I have been a musician for almost as long as I’ve been alive. When I was 4 years old, my father let me stay up late to watch a Victor Borge special on PBS, and I was hooked! I relentlessly begged my parents to buy me a piano until they finally gave in. My first disappointment was that I wasn’t getting a 9-foot Steinway D Grand Piano for my bedroom, but my greater disappointment came when I opened the bench and discovered there was no seat belt!
My lessons on piano began that summer, which meant that I was learning to read music and words at the same time. I continued with my piano lessons, and recitals, until I was 9 and decided it was time to play the flute. My parents indulged me by buying a flute, and so began my life in the school concert band and state music festival circuit. At 14, I complained to my band teacher that I wanted to play solos. He took a small black box out of the cabinet and said, “if you can play this, you'll have all the solos you ever wanted.” I took home the school’s plastic oboe and taught myself to play over the weekend.
By the time I was in 10th grade, I was realizing that music was going to be my college path. I began taking lessons at the Eastman School of Music through their Preparatory Department, auditioned into the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, played in 2 woodwind quintets, and traveled to Los Angeles to perform on the Disney American Teacher Awards.
I went on to study at Ithaca College, where I received my Bachelor Degree in Music Performance on Oboe. After graduation, I lived in Williamstown, MA, for almost 10 years, where I was the English horn soloist with the Berkshire Symphony, oboist with the Massachusetts Wind Orchestra, on the call list for the Albany Symphony, and was 2nd oboist for a few seasons in the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra (NY)*.
In 2006 I left the Berkshires and moved to Las Vegas, where I played in the LV Philharmonic, Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society, Nevada Chamber Symphony, and the Nevada Opera Theater. The most fun gig I had while in Las Vegas was playing in “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian Resort.
In 2010, I moved to Los Angeles, where I soon became a member of the LA Winds and the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. That same year, I met fellow Ithaca Alumni, Gary Rautenberg, who hired me to play with James Song in the Nutcracker (Footworks Ballet, Oxnard). It was shortly after that, I was invited to play in the Moorpark College Symphony as 2nd oboe and English horn. All along, I was able to get some work in the studios, and also doing some recordings for television and movies for my husband, composer Louis Febre.
But my life & career as an oboist was coming to an end. During a concert in 2012, I suffered a hernia that, even though it has been repaired, made it very difficult & painful to play. Rather than risking another injury, and on the advice of one of my former Eastman teachers, I recognized I was given an opportunity that not many adults get: a chance at trying something new! Since I was a kid, I had wanted to learn to play the cello. I decided I would be negligent to pass up this gift.
I went out and bought a cello, somehow tricked Pamela de Almeida (principal cellist MSO) in to giving me lessons, and off I went on this new adventure! In 2016, after a year of study, she invited me to come back to MSO as part of the cello section, and I’ve been there ever since. Last year, I returned to SFVSO, also on cello, and now, am starting to get freelance work.
I love every part about being a cellist! Our section at MSO in particular is like a big happy family; I’m touched to have been accepted by the real cellists into their tribe.
It was very scary to give up the one thing I was trained to do (the oboe) and try something new, but hey! You only go around this crazy merry-go-round called life once. Why not take a chance and see what happens?
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your background, it takes a support system of people around you to make your goals a reality. So when I look around the Moorpark Symphony Orchestra, all I see a whole village who came together (whether they know it or not!) to cheer me on my new path!
*little did I know, nearly 20 years later, I would be sitting in the cello section with Miriam Wu, who was also in the BPO at the same time!