Kerry McDermott, Violin

The New York Philharmonic

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Biography
Keyy McDermott

New York Philharmonic violinist Kerry McDermott has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad including the Montreal, North Carolina, and Taipei City symphony orchestras, the Moscow Radio and Budapest Chamber Orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic. In addition, she has been a prize winner in the Montreal International Competition and the International Tchaikovsky Competition, where she received a special award for Best Artistic Interpretation. Ms. McDermott’s recital engagements have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street Y’s Kaufman Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall (where she collaborated with Vladimir Spivakov on the Great Performers series).

Ms. McDermott has appeared at the festivals of Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail, Newport, Honest Brook, and Newport of the Hamptons and Park City. She has also been a frequent guest artist at Caramoor, Marlboro, Tanglewood, Mozart, Bargemusic, Wolftrap, Ravinia, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and on three continents with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles. Kerry McDermott has recorded for Melodiya and New World Records and is a member of the McDermott Trio (with sisters Anne-Marie and Maureen). She is an alumna of Yale College and the Manhattan School of Music, where she was a student of Raphael Bronstein. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, computing, and reading.

“While still a student, I became the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic. This distinction was usurped seven months later when Paul Neubauer joined the Orchestra as Principal Viola. I harbored no ill feelings toward him, though, and Paul and I have since married and are now the proud parents of two wonderful children.”

Q&A with Kerry McDermott

THE FACTS: Born in Lincoln, Nebraska. Attended Yale College and Manhattan School of Music. Winner of many competitions, including a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1983 at the age of 21. Solo debut with the Orchestra in 1986, performing Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa for Two Violins, Prepared Piano, and Strings, conducted by Gunther Schuller; the other violinist was the late Marina Kruglikov.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My mother always listened to classical music in our house and I remember that my favorite recording was one of Heifetz playing Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy. I listened to it many times.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE VIOLIN? Music has always been a family affair, with roots reaching back into my Irish heritage. My grandparents and mother played Irish accordion and were avid fans of Irish stepdancing. When my three siblings and I arrived on the scene, the family naturally wanted someone to play Irish jigs with them. At age five I began studying violin and at age 12 I began attending the preparatory division of the Manhattan School of Music. Less than 10 years later, while still a student, I became the youngest member of the New York Philharmonic. This distinction was usurped seven months later, however, when Paul Neubauer joined the Orchestra as Principal Viola. I harbored no ill feelings toward him, though, and Paul and I have since married and are now the proud parents of two wonderful children, Oliver and Clara.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My wonderful teachers, Raphael Bronstein and Vladimir Spivakov

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: I feel fortunate to have had so many incredible moments with the Philharmonic over the past 32 years. A favorite was last season when my children made their New York Philharmonic debuts at a Young People’s Concert and I was on stage with them!

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THESE MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? I enjoy performing with my sisters Anne-Marie, a pianist, and Maureen, a cellist, and together we form the McDermott Trio. My husband is a violist with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and we play together as often as we can. Most important, our two children are both talented violinists, and we often perform together as a family quartet.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Spend time with my family — cooking and dining together, playing chamber music, and playing Ping-Pong and puzzle games.

As of January 2015

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