What did you do after SDYS?
After SDYS I went to SDSU for 2 years and starting subbing with San Diego Symphony. I then transferred to UCLA to study with Mark Kaplan where I majored in Violin Performance. While in Los Angeles I played with American Youth Symphony and Debut Orchestra. For my Master’s in Violin Performance I went to The Boston Conservatory and studied with Joseph McGauley of the BSO. While in Boston I played many off-Broadway shows and played in regional orchestras in nearby states.
What are you up to now?
After I graduated, I moved back to San Diego in 2005 and have been working as a freelance musician ever since. I have played shows at La Jolla Playhouse and The Old Globe; I continue to sub with San Diego Symphony and San Diego Opera; I play in Classics for Kids, California Chamber Orchestra, among other groups. With my group Avonlea Strings, I play many weddings and private events across San Diego and Orange County. In addition to performing, I teach over 20 students in my private violin studio with ages ranging from 4 to 65.
What advice can you give to young musicians?
Practicing is just one small component of the music world in which we live. Many connections and friendships you have when you are in SDYS will be important and enriching to your music career for decades to come. Try to look at the big picture and not get caught in the small stuff like who sits where and what happened at the last audition. The reason we play our instruments is to play beautiful music together. I still remember clearly the friendships and the magical feeling I had when I played my first symphony at age 11. Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 will continue to hold a very special place in my heart.
You were invited to join SDYS on its 70th Anniversary China Tour. What was your most memorable moment from the China Tour?
I was honored to be asked to join the orchestra on the China Tour. It was wonderful to spend time with Mr. Edmons and reconnect with the other alumni, as well as meet all the young and talented students of SDYS. There is one memory from the trip in which stands out from the rest. There was a lot of time between a certain rehearsal and concert so a couple students started playing repertoire from the concert without music. Over a short period of time the group got larger and larger and by the end, almost every member of the orchestra was playing along. It was amazing to see how well every section knew their parts, and how they played together without a conductor! This little snapshot showed me how much the students loved making music together and what a great appreciation for music Mr. Edmons has given each of us.
What did you take away from the China Tour?
The people we met and the audiences we played for absolutely loved our music. Even though we come from very different types of governments and countries, the love for music is universal. The packed concerts and the way the Chinese government took care of us during our stay was wonderful to experience. The concert halls we played in were amazing, as were the schools we visited. At the advanced music school we enjoyed a wonderful concert performed for us on traditional instruments. Seeing the Chinese students play their instruments with such mastery and dedication was truly inspiring.
What did you learn from your days at SDYS?
I grew exponentially as a musician during my 10 years with the SDYS organization. When I was 8 years old I started playing in the back of the 2nd violins in “Prep Orchestra,” to then become the youngest member of the “Big Orchestra” at 11 years old. When I joined I would have never imagined I would have the privilege to be Concertmistress for three years. Practicing hard and being exposed to great composers such as Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Beethoven expanded my music world at such a young age. I was able to travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, Spain, Canada, and Eastern Europe with all the orchestra tours. My SDYS experiences shaped me as a person and ultimately paved my decision to major in violin performance. Without my decade of experience with SDYS I am certain I would not have found the love for the violin and made my life all about music.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I still remember when we, the orchestra and the board, chose Mr. Edmons for the conductor position. We had had a rough couple of years without a steady conductor and without a vision for the future. The orchestra was divided and needed a strong force to bring us together again. It makes me very happy to see how the organization has grown and how over the past 20 years Mr. Edmons has made SDYS a genuine conservatory, by expertly preparing motivated students for careers in music.