Years playing with the PSO: 13
Lives in: Stoneham, MA
How old were you when you started playing music?
I started playing piano when I was three years old. I learned how to read in Russian and read musical notation about the same time. My mom would help me pick out the tunes then played while I danced and sang around the living room. Good early ear training!
What led you to the violin and when?
When I was in third grade, a gentleman came along to our classroom and demonstrated the violin and cello for a string program they were starting in the public school. I was very excited about the violin, it was small and portable. The cello looked heavy and I thought it sounded sad. My Mom was against it, she didn’t want it to interfere with my piano training, but my Dad said “Let her try it, what can it hurt? She’ll quit in a few weeks!” Clearly, that was not the case.
Public school couldn’t hold me, I was moving too fast, so they suggested a private teacher. I soon joined a kids orchestra, then later a wonderful youth orchestra, the Bergen Youth Symphony Orchestra. The conductor, Gene Minor was so inspiring that I decided to become a musician.
What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?
I have loved being in orchestras since I was a kid. I love playing harmonies with other people. The more complex, the more fun it is. The PSO is the fourth orchestra from who I have been the concertmaster. I enjoy sitting in the seat because you are right in the middle of things, it’s easy to hear and see what is happening. You have a lot of artistic leeway as concertmaster because you set the bowings for the whole string section, which actually affects the sound and presentation quite a lot. You also get to play any violin solos, which is fun, especially if you’re a ham like me!
Do you play with any other groups?
Currently, I am also concertmaster for the North Shore Philharmonic and I play with the Rhode Island Philharmonic. But my favorite thing to do is Musical Theater. I work a lot at Providence Performing Arts Center in RI for the Broadway Across America tours. I also play local theaters, like North Shore Music Theater.
How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?
My main hobby is gardening, I have 3/4 of an acre of beautiful landscaped gardens. My dream is to be accredited by the American Herocallis Society as a national tour garden. I have almost 900 varieties of Daylilies with more coming in all the time! I’m also a big crafter. I’ve gone through knitting, cross-stitch, felting, quilting and stained glass periods.
Tell us about your musical education.
My first school was SUNY Purchase, which was a wonderful, nurturing environment with terrific teachers. I ended up going to The Juilliard School for my Master’s in Music. While I was there, I met a guy from Boston and we began a two and a half year commute. Eventually I moved to Boston, where I received an Artist’s Diploma from Boston Conservatory. Later, I received an Artists Diploma in String Quartet Performance from the Longy School of Music.