How did MOTHS get started?
The idea of “MOTHS” was created over lunch one day among a few colleagues and myself. We thought there should be a vehicle for us to really connect one-on-one with the audience in a way that is difficult when we are on the large stage of Jones Hall. There is no question that being closer makes the music making much more personal for everyone involved…the performer and the listener. From that idea, we decided to build a non-profit organization that would allow for this closeness, but also, through donations, give us the ability to support live-classical music in other places in our area as well. We and the members of our community board have always volunteered. We began performing in homes for small groups, but soon grew into our concert series Music in the Sky on the Observation Floor of the Chase Building downtown. We have also performed our series at the Live Oaks Meeting in the Heights, the Czech Center Museum, and the Steinway Performance Center. And home performances are still possible. One of our Board’s favorite jokes is to one day have a “Moth Ball”!
Can you share a favorite memory from your time in the Houston Symphony?
It would be difficult deciding what one of my favorite memories would be from my time in the HSO, since I have been a member of this great orchestra since 1981…a long time, with lots of great memories and experiences! I will just tell you my first memory. I was in Houston for my audition and I slipped into the Hall to hear what the HSO was playing. It happens that they were rehearsing a Mahler Symphony and it was magical. I was hooked!
How is playing chamber music different than playing in an orchestra? Do you have a preference?
Playing chamber music is the type of music making I enjoy the most. It not only involves creating together, but breathing together….becoming one unit that evolves from one playing experience to the next…growing. That does not mean that I do not enjoy playing in a large orchestra. We are still trying to apply chamber music principles on a larger scale to make our music together…just different. I do want to point out one of the best things about being a member of the Houston Symphony is being part of our wonderful viola section, as musicians and as family.
Which composer is your favorite to play?
Of course we all like being involved in music that we make a difference in, be it in support or melody. Brahms and Shostakovich have great parts for viola. But I find that the enjoyment of what I am playing changes, depending on my mood and the year. This is too difficult a question to answer!
How did you get started in music?
My musical life started when my parents gave me the “Goldstein” violin. I was in the 6th grade. This violin was purchased after my father’s parents immigrated to the US from Europe. All my cousins and elder relatives on my father’s side had played that violin at one time and taken lessons from the same woman, a Mrs. Barr. Only one uncle continued playing, more as a gypsy violinist, so it was my turn for a spin on the violin, with the same teacher! And I loved it immediately. Where I grew up in S.C., there were no school orchestral programs, and my parents were not musicians, so I was really on my own. Luckily, my mother’s sister played violin and viola, and was able to guide me to where I needed to be to eventually become who I am as a musician today. Of course, I actually am a violist now. When I was 20, still in S.C., my teacher started playing some of the Bach Solo Suites for violin on viola, and I fell in love with the rich, deep sound the viola produces. That was it…I fell in love with the viola and made the switch, never looking back!
Do you have any other musicians in your family?
My Aunt Florence, violin and viola, and my kids, viola and cello, are all musicians. My husband was a musician of the audience!
What are your hobbies outside of music?
I tend to have too many hobbies! Like many of our community, especially now, I love to cook, especially bake. For years I have made all my own bread and often, pasta. I find it exciting to experiment with different ingredients each time. I am also pretty crafty, enjoying making jewelry, knitting, and other art made by hand. Then there is reading and staying fit. But one of my favorite things is playing with my dog Samantha. I call her my circus dog because of the tricks she likes to do with me.
I do want to wish all of you in Houston health and patience with all we are going through together. We can make it…time for more music!