I met Mrs. Koussevitsky in 1976. Not the way most people did though – say at a party, or a donor event, or even a chance meeting at a concert.
When I was a high school student at Tanglewood in 1976, the staff was still telling the students it was perfectly fine to hitch a ride, especially if you were late for rehearsal. I would take them up on it once in a while, and put my thumb out instead of making the one mile walk from our dorms to the Tanglewood property.
One day, a woman in a Model A Ford stopped to pick me up. It's so funny to think back on it now - I thought she must’ve been at least 100 years old (she was actually about 76 at the time, but what does an 18-year old know?). She turned out to be Mrs. Koussevitsky. THE Mrs. Koussevitsky - the third wife of the former Boston Symphony conductor, and founder of Tanglewood, Serge Koussevitsky. He had passed away in 1951, but she would go on to live until early 1978. We had a lovely conversation about Tanglewood, music, and what little else we could squeeze into a five-minute car ride. I’ve never forgotten that chance meeting.
In what felt like a very meaningful event, that chance meeting connected me profoundly to the history of the Boston Symphony, an orchestra I was involved with for many years. No doubt that on some level, that connection was a factor in moving next door to Symphony Hall in Boston over 13 years ago.