Thanks to a dear friend of mine, Linda Plaut, (thanks, Linda!), I discovered that Clara Schumann first performed Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto when she was 49 years old. It was for this performance that she also wrote her own cadenza for the first movement. In her diary, on November 3, 1868, Clara wrote, "I played Beethoven's C minor Concerto for the first time (almost unbelievable) with real delight. I composed a cadenza for it and I believe it is not bad". On May 1st, I will have the honor of performing this same concerto with the New River Valley Symphony and a few months ago, before discovering this diary entry, I had decided to use Clara's cadenza because personally, I find it far more intriguing, compelling, and interesting than Beethoven's own cadenza. Now that I know that I have learned of Clara's mature age when she first performed this work, it makes me feel like this is all meant to be. For me, this performance marks a turning point in my life. Since graduating from Eastman, I haven't felt like I've really been putting my training to good use - I've just been dabbling in life, which is understandable and all fine and good. I got married, worked in non-musical jobs, did some freelance music work here and there, had a baby which really put life on hold...Now I feel like my musical life is truly starting and for me it is an extraordinarily thrilling moment. I am playing music all of the time and practicing all the time. I'm exhausted, but it's all ok by me. Bring it on! So like Clara, I imagine that my experience on May 1st, will be an "unbelievable" one and one filled with "real delight". And I will have Clara to thank for that, partly, but also all of my friends, family, and colleagues that have encouraged me through the years! Thank you!!!! Oh, and if you happen to be in the Blacksburg area on May 1st, come hear the concert :-) I'd love to see you there.