Susan Moore, violin
When she was 10 years old Susan decided she wanted to play flute. Well, of course she got a violin instead. “A classic story. The conductor knew they needed more violins, not flutes. So they told me my arms were too short to play flute. And I believed them!”
Susan deciding to play an instrument was no fluke. Her mother plays piano, her grandmother studied piano in Paris with the famous Nadia Boulanger, an aunt played cello with the Utah Symphony (in the early 1950s, then the only orchestra to use blind auditions and hire women), her older brother plays bass and is a composer, younger brother plays jazz piano, and the next generation all play as well.
Susan’s elementary school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, had a good music program that included lessons and small orchestras. She played through high school, taking some private lessons along the way (from “crazy violinists who had some crazy ideas about how to play”). “I liked playing violin a lot. I really like playing with people.” So much so that she played in her college orchestras as an accounting major, sitting in the back of the seconds. They were happy to have her because, yes, they needed more violins. “If I’d played flute, I’d have been out of luck!” Susan graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor of science in business administration, with an emphasis on accounting.
After college, Susan moved around a bit for work, eventually coming to California, where she now lives in Oakland with her husband, Richard, and a cat named Jenny (who is often curled up asleep in her case when she practices or listening intently underfoot). She’s now Director of Strategy and Business Development at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.
And Susan’s extensive family has musical get-togethers once a year or so, starting off with Mozart and Brahms and getting a little wilder as the sessions go on, ending with some “crazy modern jazz” (sometimes, when the weather is fine, they open the doors and windows and crowds gather to listen!).
One day, in Oakland, a neighbor knocked on her door and said “I hear someone practicing violin and that person needs to come with me to my orchestra!” It was JP Young, Prometheus violinist emeritus, and Susan did indeed come to our next rehearsal (yes, we needed more violins!). That was in 1998 and she’s been with us ever since. Susan also loves playing in string trios and quartets, often with other Prometheus members.
Now, we don’t really think Susan has short arms, but we’re ever so glad she thought so!