Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
For siblings Sean, Lauren and David Carpenter, music is a way of life—it’s both what they do and the backbone of their business, Carpenter Fine Violins & Collectibles, where they sell fine instruments worldwide. Now based in London, the family is on the road much of the year—over 300 days!—combining travel and business. We caught up with Lauren to learn a bit more about their life, travels, and favorite classical music venues.
Q. We’d love to hear a bit about your work—your music and your family business, Carpenter Fine Violins & Collectibles.
A. The Carpenter Trio, comprised of violinists Sean and myself, and violist David all attended Princeton University as politics majors. In addition to being world-class musicians—David is the preeminent international viola soloist who records on Warner Classics—we are some of the leading dealers of fine musical instruments in the world, selling violins, violas and cellos made by Antonio Stradivarius and Guarnerius del Gesu. Our company travels around the world brokering, buying and selling these gems of human creation made in the 17th and 18th centuries. We are also proud to be both collectors of fine violins and art, having loaned works from their collection to the MET, Tate Modern and Princeton University Art Museums.
What’s it like to work with family, especially when it comes to traveling together?
Traveling as a family is one of the greatest gifts we could ask for. As musicians, especially as David is a major viola soloist, life on the road is a lonely and unforgiving endeavor. However, the luxury that we have of traveling together and always being occupied with music and business is a perfect combination.
Speaking of travel, you’re on the road over 300 days out of the year. Any tips you’ve learned along the way?
Traveling is a naturally uncomfortable venture—literally removing oneself from one’s accustomed habitat in a short time period—we try to travel as comfortably as possible. We love the Aman Resorts, Four Seasons chain is amazingly consistent around the world, and Peninsula Hotels, wherever they are located. Now that we are based out of London, British Airways and One World partners are our go-to airlines.
The trend of b-leisure—combing work and fun while on the road—is booming. How do you work in both?
We couldn’t imagine traveling any other way than to combine our musical activities with business travel. Oftentimes, when we have to perform a concert or event, there is enough time in the day to sightsee and have business meetings as well. David’s Instagram account does a great job of chronicling our music and travels, and we just set up our business Instagram account, which displays the amazing instruments we have had the privilege of dealing with.
What are your can’t-miss classical music venues or events around the world?
Our favorite musical venues are Carnegie Hall (of course!), the Musikverein in Vienna, Philharmonie in Berlin, La Scala in Milan, Royal Albert Hall in London, and the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.