Music’s hieroglyph is so light and so furtive, it is so easy to lose or misinterpret it, that the most beautiful symphony would not have such a great effect if the infallible and sudden pleasure of the pure and simple sensation were not infinitely above an often equivocal expression. Painting shows the object itself, poetry describes it, music barely induces an idea. Music only has resources in the intervals and duration of sounds; and what analogy is there between this kind of sketch, and the spring, the darkness, the solitude, etc., and most objects? How is it then that out of the three forms of art that imitate nature, the one of which the expression is the most arbitrary and the least precise is the one that speaks most strongly to the soul? Could it be that, in portraying objects less precisely, it leaves more room for our imagination; or that needing jolts to be moved, music is more able than painting and poetry to cause in us this tumultuous effect?
At the end of my studies at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, it seemed natural to begin a DMA (Doctorate in Musical Arts). Yet another degree, more time spent in school, but that didn’t matter to me. After six years in the Netherlands, I wanted to go back home for at least a few years and, more importantly, I felt I still had much to learn. I had not yet mastered the academic aspect of historical performance practice, and working towards a doctoral dissertation seemed the best way to achieve this. The program at the University of Toronto seemed appropriate: three solo recitals, a thesis about half the size of a traditional musicology Ph.D. dissertation, and access to one of the best music libraries. I also knew very well the teacher I wished to study with, and thanks to her, I found the perfect subject for my thesis.