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Musical And Marital Harmony On Display At Tanglewood

Sixteen of the 17 married couples.
Hilary Scott
Sixteen of the 17 married couples.

Musical and marital harmony are combining at Tanglewood this weekend.Bruce Kozuma met his wife Livia Racz in the early 1990s when they were both performing in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Twenty-five years later they are still with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and married.

“Marriages are founded upon common interests and shared values,” Kozuma said. “Music and the love of music and the love of performing music at a very high level I think is one of the foundations of our marriage.”

And apparently their story isn’t uncommon. In fact, 17 married couples will be performing in a Tanglewood concert on Saturday.

You can count Cathy Basrak and her husband Tim Genis among the lovebird couples.

“The idea that there are so many married couples involved a production is fantastic,” Basrak said. “We were aware of all of the couples within the orchestra, but it’s neat to see that there as just as many within the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the soloists and Maestro Nelsons as well.”

As Basrak mentioned, the BSO’s music director Andris Nelsons will be conducting his wife Kristine Opolais. She will sing the title role in Verdi’s opera Aida. Genis had been a timpanist with BSO for about seven years when he met Basrak.

“I had never seen her before and so I thought she was a sub,” Genis said. “That was the first thing I asked her.”

That didn’t exactly hit a high note with Basrak, but it didn’t end the song either.

“I was probably a bit perturbed by his comment, but…” said Basrak.

“I was flustered!” Genis chimed in.

“It didn’t prevent us from becoming very good friends and continuing the relationship after that.”

“We were friends for quite a while and then one thing led to another and here we are,” Genis said. “Married with kids.”

Genis does remember the first time he played with his future wife, though, as a member of the Boston Pops.

“That’s probably when I had a better view of Cathy because the timpani is up and to the right and I could look across the stage and see her face,” said Genis.

Kozuma and Racz got to know each other through a couple of chorus dinners, but it took Racz’s intentions to move to Germany to spark something more.

“That was the cue for me to say ‘Oh I had always wanted to talk you’ because know the pressure was off and I was never going to see her again,” Kozuma said. “Low and behold she shows back up after coming back for Christmas break. Lucky for me that none of her closer friends were around so she came to dinner with myself and some of my friends. Things kind of proceeded from there.”

The BSO says the concert was not planned to showcase marital bliss. A staffer just happened to notice it. Basrak, the assistant principal violist, says she and her husband sometimes take performing together for granted.

“It’s something that we have the opportunity to share and also support each other whether it’s through solicited criticisms or help in preparation for solos or another of importance that we have coming up,” said Basrak.

Kozuma and Racz say there are even more married couples, they just aren’t performing Saturday.

“It could be up to 20,” said Racz.

Saturday’s performance begins at 8 p.m.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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