Leila Josefowicz In a Classical Mode

The violinist's sixth CD is released

No violinist who fails to attain stardom as a teenager is likely to achieve it later on. Leila Josefowicz got over that hurdle just fine. Her muscular, emotive style started winning accolades with her Carnegie Hall debut, which she played at the age of 16. Since then, she has finished her formal education at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute and played hundreds of A-list bookings. What's more, she's one of the dwindling number of classical artists to enjoy a major-label record contract. In fall 2000, Philips releases her sixth CD, Americana, a winning recital in which she pouts her way through Gershwin's "Summertime," romps through smile-inducing rags by her accompanist John Novacek, and revives a long-forgotten set of humorous variations on "Yankee Doodle" that the Belgian virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps composed in the 1840s.

Now, at the age of 22, Josefowicz has embarked on the next stage of her life's journey. Just over a year ago she married the conductor Kristjan Järvi, a darling of the contemporary-music scene, and last March she gave birth to their first child, Lukas. Balancing personal life, travel, practice, and concerts is challenging ("We spend a lot of time going over our schedules together," she reports), but Josefowicz is setting aside sacrosanct blocks of time for her family to spend in Palm Beach, Florida, where their home typically resounds with jazz and rock recordings. "Everything has unfolded for me in quite a lovely way," she observes, "and as a result, music has never made more sense. Where I used to simply like making music, now I feel it to be something truly important. Having a full emotional life is the best thing for a musician."