‘Sometimes people start out in one place and don’t end where they expect.’
“From the age of 7, I knew that I wanted to play piano for the rest of my life. I pursued it in college, thinking that I wanted to be a pianist and a music teacher. After playing and accompanying singers in college, I quickly discovered that I had an operatic voice. I worked really hard and auditioned to become an opera singer. I did many young artist and opera apprenticeship programs, and then I was an accompanist for ballet schools. I played and sang in churches and performed in operas throughout the U.S. In 2006, I met my now best friend and business partner at the Utah Festival Opera. We both happened to be named Jennifer, we met while singing, we became roommates for a summer and we are both from Long Island!
I’m glad that my partner and I were brave enough to realize our dream and put it into action.
“Later, we started working together at a church. She was the cantor, and I was the organist for 13 years. At the same time, we were both teaching piano and voice privately. We collaborated and did recitals with all of our students informally. We had a dream to build something bigger. We saw the need for lessons in the home. Now Long Island Studio of Music has over 50 teachers and over 400 students. Our teaching faculty has music degrees and plays all different instruments. I’m really proud of what we built and the fact that we’re seeing the students year after year getting better and better. Sometimes my partner and I just look out into audiences of parents and students and appreciate that we keep music-making alive. I didn’t realize that I am a leader.
“I thought that being a successful musician meant that you’re only performing. What I have to impart on my students is important and invaluable. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it has grown into this. There’s a whole other level of performing that comes into this. I have grown a lot; I am good at it, and I really enjoy it. I’m where I’m meant to be. Sometimes people start out in one place and don’t end where they expect. You never know where your path is going to take you. I have been lucky, but I have taken the risks along the way. I’m glad that my partner and I were brave enough to realize our dream and put it into action.”
Interviewed by Iris Wiener