Baroque On BeaverClassical Music on Island Time

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Nicholas Jeffery

Nicholas Jeffery (2024)

Viola

What are your most important educational and musical moments?
There have been many, but I think the earliest is going to Interlochen as a camper in early high school. It was the first time I got to play with students much more advanced than I was and to experience what is possible when you treat music as more than just a class or extra-curricular activity. I still have a strong memory of playing Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 11 with Larry Rachleff conducting and for the first time feeling an audience actively engaged with a performance from beginning to end. 

Why did you choose music?
I don’t remember a specific moment when I chose to be a musician, but looking back I recognize that even as a young child I connected with music very strongly. As I grew up, I was always the most comfortable when I was in youth orchestra or at summer music camps, so I think it just felt natural that I would continue on that path in college.

Why did you choose your instrument?
Band and Orchestra classes started in fifth grade when I was in school. They took us into a room with a bunch of instruments and we got to try them all and choose what we wanted to play. I was very close to picking the clarinet, but I was able to get a sound more easily out of the string instruments. A bunch of people had already chosen violin, so I went for the viola just to be different.

What are you currently doing?
I am the Assistant Principal Violist for the Kalamazoo Symphony, and I am one of eight Artists in Residence with the orchestra. This is also my first year as Principal Violist in South Bend Symphony, and I teach students of all levels at the Crescendo Academy of Music in Kalamazoo.

Tell us about your family.
My mother was a rheumatologist and my father was a medical technician at the hospital. They are both retired now and enjoy birding all around the world. My sister makes art in various forms and writes poetry. While there are no professional musicians in my immediate family, my grandmother was a very good pianist, and my mom plays classical guitar in her free time, so I grew up hearing lots of music around the house.

Any non-musical interests or hobbies?
Walking/Hiking

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