Filling his fashionable shoes

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Geoff Nuttall, the first violinist for the St. Lawrence String Quartet, this morning looked every bit the man evidently being prepared to step into large and fashionable shoes. He was dapper beyond the cool gray or black typically worn by male musicians. He wore a beige linen three-piece suit with a kelly green linen tie.

He looked like he was about go riding. He also was wearing a pair of black paddock boots with brown leather around the ankles that hinted at spats. He looked very much like men's summer fashion during Spoleto. He's young enough and good-looking enough to not look too sincere about it. And he looked very much like he was a director-in-training keeping up with the master (who is himself a snappy dresser).

Over the weekend, Charles Wadsworth announced that Nuttall had been named associate artistic director of Spoleto's popular Chamber Music Series, a series Wadsworth began 32 years ago during Spoleto's founding. The signs are there suggesting that Wadsworth is grooming Nuttall. In recent years, rumors have spread that he will retire. Today, Spoleto officials said he is not going to retire. On Tuesday, Wadsworth turns 79 and it's become obvious that time is catching up with the revered chamber music impresario.

I saw him perform Friday morning. He walked with difficulty. Shuffling is more like it. I saw him again at Saturday's performance of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. He was widely recognized, of course, and many loving ushers rushed to his side to help him up the stairs. Today, in the middle of a long extemporaneous anecdote about Samuel Barber, a cell phone blared. Wadsworth forgot the point of the story (he remembered later; it was funny).

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