Leader Sharon Roffman
When did you join the RSNO?
I joined the RSNO in February 2018.
Where are you from?
I grew up in a suburb of New York City.
Where did you study?
When I was a kid I went to the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division and studied with three great violin teachers – Nicole DiCecco, Peter Winograd and Patinka Kopec. At 16 I went to the University of Southern California for two years and studied with Robert Lipsett, then to the Cleveland Institute of Music for four years working with Donald Weilerstein. Finally I went to Juilliard for two years, studying with Mr Weilerstein and Itzhak Perlman. I am extremely grateful to all of my amazing teachers, who each gave me something important and unique that blended into who I am today.
What is your favourite RSNO memory so far?
I really enjoyed when we recently played Beethoven Five without a conductor and at the end we all stood on stage in a line and bowed together instead of from our usual seats. Bowing together like that, I felt a real sense of community, equality and team spirit.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not playing with the Orchestra?
Reading, watching dumb TV shows and eating good French cheese.
If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be, and why?
Carlos Kleiber, a conductor who died about 15 years ago, without doubt. He’s my favourite musician of all time. I read a book of his letters and he had a wicked sense of humour!
You’re stranded on a desert island. You’re allowed three albums and a book. What would they be and why?
When I was a kid I had tapes that I would listen to over and over. I think I would revert to those because they remind me of the excitement of discovering music. The first tape I bought was Shostakovich piano concertos. I don’t remember who was playing but I listened to them constantly and could still sing them to you by heart. I adore La traviata with the soprano Ileana Cotrubas. In fact, I literally just realised the conductor of that recording is Carlos Kleiber! And maybe the first album of violinist Joshua Bell that he released in his teens – I have always loved and felt inspired by his playing. As for one book, hmm … maybe Proust’s In Search of Lost Time? It would keep me occupied and the subject of time and memories would fit the setting.