CLASSICAL TRAINING: The Artist as a Young Man
Before he started a cycle of shaving, growing, dying and bleaching, Donnie Deacon's hair was down to his shoulders, long and blonde. Then he cut it short and bleached it. He shaved it all off after a little while, then grew it out in its natural color after that. Today, it's dyed jet black.
In the coffee shop where he's being interviewed, his hair creeps around his boyish face like his head can't decide how to frame itself. His eyes are so dark and intense it's like he's interviewing the interviewer, taking notes in his head. He keeps pushing the hair out of his eyes and slipping it behind his ears. His left ear is pierced with two Celtic hoops reminiscent of Glasgow, Scotland, his home until two years ago, when he came to Philadelphia.
Later, at 10 a.m., early in a day-long interview when school was still in session, Deacon talks to a friend in the lobby of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a violin student until recently. Deacon completed two years of school at Curtis before being offered a job with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada, under the baton of Pinchas Zukerman. While Deacon did not graduate, the school considers him an alumnus, and like all students who leave to pursue opportunities before graduation, he can return at any time to complete his coursework.
Back in the lobby of the Curtis Institute, Deacon, still unshaven, mentions he was up most the night talking with some girl. He went to bed just five hours earlier.
The 22-year-old says it was "an accident" that he plays the violin. When he was 10, the Scottish government took a look at his hands, his arms and his body size and decided a violin was the best fit.