Diane Schoenfeld, Violin
Should you hear soft strains of Czárdás between our set pieces, it just might be coming from the violin that now belongs to Diane. Family lore has it that, somewhere in Austro-Hungaria, a gypsy gave it to her great uncle, who gave it to her father who gave it to her.
Diane started her musical career on piano, having lessons from a young age in her home town of San Lorenzo. But her teacher’s choice of repertoire was totally uninspiring and made her quit. Luckily, she quickly picked up her father’s violin. “Once we played Die Meistersinger in Junior High orchestra, I was really hooked,” she says. “I liked the sound and social aspects of the ensemble. And I’m very grateful that my parents kept paying for my private lessons even though I hardly practiced.” Her teacher was the conductor of the Richmond Symphony. Yes, there was a symphony orchestra in Richmond, CA, back then! Diane played and took lessons all the way through high school; orchestra was every day at 8am. “I was usually late.”
Diane majored in music (performance, theory, ensembles) at Cal State Hayward and became a substitute music teacher for a while. Then, total switch! She became a drafter, doing civil and structural drafting. We could stretch and say, perhaps applied math is the common thread? And the violin went on hiatus.
While home schooling her daughter, the violin reappeared in the Albany Community Orchestra, where Diane met other Prometheus players. She switched to join Prometheus about five years ago and started taking lessons from Eric, “who helped me play music I never thought I would even be able to approach. I feel fortunate to play with such a fine group under Eric’s baton.” Among her favorites are Spanish composers. “They have a different beat and violins become a rhythm section; so different from other music.” Aha, we suspect there may be a little gypsy lurking in that violin still!
~ Joyce Vollmer