You may have heard of Kyoko Selden from her translations of many articles on Talent Education, including a recent new translation of Nurtured by Love.

Kyoko Selden

Kyoko Selden

I first met the Seldens in the late 70s when I was living in Ithaca. They had moved from St. Louis and were living in Binghamton, NY, about an hour away. There were three children: Lili and Ken played violin, and Yumi played both violin and cello (at least until she came to me and I encouraged her to specialize).

Kyoko, the mom, sat in lessons with a kind of Zen presence that I have experienced very rarely: She had an unusual ability to be completely quiet and still, yet fully engaged and involved in the lesson.  Music had a clearly etched place in their daily life—On occasional visits to their home I witnessed the after-dinner review session, where they would play the repertoire. Kyoko would accompany and they would go through all the pieces. They did this day after day—with great verve.

On frequent winter snow days I would wake up to phone calls from many local students who didn’t dare drive up the hill for group class, but the Seldens, who came 50 miles from Binghamton, never missed one, and they were never late.

Fast-forward about 25 years and Yumi and I reconnected on Facebook. She was now married to a mathematician and living in New York City. It was through Facebook that I learned last year that Kyoko had died from complications of pneumonia. Yumi and I had a long talk about her, and we have continued to stay in touch since then. 

Kyoko now has a home in the SAA’s Galaxy of Stars. Since she appeared there, Yumi has written to tell me about her childhood experience with the cello and her mom, and also to tell me that her own four-year-old daughter is now playing cello and can’t wait for her weekly lessons. Kyoko’s husband Mark wrote to tell me that he has fond memories of those years, is the proud grandfather of two cellists, and is spending the year living in New York, 30 meters from Yumi, and deciding about his future moves.

Do you have someone that has touched your life? Consider honoring them by donating a star in the SAA Galaxy of Stars!