THE FACTS: Born in Brooklyn, New York. Attended the High School of Music and Art; The Juilliard School, studying with Harold Goltzer, former Philharmonic Associate Principal Bassoon; Fulbright to Conservatoire national Supérieure de Musique de Paris. Prior to the Philharmonic: second bassoon, New York City Ballet Orchestra; principal bassoon, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra. Teaches at The Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan School of Music. At the Philharmonic: Joined September 2003. Solo debut in December 2003 in Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante in B-flat major.
EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. My mom allowed us to listen only to classical music. She began to let us listen to rock ’n’ roll when The Beatles arrived on the scene.
WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? Maurice Allard, my teacher at the Paris Conservatory
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? I was 12 when I started to play the bassoon. I loved the sound and how it blended with the other instruments in ensembles. It immediately became the focal point of my life (after I learned how to put it together!).
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? I’m not sure that being completely consumed by something to the extent that it governs your life is a good thing, but I like it!
DO YOU PRACTICE A LOT? Yes. A lot of music is performed each season at the New York Philharmonic and you have to be overly prepared. I must also make my own reeds. It is a very long process involving cane, several machines, and special tools.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Performing in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2008. I felt it was another way to use music to open communication between people.
MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Tchaikovsky. He had great passion combined with imagination and versatility.
DO YOU EVER PLAY OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC? Film scores, rock ’n’ roll, and Greek music with my husband, who plays the doumbek. I really enjoy collaboration with rock, pop, and jazz musicians. I am always inspired by the way these artists use their individual style to make the music happen!
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Christiane Jaccottet playing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COOKING ADVENTURES, PAST AND PRESENT: I have been a foodie since I was born. Cooking became a fascinating preoccupation of mine at age 11, when my mother asked me to assume the role of dinner chef for our family when she went back to work. From 1980 to 1982 I catered parties for Jackie Onassis and others. Even now, my husband and I plan, shop, and cook each day for our meals together.
As of December 2018