Thursday, June 19, 2008

Go East, young woman!

Klode Beach, where I spent many evenings avoiding homework

I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI, on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. My family is very active in the music community there, and I guess there was never much of a question that I would play an instrument. I started taking violin lessons when I was 6 and, as my family puts it, "evolved" to the viola when I was 10. From the time that I switched, viola has been a huge part of my life and has since become my career. 

That's not to say there haven't been bumps along the way, mostly having to do with practicing (from age 6 to... um... 29 and beyond). But I really love playing and have been very fortunate to enjoy my work most of the time. I also have a deep appreciation for the freedom and flexibility of my schedule, and I remember that every time I have to wake up early! I've also always been interested in politics, social action, and writing, and over the years I have worked to find ways of integrating these things into my life, musical or otherwise.

After I finished my undergrad at Oberlin, I took a year off to catch my breath. I spent half of that school year in Oberlin, taking lessons and working. After that, though, I felt like it was time to get out of the small-town bubble and see how life in the big city would treat me, knowing I wanted to start a master's program in the fall. Musicians often choose their schools based on a particular teacher, and I had my heart set on one at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Without knowing whether I would be accepted to study with her, I found a
 6-month sublet, had one very small gig lined up thanks to a friend, and took off for Beantown in January 2002.

That little gig ended up being very fortuitous, since I met a few people there who were kind enough to refer me to other people. One thing led to another, and I soon had a reasonably active performing career in Boston. In retrospect, I can't believe how lucky I was and how disastrous moving there could have been, but I think my idealism worked in my favor that time! I also practiced a LOT and was accepted by the aforementioned teacher, and oh! I just happened to meet one pretty wonderful guy along the way. But you'll have to wait for that story.  :-)

Have you ever made a move to a new city without a clue as to what you were going to do there?

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