Judy W. Bossuat-Gallic

Judy W. Bossuat-Gallic

A 1978 graduate of Dr. Suzuki’s Matsumoto Talent Education Institute, Judy Bossuat-Gallic’s contact with Dr. Suzuki began in 1974 and continued yearly through 1990. She is a registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the European Suzuki Association, and in 1994 she was named an Honorary Member of the ESA Board in recognition for her sixteen years of pioneer work during the early days of the Suzuki Method in Europe. On the ESA Board, she served sixteen years as a founding member, sixteen years as the French representative, two years as ESA’s violin representative, and was creator with Sven Sjogren (Sweden) of ESA's Teacher Training Guidelines and Rules.

Bossuat has taught violin and trained teachers for 50 years at over 400 International Conferences, Institutes and Workshops all over the world. Known for silently teaching large groups of children, she currently offers lessons and teacher training online in Lodi, California and Geneseo, New York. A past board member of the American String Teachers Association and the National String Project Consortium, she also has held faculty positions at Sacramento State University, University of the Pacific, and University of Oregon. Currently she is a member of the new SAA Suzuki Training Committee.

Name in Japan: Judy Lee Weigert

Other places lived since Japan: Lyon, France 16 years; Stockton, California about 13 years; Eugene, Oregon 2 years; Dallas, Texas 14 years; Most recently, 2 years rotating between Geneseo, NY and Lodi, CA - (to see grandchildren!)

Instrument studied while in Japan: Violin

Dates in Japan: March 1977 until my graduation May 17, 1978 (plus one month after my graduation); April - June 1982 for 3 months post-graduate study in Matsumoto

Years and locations with Dr. Suzuki that were outside of Japan:


By Judy Bossuat-Gallic - July 30, 2023

During college at Potsdam State University (NY), Mr. Kobialka, my violin mentor, showed me some of the videos Bill Starr had taken in Japan (early 1970s). I had not seen any Suzuki students in America that played that well and was especially intrigued by a 4-year-old boy playing Mignon Gavotte. I had a 4/5-year-old playing Mignon, but nowhere near that well! I decided I needed to go to Japan and figure out what they were doing! I was twenty-one when I decided to go to Japan. My goal was to stay there and learn as much as I could until my money ran out. Thank goodness teaching English helped me stay in Japan longer than I imagined or would have found possible.

My youth was spent on a farm in upstate New York. My whole extended family lived within twelve miles. Trying to go to Japan was a dream. I had little idea how I was going to do it, but tenaciously I just kept working towards my goal. I certainly had not expected to be someone who traveled. Dr. Suzuki was my impetus.

Before going to Japan, I had only gone on one very short flight in my life. With delays, four stops and three plane changes, I almost missed my flights from Rochester, NY to Texas to Los Angeles to Taipei to Tokyo. What an adventure! I was so nervous, I vomited five times on that trip.

When I was in junior high, Coco, an exchange student from Japan, lived with my family for three months. She was a “Suzuki Kid” who could play Mozart Concertos at 16. I had been in contact with her, and she and her husband Miyoshi met me at the airport in March 1977. I had planned my arrival so that I could attend the Budokan Concert in Tokyo. During the concert’s intermission, we were supposed to go down to the floor to meet the TERI secretary. Long story short, it turned out that they had mixed me up with another foreigner who had arrived a month or so earlier. They had given “my” family to “the other blond.” I needed to stay with my Tokyo friends for a few days while TERI tried to find another family for me in Matsumoto. Oh, yes. My suitcase had gone to Taipei…

During my first three months in Japan, I stayed with a family who lived a train-ride away from Matsumoto. The rest of the time, I lived in a small house quite near the Institute that I rented from TEI. My roommates changed often. I was the “long-term” person.

There was a Christmas party the winter I was in Japan - hosted by the Rotary Club, I think – where we played some Christmas carols. We talked Mrs. Suzuki into singing Silent Night. You could tell that she had a beautiful voice.

The interesting part about Christmas was that it was the day designated for cleaning the Kaikan! We all chipped in, but Christophe got out of cleaning because Dr. Suzuki asked him that morning to play the Schubert Ave Maria at the midnight mass. Christophe had never heard or played that version, so he practiced a lot that day. He did not clean…

In the winter, I used a small kotatsu table to stay warm. A kotatsu table keeps the lower half of your body heated with an electric space heater in the center under the table. Mine had a thick quilt and a hard wooden table so you could write or eat sitting on the tatami floor. Until it became impossible, I wrote daily notes and letters sitting at the kotatsu table. The winter was very, very cold inside my little house. The ink in my pen froze EVERY DAY. Those temperatures meant that I got up early in the morning and walked down the street to be the first one in the building besides the caretakers. I got about an hour of practice alone in one of the vacant rooms before I took a break to watch the kindergarten students do their exercises and music-listening.

I helped at the Summer School in Matsumoto in 1977. It was VERY HOT!

It took a while to figure out how to improve my playing because I could not hear the depth of the tone Dr. Suzuki wanted. I was very happy to be there studying. Over time, I made a game with myself. My goal was to watch and listen to the warm-up tonalization and figure out WHAT POINT Dr. Suzuki was going to work on. Over time, those ideas expanded to figuring out HOW he would work on it, etc. I learned about balance, how to observe, relaxation, and empathy. Dr. Suzuki loved jokes.

Every Monday like clockwork we had a recital (Monday Concert), which sometimes went from 1:00-7pm. The lessons I observed most were those of the foreigners on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays we had group classes for all the teacher trainees. Dr. Suzuki generally dreamed up a “game” to get the number of repetitions he wanted. Sometimes there were orchestra rehearsals, especially if there was a visiting teacher from America. I admit to being quite poor at calligraphy. I did have one of my calligraphies hanging on the stage at graduation, as well as one from Dr. Suzuki.

I arrived in Japan for the national concert at the Budokan in Tokyo in March 1977. The following year I played the advanced pieces at the national concert in March 1978. I still can feel the amazing sound that made me feel like I was capable of playing 1000 times better than usual - sort of like Superman with a violin! Later in that concert I was on the floor helping move children around. During the Bach Double I happened to be right next to Dr. Suzuki out on the floor. He had tears in his eyes when he said to me, “You see, every child.” My response to him was something like, “Because you, Dr. Suzuki, would not give up on your ideas.” It was a very powerful moment.

I attended all of the graduation concerts in Matsumoto, and sometimes played in the orchestra for the concertos. In early spring 1978, Dr. Suzuki asked me to prepare my graduation concert. The day of the recital I was trembling for the first piece: Bach Bourree - which I played faster than ever in my life. Finishing Bourree with a bow, I suddenly realized that Dr. Suzuki was not going to come up on stage to give me a lesson during this recital. I immediately calmed down dramatically and happily had a very good time playing the rest of the program. It was a long recital because both Christophe Bossuat and I (we were engaged to be married) needed to play all the same required repertoire, all three movements of the Bach Double that Dr. Suzuki had asked us to play (with the orchestra conducted by Allen Lieb with Craig Timmerman playing concertmaster). Plus, I played Mozart Rondo and Sicilienne and Rigaudon as “out of Suzuki book pieces.” Christophe was supposed to play Rondo Capriccioso. Unfortunately, his accompanist had a bicycle accident that morning, so he did not get to play it. I am happy that he had the opportunity to perform that piece many times for the Monday Concerts. That concert was long!

Studying long term in Japan with Dr. Suzuki completely changed my life in an incredibly profound way. I have truly dedicated my life to the Suzuki Method. It would take a long time to write about the experiences this “girl from a farm in upstate NY” has had. I never dreamed that I would have so many experiences that enriched my life – from traveling, to researching further what I learned in Japan, to spending time with Dr. Suzuki 15 times from just a weekend to 17 months of continuous study and having him teach so many of our students.

When Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were in Lyon, they stayed in the apartment where we lived. It was connected to our teaching rooms, one of which was huge, easily holding 75 people with 16-foot ceilings. Parents of our students had helped us redo that gorgeous room with very large Japanese lanterns throughout. When he saw it, Dr. Suzuki was breathless and declared it the most beautiful teaching room he had ever seen. That was very special. Plus, he and Mrs. Suzuki slept in our apartment, and true to himself, Dr. Suzuki’s choice was the smallest bedroom.

Photo in Matsumoto

Judy taking a lesson with Dr. Suzuki

Judy taking a lesson with Dr. Suzuki