Chicago Philharmonic Violinist Sheila Hanford

Sheila HanfordQ. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?

A. I am the youngest of six children, and my brothers and I all took piano lessons from my mother. I began piano at the age of four. I liked it well enough, but my mother quit me when I wouldn’t practice! At that point I started violin and discovered that it was the instrument for me. As a child I was surrounded by music-my mother would teach piano, my brothers would practice their various instruments. I started teaching violin at the age of 12 and performing professionally at the age of 14 and just never stopped.

Q. What do you like about the Chicago Philharmonic’s ensemble approach in creating music?
A. I think that the musicians of the Chicago Philharmonic are always striving for great ensemble by listening to one another is if we were playing chamber music.

Q. What new endeavors would you like to see the Chicago Philharmonic pursue in the future?
A. I think it would be interesting for the Chicago Philharmonic to present a program aimed at children. I think it would be a wonderful experience for the students in the area to take a field trip to hear and see the Chicago Philharmonic!

Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. I read a lot of non-fiction. I am about to begin reading The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. I heard the author interviewed twice on NPR and it sounded like a fascinating book.

Q. What favorite music are you listening to?
A. I am currently listening to the Shostakovitch Piano Quintet. Not only is it one of my favorite pieces, but I am performing it in April.

Q. What do you like to do as a hobby?
A. I like to do woodworking as a hobby. I’ve made two tables through classes at the Chicago School of Woodworking. It’s so much fun!

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