Having a stellar 50-year career as a leading cellist with some of the world’s most famous orchestras is a phenomenal achievement. However, for Dave Loew, his passion for music was a source of torment throughout his childhood which still haunts him to this day.
The 73-year-old recently released his 14th album entitled For the Love of the Cello: A Fifty Year Career Celebration.The 24-track album features some of Dave’s most popular recordings including beautiful ballads Unchained Melody, Annie’s Song and Candle in the Wind.
Famed for his stints in the prestigious Sydney, Melbourne and London Symphony Orchestras, Dave’s talent for the cello emerged when he was just six years old. However, by the time he landed at a boy’s boarding school in Nairobi, Kenya, he was cruelly branded a ‘sissy’ for playing the instrument, and bullied unrelentingly.
Daily torments by school bullies
“There were prefects in the school who tormented me every day about playing the cello,” Dave admits. “It was a sports mad school and I was considered a wimp. Whenever I was in the music room boys would crank the guitars up so I couldn’t hear anymore. Other times they would ride their horses into the dormitories expecting the weaker boys to clean up the mess with their toothbrushes. I used to lie in my bed in fear at night as they’d sometimes come looking for me with cricket bats.
“Back then it was a different era. You were just expected to man up and get on with things, even though I was ringing my mother everyday begging her to come and get me. I was so traumatized that I couldn’t concentrate so my studies suffered. Luckily, I always had my cello to fall back on. I’m not sure what would have become of me if it weren’t for music. I did my best to cope, but it really set off a chain of anxiety within me which has lasted my whole life, leading to PTSD and depression.”
Is your child a bully?
Now a staunch anti-bullying advocate, Dave says it’s important for parents to not only ask their kids if they have been a victim of bullying, but also to quiz them on whether they are the ones doing the bullying.
“Parents really need to question how their child relates to other kids. How do they treat others? Are they kind and respectful to other kids? Do they ever say hurtful things?
“When a child is getting bullied there are often signs – perhaps a child is withdrawn or sad. But if your child is the one doing the bullying, you might not have any idea.”
Dave says it’s important to try to get a sense of who your child is, and to put a stop to any harmful behaviour. “The effects of bullying can be so long lasting if you suspect your child is being unkind to someone you need to sort it out immediately. I’m just glad I never gave up on the cello despite all the teasing about it. I’ve ended up having a fabulous 50 years in music.”
Dave’s album For the love of the Cello: A Fifty Year Career Celebration is available to stream. For the CD or a copy of Dave’s autobiography I Am Cellist visit www.daveloew.com.au