About a year before his death, Casolaro dated a woman named Olivia. She played the viola, was a member of a symphony. Like him, she had a sister who committed suicide. A fraternal twin, a severed bond that she said felt like it was cut by a jagged knife deep inside her. Once, she played him a sad viola solo she had composed in her sister’s memory, in a room lit by candles, sharing a bottle of syrah. I was in the midst of a year long depression when I wrote this, she said, a dark and lonely place. Perhaps it was too much wine but it made him cry.
Along with classical pieces, she could play the viola solos in The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and Kansas’s “Dust in the Wind.” He saw her perform in a symphony once and, while impressed by the overall performance, was disappointed that she was one of many instruments, one sound blended in with a multitude.