"If you have any brains, you pick your school by your teacher," said Elizabeth Pitcairn, a violin soloist who studied with Robert Lipsett at L.A.'s Colburn School. She said she started playing at age 3 and, at 16, her grandfather bought her the legendary Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius, which was handcrafted in 1720 and then disappeared for 200 years, inspiring the film "The Red Violin." She played that violin at "Conversations With Colburn," an intimate dinner earlier this month at Jennifer and Royce Diener's historic home on Santa Monicas "Gold Coast." Silent-film star Norma Talmadge and her sisters built the house, which was later owned by Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton and restored to its 1930s splendor by the Dieners. Jennifer Diener said she hoped to raise awareness for the school, adding, "We know how music is made, but how many of us know how musicians are made?" By way of answers, she cited the Colburn School and its renowned teachers, such as Lipsett. -- Ellen Olivier Host Royce Diener, in blue, speaks with guests during a fundraiser for the Colburn School at a private home in Santa Monica on Sept. 14.
Ann Johansson / For The Times