Hello and welcome! I am a violist, yoga instructor, Body Nerd, and blogger, amongst many other things.
I'm passionate about creating connection, using music as a lens to connect people with the human experience, bringing people together through service and sound, and using yoga to reconnect people to their own bodies and internal experiences. If that sounds interesting to you, read on!
I was born in Pasadena, California, in the height of the 1980's, when Berlin's Take My Breath Away was popular on the radio, Ronald Reagan was President, and Paul Newman won the Academy Award for Best Actor. I was no child prodigy at music, but I do have fond memories of dancing around the house to Ravel's Complete Daphnis et Chloe and Kronos Quartet albums. I tried piano lessons when I was four and promptly quit within the first year. I requested violin lessons at age six, because a girl in my class played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for show and tell, and I was enormously jealous. Fortunately, I enjoyed violin lessons a bit more.
I had a rich childhood full of eccentric interests: an obsession with paleontology and Indiana Jones, a love for painting lessons and Monet, and an odd curiosity about komodo dragons, capybaras, and Indonesia. Oh, and music. After completing a 30-page story about Indiana Jones in third grade, I decided I wanted to be a writer (although, to be honest, I had large cursive handwriting and there were some pictures). The love for writing did, however, resonate.
I eventually pursued music in college, but only after having converted to viola full-time. I was fortunate to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, which exposed me to a natural phenomenon known as winter. While also pursuing a double degree in music history I studied viola with Carol Rodland, who taught me that musical practice is a process of feeling into one's own body, listening to the sounds produced, and evaluating the results. Carol integrated somatic awareness into my lessons, which eventually inspired my love for yoga, movement, and helping others to embody music more profoundly. I then pursued a master's degree at Eastman, in Rochester, NY, where I was able to continue my study of arts leadership, education, and outreach while performing. I also was able to study contemporary classical music more deeply, as well as gain exposure to historically informed performance practices. After that, I returned to Boston, studied with Roger Tapping, became a registered yoga teacher, and briefly played in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL. I spent a year as a member of the quartet in residence at the University of Nevada, Reno, and also was an apprentice with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, ON (For the record, Reno is actually an awesome city, adjacent to Lake Tahoe, and Ottawa is the capital city of Canada). I won a full-time viola position with the San Antonio Symphony, where I live now with my mostly blind chihuahua mix, Missy.
Along the way to becoming a professional violist, I've done some atypical things, such as:
2003: Ushered at the Hollywood Bowl, where I got paid minimum wage to hear Coldplay, Radiohead, Bjork, Jack Johnson, and the LA Philharmonic.
2007: Chaperoned a youth orchestra tour of Greece, at the tender age of 20.
2007-2008: Wrote my bachelor's thesis on the use of sound and music in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
2008: Spent a summer as a children's librarian assistant at the Boston Public Library. Did I mention that I love reading and children's books?
2009-2010: Interned at the classical radio station WXXI in Rochester, NY.
2010: Improvised music to Where the Wild Things Are, while wearing a wolf jumpsuit and crown for audiences of 4-8 year olds.
2011: Became a registered yoga teacher, completing training at South Boston Yoga.
2011-2012: Led an interactive concert series at an adolescent psychiatric unit in Boston.
2012: Traveled to North Africa to teach and perform.
2013: Performed the Penderecki Viola Concerto with the Reno Chamber Orchestra.
2013: Traveled to China and Hong Kong with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
2010-present: Worked with contemporary classical composers, including John Adams, Thomas Adès, Philip Glass, George Benjamin, Tristan Murail, and Steve Reich.
2015: Taught yoga to an NBA player from the Dallas Mavericks, who declared my presence as "meditative," which I interpret as an unqualified success.
I'm not your average classical musician, and I'm passionate about many different things, from musician's wellness to arts advocacy to yoga to outreach, and I'm incredibly fortunate that I've been able to do so many things in my life so far. I look forward to new adventures in the future, wherever they take me.