Why did my whole family make music their career?

Why did my whole family make music their career?


norman lebrecht

November 30, 2017

From our string quartet diarist, Anthea Kreston:


Being from a musical family, and married to a musical family, we are a bunch of entrepreneurs and road warriors. Between Jason and I, and including siblings and spouses and parents, we number 2 violinists, 2 violists, 3 cellists, a pianist and a French Hornist. If you stretch just a tad farther, to grandparents and kids and uncles, you can add a veritable orchestra to the list, top-to-bottom – from Executive Director, lawyer, wind instruments, public education, movie music, and program-note writing.

So – why did we all choose music, and what drew us to our different paths? This week I spoke to my oldest sister, Aimee Kreston, to find out a little about what she is up to.

I have been getting enviable photos all week in my Whatsapp – bare feet stretched out, party-shaped beverage with fresh fruit dangling lazily to the side, a peak of the brim of a floppy sun hat over the top, as pristine white beaches stretch to the left and right of those curiously still blaringly white toes. As I eye our basement water pump nervously in Berlin, rain seemingly never-ending, and craving just a sliver of blue in the carpet of grey sky, my oldest sister is sitting at the helm of a young, vibrant orchestra in Boca del Rio, Mexico, eagerly awaiting guest soloist Joshua Bell and the grand opening of their brilliant new hall, perched between land, river and Gulf of Mexico.

I grew up in a house, as the youngest of three very hard-working musical girls, surrounded by music. We were all competitive and dedicated, and every night I would go to sleep hearing my sisters hard at work on their crafts. When my oldest sister got into the famed Curtis Institute of Music, we were all proud. Immediately after graduation, nervous for her financial future, my sister landed a coveted job in the Minnesota Orchestra. She excelled, moved to a principal position, and later joined L’Orchestre de Paris – also working her way from section to a leadership position.

I asked her this week about her path, her choices, and she said that all-in-all, her 30 years as an orchestral player has been fulfilling – it offered her job and future security, an instant framework, and a set schedule. What it lacked in perhaps personal fulfillment could be made up for by outside projects, teaching and playing in mixed settings.

After a number of years in Paris, she was drawn by love and a desire for change to Los Angeles, where she maintains a busy mixed career – teaching at Colburn, playing studio music, and being concertmaster of Pasadena Symphony. When she got the invitation to Mexico this week, she jumped at the chance to go down.

This orchestra and concert hall was conceived and build as a way to build on the recent reinvigoration of this city, just outside Veracruz. Passionately supported by the Mayor, the young orchestra (most under 30) have ample rehearsal (15 hours for 1 concert as opposed to 6 to 2 in many medium sized American orchestras), an extensive community outreach program, a chamber music program and an incredible new hall. My sister loves adding a third language to her library, and is giddy with excitement over the opening this weekend – the NY Times and even the President of Mexico will be there to cheer on this fresh group of dreamers.

Am I jealous? Oh just a little bit – but I do think I see a sliver of sun coming through these dreary clouds!




  • RW2013 says:

    Thanks again for the ticket and the great concert on Tuesday!
    More Shostakovich please, and think about using the Webern again as your encore.

  • Marg says:

    Well, genetically, your,kids don’t stand a chance of skipping music in their lives!

  • Zenaida says:

    Since I had never even heard of Boca del Rio Philharmonic, I just read all there is to read about it on the net – sounds very positive and congratulations and good luck to your sister for having taken up this challenge. Jorge Mestre has a very solid reputation and he seems perfectly suited for the job of forming this new entity. The new hall looks stunning and has already been mentioned in several architectural publications.

  • Michael Storrs says:

    I love reading your column…you come over as a very civilized person!
    Michael Storrs.