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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Meet the Charlotte Symphony’s Newest Musicians, Part I



You might notice a few new faces in the Orchestra this season! We caught up with six of the new members to welcome them to the CSO and learn a little more about who they are. Stay tuned next month when we meet the remaining four. 

Drew Dansby, Acting Section Cello

 
How were you introduced to music and the cello?
My parents, neither of whom played an instrument, started me on violin lessons on my fourth birthday after I begged them to start playing when I saw a violinist perform at our church. Six months later, I saw another student having a cello lesson before me, and I begged my parents again to add cello. My teacher rented us both instruments and split my lesson time into half violin and half cello. I continue to play both instruments to this day!

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I'm really looking forward to spending a year in my hometown with family very close, and exploring more of this constantly changing city.
 
I grew up going to CSO concerts and already feel like I know so many of the people, and it's surreal to finally get to join the orchestra myself. It will also be pretty intimidating to be colleagues with many of the musicians I studied with and was coached by when I was a kid.

What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I'm an avid reader, and I also love spending time in nature, doing Sudoku puzzles, volunteering for Crisis Text Line, and continuing my quest to find the best chicken and waffles in Charlotte.

>> Learn more about Drew

Leah Latorraca, Acting Section First Violin

 
Where were you born? 
I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin.

How were you introduced to music and the violin?
I started playing violin when I was four. My older sister had started taking violin lessons, and naturally, I wanted to copy everything that she was doing!

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I am looking forward to meeting and playing with a new group of wonderful colleagues. Outside of work, I am excited to explore Charlotte and see what North Carolina has to offer! 
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
Outside of violin, I enjoy running, baking, traveling, and hanging out with friends!

>> Learn more about Leah

Margaret O'Leary, Acting Section Bassoon

 
How were you introduced to music and the bassoon?
When I was in fourth grade I started guitar lessons because I wanted to be in a rock band. However, practicing took way more discipline than I expected and after a year or so I gave up. In middle school I decided to give playing music another try and joined the school band program on the clarinet. A few months later I went to a Boston Pops concert, which was my first time ever seeing or hearing a bassoon. I was intrigued by how many keys it had, and liked the way it sounded. I doubled on clarinet and bassoon for about a year before deciding I wanted to focus on bassoon.
 
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I'm looking forward to trying new restaurants and visiting Charlotte's museums, but I am most excited just to be playing in an orchestra again. Like most musicians, I haven't had many chances to play with other people over the past year and a half, so I really can't wait to perform more regularly. I feel lucky to be a part of this community; everyone in the orchestra has been very warm and welcoming, and I can't wait to make music with everybody!

What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I really like to read, and I'm lucky to live just a short walk away from a branch of the Charlotte Public Library. One new hobby I have picked up recently is playing chess. I'm slowly studying up on strategies, but I also enjoy just playing for fun and seeing what happens.

>> Learn more about Margaret

Alice Silva, Acting Section Violin

 
Where were you born? 
I was born and raised in Fortaleza Brazil and came to the U.S. in 2007 to go to college.

How were you introduced to music and the violin?
I was introduced to music and the violin in my hometown through an afterschool program for underprivileged children. 
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
Performing is my fun! Besides the symphony, I love playing Broadway shows, operas, weddings, Christmas concerts, chamber music, and in new music ensembles. But I also like to hang out with friends, discover different coffee shops in town, and travel when I can. I am a licensed Realtor in NC and SC and I am also a reservist in the U.S. Army. I am very excited to join CSO for the season!

>> Learn more about Alice

Denielle Wilson, Acting Section Cello

 
How were you introduced to music and the cello?
I was primarily introduced to music at church. My father loves singing, and started me and my siblings on piano lessons when we turned five years old. The classical station was often our radio listening of choice, and by the time I was ten, my dad started taking me to cello lessons.

What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte?
I look forward to getting to know the outdoor beauty of Charlotte, making new friends, and growing more familiar with the feelings of playing in an orchestra full-time. I am hoping to find at least one good vegan/vegetarian Caribbean restaurant.
 
What do you do for fun when you're not performing/practicing?
I enjoy eating out, listening to music, reading, and having long telephone conversations with my siblings. An occasional visit to the movie theater is also nice.

>> Learn more about Denielle

Naho Zhu, Acting Section Bassoon

 
Where were you born? 
I was born in Kyoto, Japan, where I lived until I was 7 years old. After that we moved to Massachusetts, where my parents still live.

How were you introduced to music and the bassoon? 
My mom had me start piano lessons when I was three years old and, apparently, I fell asleep at my first lesson. The bassoon was something I became interested in after I joined the middle school band on the flute. We were working on a piece that had several measures of silence where a bassoon solo was supposed to be but we had no bassoonist at the time, so I volunteered to play it!
 
What do you look forward to most about living and working in Charlotte? 
I got a pandemic puppy last year, so I'm excited to explore parks and walking trails around Charlotte with him! Coming from Boston, I'm also looking forward to warmer weather, especially during the winter.

What would like the audience to know about you? 
That I'm so grateful for their passion and interest in music! As much time as we spend practicing by ourselves, what really gives our work meaning is the fact that we have people in the audience who are receptive to it, and who hopefully each take away something personal from the collective experience.

>> Learn more about Naho

Posted in Community. Tagged as CSO Musicians.

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