Tribute to Zoe from Beatrice Long of LongDuoPiano
1月17日清晨醒來，看到手機上妹妹傳來的消息’‘佐依子不在，黃瑞芬心肌梗塞猝逝’。這幾個字像是晴天霹靂，驚醒愕然之間，直接打黃瑞芬的電話。我們這10幾年她常心血來潮，Facebook Messenger 交談頻繁.我們才不久前談了一個多小時，這怎麼可能呢？瑞芬的手機居然有人回答，我衝動的說:’阿芬！你怎麼了？’ 電話那頭她老公孫華翔肯定了她過世的消息，我的眼淚禁不住的流。瑞芬，你怎麼這麼早就離開我們呢？
能跟黃瑞芬深交，是這輩子難忘的經驗。認識黃瑞芬，是15歲剛進藝專的第一年。她因早讀，比我們同班的都小一歲。但在那個年紀，她已帶著俏皮又好像看破人生的的眼神，比我們都還早熟。她頭腦的反應奇快，而且經常毫無保留的表達她一針見血的觀察力, 這個能力可以讓旁邊的人幾乎如坐針氈，也可以讓人爆笑。 她雖然是主修聲樂，但鋼琴能力很強，尤其是視譜。我最記得她拿著Shostakovich交響樂改編的四首聯彈和我視奏。她做音樂的intensity, 強烈又熱情的個性留給我很深的印象。我藝專二年級上學期就去了美國, 所以我們當同學的日子並不長。
1992年我去倫敦和傅聰老師學琴四個月，那年瑞芬正好有一年的獎學金住在巴黎。我從英國坐渡船過了英吉利海峽，再坐火車去巴黎和瑞芬相遇. 發現她住的公寓裡貼滿了她的畫的素描，色彩繽紛。我在英國時聽傅聰熱衷於討論作曲家Berlioz 的自傳。沒想到在法國看到瑞芬積極的以原文-法文讀這本書,而且還嘗試想把法文翻成中文。我當時更深入了解黃瑞芬的才華！她說白遼士的文筆令人拍案叫絕。而且她還說 “傅聰一定覺得他跟白遼士早期很像，因他們都是父親從學校將他們抓回家自己教，而且灌輸所有的古典與天文地理的知識”. 從這些點滴可以看出來瑞芬走的路跟我們一般音樂家不一樣，她除了演唱之外，寫書，podcasts, 學各式的語言（英文,法文，日文，德語，甚至因蕭邦的緣故學了波蘭文），而且深入不同的文化而以融會貫通的方式呈現出來。她說她夢想能把藝術家大師們及音樂家這些像在象牙塔的抽象的意境和意念呈現出來給大眾，我想也只有瑞芬能有足夠的創意在這之中跨橫溝。
在瑞芬過世後幾天我不斷地聽著她在伊麗莎白女王大賽決賽的錄音。她唱的每個音都像是從靈魂最深的地方唱出來，真是動人心坎。她一生經過了不少掙扎，她自己說她個性會得罪人，因動怒或情緒化。 但她的確是像她所描寫的自己，是個 ‘努力不沉下去的泳者‘！ 在社會上她像是一朵奇葩，騎著腳踏車看行人、談著音樂看人生，多采多姿的紀錄下她的內心世界，慷慨熱情的分享她的一切！
February 19, 2022
(Note: Below was written the day before Zoe's birthday)
Your birthday is tomorrow, February 5, and you would have been 58 years old. Even though I've been a procrastinator, this year I actually bought a card for your birthday in January that says ‘You are one in a million!’ In fact, you are more than that, you are irreplaceable and unforgettable!
I SO miss talking to you, Zoe! We have always called each other on our birthdays, and also various other days since you had always been a person of spontaneity and wonderful impulses. Your calls always brought a refreshing perspective on music, performance, literature, and other colorful news. Since we met at 15 years old, we have shared and connected through many common bonds in our artistic pursuits during our life’s journey…ah so many precious memories that i treasure!!
At the Arts Academy Taiwan, we sight-read the piano four-hand version of Shostakovich Symphony #1 ( your amazing sight reading ability and piano playing made me forget you were a singer lol). And we bumped into each other in a bathroom at Juilliard… you visited me while I was studying at Curtis and Peabody. Then later in 1992 you had the fellowship in Paris, while I was in London studying with Fou Ts’ong, I took a ferry across the English channel and stayed with you in Paris for a week. You had decorated your apartment with your vivid sketches of Paris(another talent!). I saw that you were reading and trying to translate the memoirs of Berlioz from French to Chinese and realized more than ever what a gifted person you were! I accompanied your singing on your upright piano, and we walked all over Paris. You had said that we are bound to each other for life because we met in Paris.
Truly, although I was not good in keeping in touch, anytime I picked up the calls from you, it seemed the passage of time ceased to exist, and we were back to those precious days in Paris. You had an ability of making time stand still. You truly lived a life of richness of the inner world, from which you sang each note. You wrote and produced programs from the deepest part of your soul, which you generously shared with the world. In our conversations you had always dismissed your own accomplishments and talents with self-deprecating humor, so I sensed your ongoing struggle with society with your sharp mind, big personality and temper. But your creativity and inner strength never ceases to amaze and inspire me!
Zoe, you left us much too early and you left a void, but I’m grateful for the 40 plus years of friendship and for leaving me and your fans with such a rich experience of knowing you!
February 4, 2022