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Heather Wittels: About Us
Heather Wittels_edited.jpg
Heather Wittels: Mission

Heather Wittels, Violin

Hometown: Brookline, Massachusetts

Joined Lyric Orchestra in 2009

Education: BS in chemistry from Yale University

                    MM and GD from New England Conservatory in violin performance

You can hear Heather on Oct 2, 2018 when she performs the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Lakeview Orchestra in Chicago's historic Athenaeum Theater. For more information, click here 

  • What is your most memorable orchestral experience?

One of my most memorable orchestral experiences was playing a fully staged production of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte at the Tanglewood Festival in 2007 with James Levine conducting and Tanglewood fellows singing and playing in the orchestra.  For several rehearsals my stand partner was Ray Gniewek, retired after 43 years as concertmaster of the Met orchestra.  It was a transcendent experience, and I learned so much about what it takes to be a good operatic musician and to aspire to do the job with great focus and joy.

  • What is your most memorable Lyric performance?

One of my most memorable operas at Lyric is Dvorak's Rusalka which we performed in early 2014.  It had never been done at Lyric before, so it was new for nearly everybody, but we have played Dvorak symphonies and chamber music, so it was familiar at the same time.  The production was beautiful, the cast was magnificent, the music was satisfying to play, and it was so moving and sad every night.  Though nearly four hours long, the 3500 high school students at our student matinee sat in unusually rapt attention and silence before cheering and applauding wildly at the end.  I won't forget the way Ana Maria Martinez's voice sounded as she sang her final lines.

  • What are your favorite aspects of playing in the Lyric Opera orchestra?

One of my favorite aspects of this job is spending time with the other musicians in the company.  The orchestra fields many good cooks and bakers, and we always eat well during the winter months when the opera season is the busiest.  Our visiting singers are wonderful people - they are actors as well as musicians, they travel all over the world, they bring an energy and zest for life to the stage, and they throw great parties too.  The opera house is a place of serious work and long hours, but it is full of warm, zany people, and celebrating together after a challenging show is gratifying and fun.

  • Outside of the pit:

When I'm not playing the violin I like to be outdoors.  Over several summers performing at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, I have learned to handle farm animals, taken riding lessons, gone swimming, hiked, boated, and gardened.

Heather Wittels: About
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