Classical musicians seldom get to feel like rock stars. But violinist Stephen Miahky got that chance while still a doctoral student at Rutgers University. The Dalai Lama was touring the U.S., and Miahky and another doctoral student were invited to perform for him. It became Miahky’s U2 moment, since he performed in a football stadium.
“I was very odd to see my image projected on one of those giant Jumbotrons,” says Miahky. “The Dalai Lama was sitting very close, and he was incredibly generous after the performance.”
On Saturday, Miahky will present another memorable concert when he makes his official debut as first violinist of the Blair String Quartet. He follows a local legend, violinist Christian Teal, who retired from the Blair School of Music and the Blair String Quartet after a resoundingly successful 42-year tenure.
“Obviously those kinds of jobs don’t come along very often, since Chris was in his job for 42 years.”
An Akron, Ohio native, Miahky was teaching at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University prior to moving to Nashville. He brings an exceptional academic background to the job, having received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Rutgers University. One of his teachers was Arnold Steinhardt, a violinist with the legendary Guarneri Quartet.
“I went to Rutgers in part to study with Arnold Steinhardt,” says Miahky. “The influence of the Guarneri Quartet was tremendous, I learned a lot about the repertory by listening to the Guarneri Quartet’s many historic recordings.”
Miahky’s performance with the Blair Quartet will feature a diverse program that includes Mozart’s Quartet in E-flat, K. 428, Janacek First Quartet “Kreutzer Sonata” and Mendelssohn’s Quartet Op. 44, No. 1. The free performance starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 at Ingram Hall.