I greet you. If you seek the musings of an American Anglophile, somewhat nomadic violinist for pop/classical/film recordings and performances, literary connoisseur and novelist, then you have found "A Musician Abroad".

Copyright © 2016 Melissa Reiner, All rights reserved. Portrait photos courtesy Tim SwiftDaniella Hovsepian. All other material copyright of their respective owners.