One of the two most important influences in Langroise Trio violinist Geoffrey Trabichoff’s life was violinist Sascha Lasserson, a renowned Russian pedagogue. The other — a London taxi driver named Alf.
“He was a kind of freak because he knew more about violin, singing, and ballet, than most professionals do,” Trabichoff said. “It was because he had a terrific interest in those things, so he made a point of going to whatever he could.”
Alf didn’t agree with Trabichoff’s teaching during college. After not listening to Trabichoff play for two years, Alf wrote Trabichoff a letter that was given to him after his senior recital.
“I read this devastating critique of my playing, which he had gathered from us just having talked over the years,” Trabichoff said. “Although I was furious to get it, I realized everything he criticized in the letter was correct.”
While criticism is rarely fun to hear, it can make the difference between achieving dreams and watching them crumble. For Trabichoff, Alf’s letter opened his eyes to the path he needed to follow.
A few days after receiving the letter, Trabichoff called Alf to talk. Alf told him he needed to see Lasserson. While Alf sowed the seeds, it was Lasserson, at the age of 77, who watered Trabichoff.
“He could teach you to do things that you didn’t think you could ever do,” Trabichoff said about the man he describes as his only real violin teacher. “And it would happen in one lesson. He was just remarkable.”
That remarkable teaching led Trabichoff to become concertmaster of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Portugal, the Mannheim Chamber and Hannover State orchestras in Germany, and the B.B.C. Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
After more than two decades as concertmaster, Trabichoff was interested by the three prongs of The College of Idaho’s Langroise Trio job – performing chamber music, being concertmaster of the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra and teaching college students. He subsequently found himself on The College of Idaho campus as a member of the Langroise Trio in 1997.
In nearly 20 years at the College, Trabichoff has mentored countless students and seen several climb into the ranks of the Boise Philharmonic. But one particular student stands out. Perhaps because his story resonates with Trabichoff’s own experiences.
The student came to the C of I as a talented freshman, but he and Trabichoff butted heads at times. Still, Trabichoff worked tirelessly to help fix his vibrato.
One day, the student asked Trabichoff if he was ready to audition for an opening with the Boise Philharmonic.
Trabichoff told him no. The student asked why not.
“And I said, ‘Why would I want someone in my violin section with a vibrato like yours?’” Trabichoff said. “I saw his face change and I thought, that’s it.”
Just as the critique from Alf pushed Trabichoff to become a better player, the criticism the student received inspired him to work harder and listen to his teacher. The effort paid off and he won his audition for the Boise Philharmonic.
“That has been a real success story and he’s a terrific colleague, a terrific violinist, and he’s playing really well,” Trabichoff said.
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.