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When I started the violin at age 8, I soon wanted to become the best violinist in the world.

It all started with Jascha Heifetz. My first CD was his Beethoven’s violin concerto and I loved him so much that I wanted to change my last name from Donnelly to Heifetz.

I was really serious. I was gonna be awesome.

Then came along other heroes. I’ll never forget the day I ripped open the sleeve for Maxim Vengerov’s ‘Virtuoso Vengerov’ CD, pyrotechnics flying into my 12-year-old ears as I sat on the floor of the living room two feet away from the loudspeakers, giggling in awe at each new sound I’d never heard on the violin before.

One day I would eventually have a lesson with Vengerov, in London at the Royal Academy of Music where I would end up studying. It was a surreal moment and one of the proudest of my musical life. I didn’t tell him he was my towering hero at age 12; I just gave him the best playing I ever did in my life.

My encounter with Vengerov was a rare moment of synchronicity, right at the end in 2013 when I decided to end it all; because somewhere along the way, that pure childhood joy and excitement of the music got replaced with something else.