Name: Cat Cantrell
First Redlands Symphony Performance: 2019 Redlands Bowl Summer Series Concert Finale (Officially joined the orchestra November 2019)
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Charleston, South Carolina – but my family left Charleston when I was six months old. My father was in the Air Force, so we moved frequently. My only memories of Charleston are from a few years ago when I took an audition there! My family is from the Virginia side of Washington, DC, and that’s where I go home for holidays.
What other groups do you play with?
Redlands is currently my only contracted position, but I freelance all over. I have played with many orchestras in the area, and around the country – in the 2019-2020 season I played with the San Diego Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, Boise Philharmonic, Riverside Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. I am a member of the double-reed ensemble “Double Entendre” based in New York City and have done soundtracks for movies and streaming programs.
Where did you study music?
I did my undergraduate degree at Florida State University and my Master’s degree at Mannes in NYC with Sherry Sylar (Associate Principal of the New York Philharmonic).
I attended a number of summer festivals while in school, including multiple summers as a Young Artist in the Britten-Pears Programme in the UK. Through that program I got to perform a lot of great music in some exciting places, including at the Royal Albert Hall in London during the 2012 Olympics, and at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014.
What are some of your favorite pieces to play and/or hear?
- Anything by Mahler
- Stravinsky - Rite of Spring
- Stravinsky – Orpheus
- Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances
- Bernstein – Three Dance Episodes from “On the Town” (((Especially the second episode "II. Lonely Town - Pas des deux”)))
- Poulenc - Oboe Sonata
- Strauss – Oboe Concerto
- Debussy – La Mer
- Mendelssohn – Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor (for Violin, Cello, Piano)
- Bach – St. John’s Passion
- Bach – Concerto for Oboe and Violin
- Barber – Violin Concerto
- Bartok – Miraculous Mandarin
- Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez
- Loeffler- Deux Rhapsodies (for Oboe, Viola and Piano)
- Prokofiev – Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Bass
- Ravel – Piano Concerto in G
- Shostakovich – Symphony 5
- Daugherty – “Deus Ex Machina” Piano Concerto
What’s one thing you think people don’t know (but should!) about your instrument?
It is challenging to play, but it isn’t uncomfortable – no matter how red my face turns while I play. Also, we make our own reeds!
What was the most interesting or bizarre performance experience you’ve had?
I’ve played for plenty of new and whimsical gigs – I’ve performed in the backing band for a fantastic drag queen (at Lincoln Center!), I once played in an orchestra accompanying a performance on “America’s Got Talent” where we were actually underneath the stage on a hydraulic platform, so that during the song the orchestra rose out of the floor and magically appeared on stage.
I once played for a little group for an elaborate marriage proposal in the middle of Central Park – we looked like a set of usual buskers, but when the couple arrived we interrupted what we were playing to play “their song”. I’ve played in every type of venue you can think of indoors and out. My most recent unique gig was playing an opera in a huge parking lot, using a shipping container as a stage!
What are your non-musical hobbies or talents?
This year I’ve gotten really into hiking and exploring the many parks around our area – especially Griffith Park, as we live right next to it. We’ve gotten to see lots of natural beauty and many animals – but if you don’t see at least one lizard (no matter how fantastic the rest of the hike is), it’s not a good hike.
Tell us about your family!
I live with my partner Tyler (Timpanist in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and percussion freelancer in LA) and our cat, Nutella. She loves the oboe and marimba – she hates tambourine. She likes when we play together, though!
My parents are in Washington, DC – my Dad is a retired Air Force Colonel, and excellent composer. My Mother works for a foundation that provides funding to aspiring and new educators. My brother is the Technical Director for a Performing Arts Center in Kentucky.