I remember Stephen as a compassionate, patient, and careful professor who gave me invaluable insight into how to play the violin professionally, and also how to teach it well. Each lesson I teach now, 35 years later is still based in many ways upon his ideas and procedures, and during each performance I give, some of the techniques for accuracy and relaxation that I bring to the concert derive from his models. Knowing how many students he reached over his years as a teacher, I can think of few recent violinist/teachers who have had such a long-reaching influence. And he made these contributions gently, with care, and with support. He never needed to tear me down in order to make me stronger. I will always be glad I encountered him in my life and gained from his perspectives and insights. I send my heartfelt condolences to Linda and his family, who were so close to him always. I hope there is comfort in knowing that his impact upon the world was significant for many years. For Linda, I am including this poem I composed upon my own father's passing in 2005. I hope it offers some comfort in its perspective.
Golden Gate Bridge
Here I go!
Take one last look—for memories,
one last breath—as a push forward,
What's done is done!
It's just a step now,
and a small one at that.
No, I'll leave “and then what?” to those behind.
I'm suddenly side-by-side with everything!
ready to know!
once again new, eager!
What a feeling!
I couldn't look back if I tried!
I'm off . . . and dancing!
(Jonathan Sturm, 2005)