The Judith And Sheldon Korones Memorial Fellowship

REBECA RATHLEF, violin - The Judith And Sheldon Korones Memorial Fellowship

Rebeca Rathlef, violin

The Judith And Sheldon Korones Memorial Fellow

Given by their children, David Korones and Susan Korones Gifford



Q: Tell us about your background – family, early childhood, hometown life.

A: I grew up in a small town of Brazil, approximately 2 hours away from São Paulo. My grandfather, Mr. Winfried Rathlef, taught me how to play the violin. My grandfather knew how to construct instruments, and he also taught most of them. I used to have lessons almost every day, because we lived in the same street.  I have to admit, at first, I didn’t like the violin. The love for the music came a few years later, when I joined a Suzuki School. There I met friends that shared with me their dreams of becoming a musician, and that inspired me. We played together in concerts, in orchestra, and in solo recitals. We had so much fun watching and supporting each other. It was a very important season of my musical development. It was when my love for the music started to grow. After that, I pursued a musical career by going to a university in the big city of São Paulo. 


Q: The age-old question, when did you start playing your instrument? 

A: I started when I was 6, when I moved to my grandparent’s town. It was in my father’s heart that I would learn an instrument. Therefore, I started with my grandfather on the violin. 


Q: What impact has music had on your life, up to this point?

A: This is a hard question to answer. Even if I put in a lot of thought, I wouldn’t be able to measure all the impact music has had on my life. The impact has just been too great. 

It changed the way I understand myself as a citizen, as an individual and as a member of society. On another level, music is the way I can better express myself, and it is also how I communicate in a way that I wouldn’t be able to by other means. Music is also where I grow up, struggle by struggle. It’s where I make myself stronger to overcome the difficult times. 

Music changed the course of my life from a countryside city in São Paulo to big cities in the USA, to playing with well-known names and performing amazing masterpieces. 

Hopefully in a few years, I’ll be able to answer this question in a simpler and faster way. But now I’ll just quote a dear friend of mine, that once said “I don’t know what I would do without it.”