With the orchestra since: 1992
Originally from: Bethlehem, Pa.
Education: Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music
Age I started studying my instrument: I started on the violin in public school, with group lessons, in fourth grade (age 8). I switched to viola four years later. I am the poster child for good public school music education.
If I weren't doing this, I'd be: When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I still think that sounds terrific.
My iPod's usually playing: Don't have an iPod — I have a less expensive, very basic MP3 player that I barely know how to use. Lots of Bela Fleck, Yellowjackets, Steely Dan, Intervision (a Portland band that deserves lots more recognition). For a string player, I listen to a surprising amount of piano music, and surprisingly little string music.
Last book I read was: The Tenth Door by Michelle Hebert (a book about yoga).
I'm an expert at: I'm told I make great muffins.
But I'm really lousy at: Computers terrify me. I know that mine tries to be friendly and helpful to me, but we don't seem to speak the same language.
Dream vacation: Walking tour of the English coast.
The question you're asked most often about your instrument:
Q: "What's a viola?" (pronounced vee-o-la, not vi-o-la)
Me: "It's a little bigger than a violin."
Q: "Oh, is that the one you have to sit to play?"
Me: "No, that's a cello; smaller than that."
Q: "Okay, I don't know then."
Me: (mental sigh) "No one ever does." But then if my viola's handy, and I'm able to play it for them, they suddenly realize a viola's the best thing ever.