Birds of Another Feather: My Musical Colleagues


Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88962-308-2






Reviewed by Nicholas Pashley

Nicholas Pashley was a bookseller and a freelance writer and editor in Toronto.


Rivka Golani is a viola virtuoso who has appeared with many leading orchestras around the world and has had music composed for her by some 40 composers. A champion of contemporary as well as traditional music, she has worked to have the limited solo repertoire of her instrument recognized and expanded.

Golani is also something of an artist, and in Birds of Another Feather she has produced a volume of pen-and-ink caricatures of musicians and orchestras she has worked with. Her colleagues are represented here as a series of particularly exotic birds, some light and aesthetic, others rotund and forceful. Some of her creations are simple and almost transparent; others are dark and complex, using up large amounts of the artist’s ink.

While her drawings are whimsical and often entertaining, this collection loses some of its interest through the artist’s coy refusal to identify her subjects. She observes in her Introduction: “As some of my colleagues are ‘up there’ just to please the crowd, unable to appreciate a joke... I could not identify my creatures.” Instead she leaves it up to the wild imagination of her colleagues to identify themselves. This may be all very well for her colleagues, but it leaves most of the rest of us out in the cold.

Thus, while Rivka Golani’s caricatures are clever, her success in capturing her subjects remains very much open to question.


Golani, Rivka, “Birds of Another Feather: My Musical Colleagues,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,