This preview has been provided by the Greensboro Symphony.

by David Nelson

Three generations of this very musical family will share the stage. Dima will play the violin and conduct. His mother, Bella Davidovich, will play piano, and his daughter, Julia Sitkovetsky, will sing. And to show that non-family members can also be world-class performers, past musical director Stuart Malina will play the harpsichord and also conduct.

The two works for orchestra by themselves will be conducted by Stuart. Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 will open the concert and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba will start the second half. It is the rest of the concert that will feature Dima and his family in a myriad of musical combinations!

Sitkovetskys Everywhere

Mozart’s aria “L’amerò, sarò costante” from his opera Il Re Pastore will be sung by Julia with the violin obbligato part played by Dima. Stuart will conduct. Then Julia will sing a motet by Vivaldi, but this time Stuart will play harpsichord and Dima will conduct. And to end the concert, Bella and Dima will play Haydn’s Concerto for Piano and Violin with Stuart conducting. One might need a score card to keep track of who is doing what.

Of course, Dima and Bella are well known to Greensboro audiences, but this will be the first appearance here by Julia Sitkovetsky. When I asked the proud father about his daughter’s musical upbringing, he could hardly restrain his enthusiasm. “Of course she grew up in a completely musical household. Her mother, Susan, was singing, her grandmother (Bella) was playing piano, and I was playing violin and conducting. She couldn’t avoid being surrounded by music. She was always involved with music at her schools, and sang in choirs and in musicals. Julia was also in lots of plays.”

Musical Genes

When there are such successful members of a family in the same profession, one wonders if they would want the next generation to pursue that same career. Dima’s answer to this was somewhat surprising. “I was hoping that she would not go on the musical path professionally because it is a hard life and she would have to make a lot of sacrifices. And she was getting such a wonderful education at St. Paul’s School in London. But somehow the musical genes spoke loudly.”

Julia’s familial tendency towards music was not only recognized by Dima, but also by the music teacher at St. Paul’s who suggested that the young singer audition for Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw. The fourteen-year-old Julia was cast as Flora (the girl), and went on to perform it at the prestigious Glyndebourne Opera House. This was hardly what Dima had in mind when he did not want her to pursue music as a career.

Choosing Music over Psychology

Dima continued by saying “so she was pushed on stage pretty early.” And then he laughed as he reiterated “and I was still hoping that she would not choose music as a profession.” A little while later, the father had a moment of gratitude when Julia was accepted by three universities to study psychology. “I thought this was great. But then, what did she do but take a year off to work on her music. She then applied to five universities, including Oxford, to study music, and she was accepted in all five. At this point, any kind of resistance from me was pointless!” She is still at Oxford, one of England’s great universities.

Julia’s career in the United States has included a wonderful performance last summer at the Newport Music Festival. One of the promoters who heard her there immediately contacted GSO President Lisa Crawford to recommend that Dima’s daughter sing with the Greensboro Symphony.

And so Julia will be the third generation of this talented family to perform with the orchestra this Thursday and Friday. It is clear that those musical genes are quite special.