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Juliana Athayde

Juliana Athayde
Juliana Athayde

Instrument: Violin

With the RPO since: 2005

Favorite time of year in Rochester: A California girl at heart, I really enjoy all four seasons that Rochester provides.  Although the San Francisco Bay Area is beautiful year round, I enjoy the quiet beauty of the first snow, the thaw and first flowers of spring, the warmth of summer and, of course, the changing leaves during fall.

Hometown: Orinda, California

What you're most likely to order at Java's: Latte, Chai tea, or their delicious "Jungle Juice" (fruit nectar mixed with sparkling water - yum!)

When not performing with the RPO, you can find me: Teaching at Eastman or at home, performing chamber music around town, enjoying time with friends and spending time with my husband, RPO Principal Oboist Erik Behr!

First music-related memory: Listening to my mom's violin students, hearing my dad's jazz jam sessions at home, and singing along with the radio in the car.

I decided to be a professional musician when: From the age of two, my violin and I were inseparable. Also, growing up in a musical house, I just thought that's what everyone did! Between my parents’ private students and musician colleagues, it just seemed that everyone I encountered was a musician - being a violinist felt completely natural for me.

Favorite travel destination: Cape Town, South Africa where my husband's family still lives, California where my family is, and anywhere in Europe. I'm looking forward to visiting Portugal and Norway (where some of my ancestors originated), Italy and Spain, as well as returning to other parts of Europe I have been fortunate enough to visit over the years.

Influential teachers: Dorothy Lee, Zoya Leybin, Paul Kantor, and William Preucil

Favorite ice cream flavor: Coffee or anything related

What are your other "hidden" talents: My other musical talents are French horn and jazz piano (jazz violin too!). When I'm not making music, my husband and I love to cook and play scrabble together.

Do you teach private students? I have private students in addition to the Eastman School of Music undergraduates with whom I work on a weekly basis. I love to teach because in addition to helping people, it allows me to examine my own craft on a deeper level.

What other orchestras have you performed with: Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra , Iris Chamber Orchestra, Canton Symphony, Plymouth Symphony, Mainly Mozart Festival orchestra, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Favorite restaurant in town: 2 Vine is my favorite after concerts - great food and a lively atmosphere. For a great lunch with friends, my husband and I love Magnolia's Cafe on the corner of Oxford and Park Avenue.

What types of music do you like to listen to? Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Strauss, Bartok! I also love jazz as I grew up hearing at home all the time. My iPod is full of everything from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock and beyond!

The RPO is essential to Rochester because:  We bring different kinds of music to all parts of the community. Outreach is an essential building block for any orchestra and, more broadly, the future of classical music. I really enjoy playing for adults and children alike who might not be exposed to orchestral music if it weren't for the RPO.

If someone were visiting Rochester, what would you tell them to go see or do? First the RPO of course! Then I would definitely suggest a visit to Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, Canandaigua, and a drive along the Lake Ontario waterfront. In town, I would tell guests to check out the Eastman House, the Memorial Art Gallery, and Craft Company No. 6 for great gifts.
 

Biography

Appointed concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005 at age twenty-four, Juliana Athayde became the youngest person to hold the position since the orchestra’s inception in 1922. She also has appeared as guest concertmaster for the Houston and Kansas City Symphonies as well as the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Ontario.

Prior to joining the RPO, Ms. Athayde was concertmaster of the Canton and Plymouth (Michigan) Symphonies. In 2002, she served as concertmaster of the New York String Seminar under the direction of Jaime Laredo for concerts at Carnegie Hall. For five years, she was a member of the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis and she has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra in the United States and Europe.

Ms. Athayde’s numerous solo appearances with the RPO have covered a wide range of composers from Mozart and Brahms to Barber and Prokofiev as well as the 2010 premiere of Allen Shawn’s Violin Concerto, commissioned by the RPO and specifically written for Ms. Athayde. She has also performed as a soloist with the Asheville, Canton, Diablo, Fayetteville, Flint, Mid-Texas, Palo Alto, Plymouth, and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras. 

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Athayde made her solo debut at the age of 16 performing with the San Francisco Symphony. In demand as a chamber musician, Ms. Athayde has collaborated with great artists, including Michael Tilson Thomas, Joseph Silverstein, William Preucil, Anton Nel, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. She has been praised by critics for her “power and precision,” “melting lyricism,” and “larger than life” performances.

A passionate educator, Ms. Athayde is currently on the faculties of the Eastman School of Music, Roberts Wesleyan College, Cornell University, and is a visiting teacher at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She received her degrees from the University of Michigan with Paul Kantor (B.M.) and the Cleveland Institute of Music with Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Preucil (M.M. and A.D.), becoming the first graduate of CIM’s Concertmaster Academy.

She spends her summers performing alongside her husband, RPO principal oboist Erik Behr, at San Diego’s Mainly Mozart Festival and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. Ms. Athayde performs on a 1948 Celeste Farotto violin and a J.B. Vuillaume bow.

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