October 8, 2015
A Q&A with Katja Linfield
I knew I’d make a career in music when: After my junior year of high school. That summer I attended an intensive chamber music program, the Quartet Program led by Charles Castleman, an extraordinary violinist and teacher. We lived and breathed music, had lessons, rehearsed and performed for almost two months—and it became clear that this was the path I wanted. I chose Oberlin College and Conservatory partly because of the cello teacher there, but also because I liked being required to take academic courses to get a bachelor of music degree.
Favorite composer: Two of my favorites are Mahler and Bach, who are diametrically opposed: I like Mahler for the complexity and emotion, Bach for the simplicity.
Favorite thing about performing music: Over the 25 years I've been in the Orchestra, no matter how many times I play some works, for instance Brahms' First Symphony, there are still moments that literally give me goose bumps. This reminds me of the power of music and the reason I'm a musician!
My advice for young musicians: It's not the number of hours you practice that matters—it's the way you practice. You can be incredibly efficient for an hour or two, and you can be inefficient for several more. "Quality vs. Quantity" is a great mantra, and so is "Practice makes Permanent."
Most challenging pieces for my instrument: I’ve always been interested in contemporary music, for its technical and artistic challenges, also because listeners don’t have preconceived notions as to how it should be performed.
What I like best about being a Minnesota Orchestra member: I am very proud to be a part of the Minnesota Orchestra. I feel lucky to be surrounded by inspiring musicians who are such wonderful colleagues, collectively and individually.
Other interesting facts: I’m the mom of triplet daughters. In 2014, my first written work, “Spontaneous Musings” about motherhood, was chosen for the annual Listen To Your Mother Show at the Minneapolis Riverview Theater. The stories go live on YouTube in summer, so now I can be found online reading the story, blubbering on stage, and dabbling in stand-up comedy!