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Introducing Ashley Salinas

What is your name?

Ashley SalinasSalinasRecital2015

Where are you from?

Pasadena, TX

How are you connected to the UNT Viola Studio?

I came to UNT in 2009 for my MM degree and am currently in my third year as a DMA student studying viola performance and Early Music. I am also the Teaching Fellow for string methods class.

Did you choose the viola, or did the viola choose you?

I think it chose me: I started violin lessons when I was nine years old. When Texas All-Region Orchestra auditions came around, I was constantly disappointed with the results: it seemed like no matter how much I practiced violin, there were just too many other strong violinists to compete against, many of whom had been studying violin for three or four years longer than I had. The switch to viola seemed to be a “third time’s a charm” decision for me. I begged my mom to let me play cello even though the shop employee (who happened to be a cellist) strongly suggested viola. At the end of my eighth grade year, I auditioned for youth orchestra on violin and the director asked if I had interest in playing viola. Finally, my high school orchestra teacher, who was also a violist, asked me to seriously consider switching since there were fewer violas than violins….so I did.

Tell us about your viola! Who made it? How did you come to play this instrument? Does

it have a name?

My viola was made by Guy Cole in 2006 and I purchased it from Robertson’s Violin Shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Do you come from a musical family?

My dad has an extensive vinyl collection, so­ his influence and insistence on high audio quality made a lasting impression on my own standards of sound quality.

What are your career goals?

Chamber music and teaching.

What made you want to pursue music as a career rather than as a hobby?

I absolutely cannot see myself doing anything else.

If you couldn’t be in music, what career would you choose?

Arts management.

Who has been the most influential musician in your life?

My undergraduate orchestra conductor at Sam Houston State University, Dr. Carol Smith, has been one of the most influential figures in my life, not only in music, but also as a strong female professional role model. She reinforced the importance of score study and critical listening in symphony orchestra, as well as in chamber music and other genres.

Do you have any pre­concert rituals?

I make an effort to spend as much time in the performance space as I can get:

• I take time to walk around the perimeter of the hall, envisioning watching myself on the

stage from various points in the room.

• I snap a few photos of the space: what I will see just before entering the stage (backstage

perspective) and what my perspective will be during the actual performance. These photos

allow me to maintain mental focus as I spend the final days preparing for performance.

 I don’t stray from my normal morning routine (i.e., I drink the same amount of coffee and eat a regular breakfast.) Recently, I’ve been scheduling in a short workout, and listening to my program several hours before showtime. My instrument warmup consists of slow practice and playing through a “repetition checklist.”

What is your favorite memory, thus far, of being a musician?

I cannot pin down one favorite memory– ­ traveling has given me a wealth of beautiful memories. Topping the list would be traveling to China and Mexico with my quartet at SHSU, all six summers I spent at the Performing Arts Institute (PAI) at Wyoming Seminary, in Pennsylvania, and most recently spending this past summer at Green Mountain Music Festival in Vermont with my best friend from SHSU (who is currently studying viola in Florida).


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