Born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Graduate of The Juilliard School. At the Philharmonic: Joined 1986 while still at Juilliard. Named Associate Principal in 1991. Made solo debut with the Philharmonic in 1991 with the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths: Music for Two Solo Viols and Symphony Orchestra, commissioned for me and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps. Most recent recording: Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Pamela Frank, and Edgar Meyer (Sony)
EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY:
Attending a Bernstein Young People’s Concert [YPC] at age two and a half, straining to see around TV cameras that were taping the show. Also, an old recording my parents gave me of a Vivaldi violin concerto. I
was five and couldn’t read music yet, so I listened to the record over and over until
I figured out how to play it by ear.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A MUSICIAN?
I always knew that — largely due to the YPC’s — I wanted to be in the New York Philharmonic. I started violin at age five, but in eighth grade became very interested in medicine. I considered quitting music altogether. It was suggested to me that I try viola — they were short of violists in Juilliard’s pre-college division, where I was studying. I fell in love and never looked back . . .well, almost never!
WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
Bernstein’s YPCs were my first
musical influences. Technique I learned on violin, but became aware of the “heart and soul” of music as a violist at Tanglewood from coaches and fellow students. I also learned a great deal about music as poetry, not just notes, from our former music director, Maestro Masur.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Sitting with [Principal Viola] Cynthia Phelps. She’s an outstanding colleague and an even better friend.
WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY AS ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL?
When Cindy’s not there I lead the section and play any solos.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Sweeney Todd
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW?
Klezmer music, Broadway shows, and movie sound-tracks. Fortunately, my kids have similarly strange taste in music. We all listen together.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I garden with my husband, Jack; quilt; bake; and spend time with my kids — Brian, Michael, and Emma.