Catherine A.Mueller Chair
Catherine A. Mueller Chair
Member since 1993
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
I studied with a wonderful teacher in Japan, named Takiko Ohmura. She was the first Japanese violinist to enter the Juilliard School and she came back to Japan because of World War II. Later, I studied with Jascha Heifetz at the University of Southern California, and I taught as his assistant. He was a tremendous influence, as was cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, who was also teaching at USC.
On being in the Orchestra:
The feeling of community in the San Francisco Symphony is amazing. I admire the myriad of talents and the musicianship of my colleagues; in concerts, we completely focus on listening to each other and on experiencing the music together. And we are supportive of each other both in and out of music—a special quality that has been noticed by some out-of-town friends.
I enjoy teaching at home. I practice the pieces my students are studying, and some are very difficult and keep me busy!
I enjoyed John Adams’s Hallelujah Junction very much. We have played his Harmonielehre, which was also recorded live. I thought the piece was so beautiful and also enjoyed reading Adams’s explanation of his use of titles like Meister Eckhart and Quackie in our program notes. Now I want to see all his operas! I have been privileged to have played in many of the productions of Adams’s work at the Symphony, including the beautiful El Niño and A Flowering Tree.
Yukiko Kurakata has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.