"I've never come across anything like the [Eugene Fodor Jr.] situation in my 30 years here," says Walter Pierce, director of the Bank of Boston Celebrity Series, which brings many prominent classical acts to town. "Generally, classical musicians are pretty disciplined. They have to be to achieve that amount of success. I've never met anybody who I've ever gotten the feeling was involved in marijuana, cocaine or heroin."
last Thursday at the Vineyard Harbor Motel, where, police say, he was found with 24 grams of cocaine, heroin, a hypodermic needle and a dagger. At his arraignment, the 39-year-old violinist -- who had won a silver medal in the International Tchaikovsky Competition at age 24, recorded with RCA, performed at the White House and made numerous television appearances -- offered his 300-year-old violin to guarantee bail. His offer was refused and bail was set at $50,000 cash. Fodor was released on his own recognizance Monday. Fodor's lawyer, Michael Altman, of the Boston firm of Silverglate Gertner Fine & Good, says that Fodor entered a drug rehabilitation program Tuesday night.
Even with that explanation, Fodor's situation continues to stun classical musicians simply because drug abuse is such an unusual phenomenon in the rarefied world of serious music. Musicians say that a classical artist must have a clear head and steady hand to manage the intricacies of the music, even just adequately. A fuzzy head and unsteady hand make a good performance almost impossible. For that reason, they say, while there may be occasional, casual use of soft drugs like marijuana and alcohol among classical musicians seeking to escape the pressures of the profession, stories like Fodor's, involving drug addiction or the use of harder substances like cocaine and heroin, are rare.