short version? here goes!
i'm a 52 yr old female professional musician Canada-Korean born, I am based out of my hometown Edmonton, Alberta CANADA . a highly trained classical violinist from the age of 8 to 21, I ditched the concert violinist path because a) 10 yr olds were crushing me in international competitions ie Curtis, and b) bc of my obsession with jazz. I didn’t feel I was a professional musician. For my ideal, I wanted to be able to improvise, jam with others and just “find my individual groove and swing”. Hence, I started my 30 yr professional career by completing my performance in jazz piano at Grant Macewan university/college diploma. I said yes to every and any gig, be it the founder and bandleader for an 80s girl band “Godiva”, upon graduating. I had a son (27) in 1992 with the legendary Chris Andrew internationally known jazz pianist. And because I said “yes!” I fell in love with music theatre bc it’s thrilling, it’s only for the sickest musicians and lovers of Shakespeare. I was hired for US summer stock (nothing huge but was a blast and I was housed right next to the Goodspeed Opera house. This was 2002. Up to that summer, I lifted showtunes and performed this specialized music while being encouraged and mentored by the late Hon senator (CA) Tommy Banks and the late Tim Ryan, the Chair Of Theatre Arts at MacEwan. subbed, performed, vocal coached playing with artists like Cyndi Lauper, and cut my teeth over a 15 year intense and poor period of time. I had a son and hustled gigs which meant for me, jazz pianist, composer, arranger and orchestrator. My skillset as a musician, I have devoted the last 30 yrs to musical theatre. As a music director, tap accompanist, college instructor, I learned how to program using Mainstage, and wrote for APTN “caution may contain nuts”. I estimate I have MD'd 90 book musicals, 15+ actors’ theatre cabarets and produced two very successful cabarets of my own “fabsolutely abulous” and “fabsolutely abulous-er” in 2004 and 2005 Edmonton Fringe Festivals. That my attitude was a humble “no-limit” and say “yes” to anyone who asked, I learned how to work with people of all demographics, amateur (aren’t we all) or pro, I had to make peace within myself, and without regard for gender, errors, supporting and conducting, I earned the trust and respect from musicians in the pit, the actors, the process and tradition and etiquette in the rehearsal hall, I have yet to conduct an opera from the podium. I settled to be a one-off arranger/orchestrator for the edmonton opera, for a one night fundraising Gala which raised high 7 figures in arranging “mashups” ie ABBA with Sondheim, Lady Gaga, with Gershwin and MD opera singers. Spoiler: my 27 yr old son has a genius jazz pianist Chris Andrew - and me as his mother. Truth be told, i hustled gigs for the first 20 yrs...I played in alot of pop/rock B circuit band projects like the Retrofitz, a 15 man side gig and gigged lifting and performing the music of ‘tower of power', maceo parker to MDng “Floyd Collins” etc. The last few calls I have been offered are from a long time ago.
I was shortlisted to be an electronic aerial violinist in 2011 for cirque du soleil...
performing, arranging as a keyboardist or electric violin or composing for cirque, is one of the gigs i hope to experience once in my lifetime. we'll see. i've ghost-written for television which is by far, the most fun i've ever had on a gig. i really dig every kind of music and can discuss buttons (of a song or segue for hrs...to playing or analyzing the great songwriters, gilbert and sullivan, cy coleman, johnny cash, dolly parton, bernstein, seiji ozawa, john williams, morricone and quincy jones. I am obsessed with exquisite orch/arrangers like vince mendoza, bucchino's arranger (forgot his name michael...?)
And of course I am “truly blessed and duly grateful” that I studied the repertoire for a concert solo classical violinist, to playing in the symphony orchestra (Section II to being a concertmaster) This intense 3 hrs per day practice plus rehearsals for orchestra, and chamber quartet was chased for 12 yrs. lucky girl! However while at summer violinist camp, I left rehearsal and heard “birdland” by Weather Report and followed that sound. And there was an 11 yr old dude at music camp for jazz band - playing Joe Zawinal and I was smitten. my son jordan is attending and kicking ass at the vancouver film school...and they've unanimously decided he is meant to be a composer for Pixar, Sony and music for video gaming ie BioWare.
Though divorced, baby daddy is who I defer to on all things music...but raised Jordan 50-50. So I work a day gig fed govt (EI) and work my real gig gigging in any capacity from 3pm on. I enjoy serving the play, recording tracks using ProTools, Logic and Finale. I enjoy serving others. And yes, you can do both as a single parent 🙂
So thank you for this website long overdue! i'll bet there are hundreds of female "maestras" but we are so busy with chasing the balance, avoiding poverty, averting wealthy family and friends' criticism that continues on and on. today, may 19/19 i'm a little pissed that i do not have a show booked. "mamma mia" 2018 was interesting because we had 4 keys bks and 2 players - i was the one to recognize the trouble ahead bc all 4 books included main lines and triggers, timps-the essentials. I didn’t mind while no one else cared much, raised on ABBA and Beethoven, I created the new keys II bk to include the other books. Ethan Deppe (Chicago) the creator of the Mainstage triggers and programmed Mainstage for “Mumma Mia”...helped me for 36 hrs no sleep. i am wondering if any other Maestra understand what I did and why. I have 3 decades so many questions and this platform makes me feel better about myself and hard choices I made. Cheers and much love and respect,
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