Ingrid & David Bellman

March 15, 2021  •  Leave a Comment


Welcome to a new photo project that follows the Musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at home during the COVID pandemic. I wanted to create photos of my friends in the Symphony to remind the public our ISO musicians have not performed onstage at Hilbert Circle Theatre since March 2020, and to relate the things they have been doing at home as they wait to perform for us again downtown. My goal is to inspire people to continue to support the musicians and orchestra through donations (Donation Page for the Musicians of the ISO Photo Project). I am also offering a portion of all sales of my photos and merchandise on this website to the musicians of the ISO. Please be sure to follow this blog to see each musician featured, and to follow the links to the gallery for more photos and options. If you'd like to book a photo session, please be sure to contact me, or use the Booking tab on the website.

In this together, Beckie


Ingrid Bellman (ISO Cello): “Last March, when we stopped playing with the orchestra because of the pandemic, I joined online classes studying Shakespeare’s plays. Together, David and I watched plays online , and David continued reading about Shakespeare in a book by Stephen Greenblatt, the professor who gave the lectures: Will in the World. When the weather warmed up we played numerous outdoor performances in neighborhoods around the city. We had a residency scheduled at TC Steele’s studio in Brown County, which we eventually got to perform in October with our colleagues, Jennifer Christen, Alistair Howlett, and Greg Martin. In the Summer ,I was invited by LiLi (ISO Viola) to teach cello and music appreciation in her music academy. The music appreciation classes were successful and we continued them in the winter and the spring. David provides technical assistance since all is done via zoom. Having extra time helped me to learn patience and I joined the trend of baking sourdough bread, and I use giant mittens to protect my hands! Most of my teaching is done online but I do have beginner students come to our garage, where I keep a space heater to keep it warm. Recently I joined a program giving cello classes to two students in Israel. I get to speak Hebrew and enjoy the collaboration with the teachers and their gifted students. I will be retiring from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at the end of March. It was a wonderful long career! I have learned a lot and have enjoyed the marvelous sounds that have surrounded me all these years. I will miss it very much. However I will continue playing and teaching.”

And from David Bellman (retired ISO Principal Clarinet): “This past year (it’s almost a full year at this point) has been quite a rollercoaster ride for so many of us and I am no exception. The very beginning was such a jarring experience: we played two rehearsals of a Mahler Symphony on Thursday (which had not been very enjoyable rehearsals from a personal point of view) and suddenly that evening, we were told that the concerts on Friday and Saturday would not take place because of orders from the Governor to curtail such public events as Indiana and the whole country descended into the coronavirus Pandemic. As it has turned out, those were my last notes ever on the Hilbert Circle Theatre Stage as Principal Clarinet of the ISO since I entered retirement as of September, 2020. During the following weeks and months, just about all activities and routines to which we had become accustomed were turned upside down. As we all adjusted to the “new normal,” (and we still adjust today!) here are some of the highlights of my year in the time of COVID-19.

1. To practice or not to practice? I have played my clarinet almost every day with some exceptions. Uncertain at first as to when the orchestra might re-start performing, it felt like the right thing to do to “stay in shape.” I practiced some new repertoire that there never had been time for during a busy orchestra season. I have even learned some rudimentary video editing skills as we have been called upon to produce videos of our playing for various purposes, both for the ISO and for other purposes. Throughout the late spring and summer and into the early fall of 2020, I participated in a number of informal “driveway” and “cul-de-sac” concerts, bringing music to very appreciative audiences who were often very generous in making contributions to the ISO, directly to the musicians, or in some cases to benefit a charitable cause. I and my friends, colleagues, and of course my wife, Ingrid, very much enjoyed being able to make music even though our beloved ISO was temporarily silenced.  

2. How do we teach private lessons? Like so many colleagues, I have maintained some private students and I also teach clarinet at the University of Indianapolis. The Zoom platform started out a bit rough for musical use, but it continues to evolve and improve over time. 

3. When the weather became warmer, I was able to enjoy one of my favorite activities: bicycling! I took many long rides on my own and a few with friends throughout the spring summer and fall. Even during the winter, we have had some warm enough weather to ride outdoors. I’m very much looking forward to more frequent rides as spring rapidly approaches. In the meantime, long walks with our dog (Leona), and time on our home elliptical cross-trainer account for the majority of my physical activity.

4. I’ve been grateful for the time to do more reading and also to view more movies than during a typical busy season with the orchestra. Shakespeare has been a theme for many months—I watched a few Shakespeare plays with Ingrid, as she took a few online courses about the playwright; also, I have been reading “Will in the World,” a Shakespeare biography written by one of the teachers of Ingrid’s courses, Stephen Greenblatt. Mr. Greenblatt has done an amazing job of showing “how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.” I also enjoy listening to radio programs and podcasts. I told my daughter that I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned listening to so much radio, and not much television. She told me that actually, frequent radio listening was very popular among “Millennials.” So I guess I’m modern and hip after all!

5. I feel very lucky to have a partner to live with at home, my wife Ingrid, an ISO cellist. I think that living alone during this pandemic would be so difficult. We are so lucky to have the technology which makes it possible to so easily speak via telephone or Zoom or Skype with almost anyone, the world over.  And I do enjoy frequent telephone conversations with good friends and with our daughter, Lilly, who lives in California. Nothing can replace in-person social interactions, and these are so greatly reduced with our current situation. But we have had some opportunities to take walks with friends (socially-distanced and masked of course), whether simply in our neighborhoods or even in a park. I am grateful for these occasional treats to break the isolation mandated by the coronavirus. Now that both Ingrid and I have received our COVID vaccinations, we eagerly await our upcoming trip to California in May to visit Lilly and her husband, Tim. This will be our first time being together with them in more than a year-and-a-half.

6. I have always thought that I would try to get involved in more volunteerism when I retired. Right now, it’s a bit tricky to find safe ways to become involved in good causes. But I have joined a group at our Synagogue which advocates for better tenants’ rights and is particularly concerned with the major problem that our city has with a very large number of evictions. This is a particularly important issue during this pandemic when so many have lost livelihoods and income and are vulnerable to losing their homes as a result. I also try to donate blood occasionally.

7. I had quite an adventure traveling to Thiells, New York just before Thanksgiving in order to attend to the affairs and belongings of my older brother who had passed away in August. I flew there, wearing my N95 mask, and after spending almost two weeks there clearing out his apartment and sorting through all his belongings, I rented a mid-sized SUV and drove home with many of his things, including six guitars and a number of pieces of electronic equipment used by my brother who was a guitarist and composer. This was quite an eventful and emotional trip. I felt very lucky to arrive home safely and healthy after experiencing some less than “safe” situations during my voyage. I intend to learn to play the guitar now that I have some beautiful instruments at my disposal. Unfortunately, I have not yet begun this learning, but I think that it will be a perfect activity for pandemic living and for retirement in general.

I did bake one loaf of “Amish Friendship” bread during these last several months, which was an interesting learning experience and a first for me. Ingrid, however who is a much better baker and cook than I, has taken over the bread baking. I still get to enjoy eating it however!

I must confess that I spend more time sleeping than I used to. I suppose that this is my escape from our current reality. We worry and empathize very much about our furloughed friends and colleagues and the many millions of unemployed. The incomprehensible loss of life and health of so many the world over is so tragic. I know that we are all faced with this sadness and anxiety, and I am not at all alone in experiencing these feelings and emotions. But when writing about my life and activities during this time of COVID, it would seem almost dishonest to omit the pervasive sadness and worry that affects us all. I’m definitely enjoying the sensation of seeing the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” becoming just a bit brighter and clearer every passing day (especially knowing that the ISO is returning to the stage in the Spring and that a full season is planned for 2021 – ’22).”

Click on the above photos to visit the gallery for more photos.


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