Cathryn Down

Cathryn Down
Member since 2001
Hometown: Saratoga, CA

Musical influences:
My mother teaches the violin and was a student of former SFS Concertmaster Naoum Blinder. I deeply appreciate all she did for me to help me achieve my dream of playing in the SFS. Zaven Melikian was my inspirational primary teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory. I was nineteen when I joined the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, which was a pivotal point in my musical life. Zoya Leybin and Jorja Fleezanis were wonderful violin coaches and major influences when I played in the YO. The spirit of the organization was amazing; we were treated like professionals from the first rehearsal. 

On playing in the Orchestra:
As a young child I knew I wanted to be a professional musician, and my dream was to play in this orchestra. Our overseas tours and the Mahler project are highlights for me. MTT's spontaneity in conducting Mahler makes playing it an extraordinary experience.

Advice to aspiring musicians:
Be open to influence. You may not understand or agree with all you hear, but someday it may resonate with your inner voice. Cultivate rich personal experiences and let go of emotional pain. You will need to call on your feelings and experiences to express the emotions in the music, while staying grounded in the moment.

What inspires you:
I love being surrounded by beautiful symphonic music, played by a wonderful large orchestra. Playing in the second violin section allows me to express myself in the most natural way, by playing interesting harmonies in a supportive and dynamic context. I enjoy the camaraderie of orchestral playing.

Favorite recording:
On a desert island I would have the Busoni transcription of the Bach Chaconne, played by Artur Rubinstein.