In 1981, when I was four years old, Maestro Josef Palenicek gave a recital in the Czech town of Teplice where I lived with my parents at that time. Since he had been my mother's piano teacher at the Prague Music Academy and their relationship had deepened and warmed throughout the years, he accepted my mother's offer to stay at our house. That evening was to be an unforgettable and infuencing moment in my life.
While I was sitting on the maestro's lap we shared our soup from the same bowl. After that I took him to my room and showed off my entire wardrobe. Finally we wound up singing and playing at the piano all evening. Completely enchanted I decided that the piano would be the instrument which was going to make me happy -not the violin that I had just started playing, following my father's path. And that was the case in the following six years until I had to admit that apparently I lacked the necessary perseverance to become a really good pianist. When I was eleven - my family had just moved to Prague - I reconsidered for the third time and this decision should finally be the lucky one: I started playing the cello, taking lessons from Maestro Palenicek's youngest son, Jan Palenicek.
Two years later I accompanied my mother to a rehearsal at Maestro Palenicek's home where they practiced for a concert, he playing the piano and my mother singing. After they finished rehearsing he looked at me and said with a smile in his eyes: “I heard you are now playing the cello. I have composed numerous pieces for that beautiful instrument. Maybe one day you will be playing my music. But until then you will have to practice a lot.”
- Lucie Stepanova