What do you call your hometown?
Sea Cliff, NY, east of NYC
At what age did you start playing your instrument?
In the seventh grade. I was a frustrated clarinetist and wanted to switch to the oboe, but the band needed a bassoonist. I was “volunteered” to play the bassoon.
What is one of your favorite orchestral pieces and why?
Hard to pick just one! My favorite pieces are the ones that exploit the full expressive range of the orchestra as a whole. Today, my favorite is Bartok’s Concerto, for tomorrow it might be Das Lied von der Erde.
When it comes to listening to music, what is your go-to genre?
Silence. Music is always playing in my head, and in the head of my husband, a composer. Listening to recordings at home (other than our own practicing, recording or composing) isn’t relaxing. I go to concerts, as recordings don’t fully capture the entire experience of being in the same room with performers.
What are your hobbies, other than playing?
I enjoy studying yoga, walking the dogs, reading fiction, cooking when I have the time, photography, and singing.
Describe one of your most life-changing musical moments!
When I heard Mozart’s late symphonies for the first time, it felt as if a door had been opened into a place in my being that had always existed but of which I’d previously not been aware. I knew then that I had to study classical music seriously.
What would you say to someone who has never been to a classical music performance before?
I could say lots of things, and as a music appreciation professor, I have. Getting people to set foot in the door is the biggest obstacle. Our culture sends mostly negative messages about classical music, so breaking down stereotypes is key. The vast majority of my students were amazed and delighted by their first concert experiences and said they would return after the class was over.
What is one thing that inspired you/Who is one person who inspires you?
One, how can I pick just one? Great live performances have inspired me. My five summers as a participant at the Marlboro Music Festival exposed me to too many amazing performances to count! When I was an undergrad I got standing room tickets to the Met and heard incredible performances of Britten’s Billy Budd and Beethoven’s Fidelio. Also a Glyndeborne Festival production of Don Giovanni I saw in London was very inspiring.
Where is your favorite place you have ever traveled to? Why?
My favorite places are always connected to the cherished memories made with people dear to me. I’ve traveled all over Europe for work and love the energy, history and cultural riches of Berlin. It’s hard to beat the natural beauty of the French countryside. Work has taken me to Tokyo three times and I’d go back in a heartbeat. But places of natural beauty such as those close to home here restore and nourish my spirit the most.