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Katherine Shuldiner

Chicagoan at a Glance

Favorite Chicago restaurant: Tango Sur
Favorite Chicago landmark: The Botanical Garden
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: Andersonville
Favorite Chicago sports team: The Cubs
Favorite Chicago deep dish pizza joint: Lou Malnatis
Chicago-style hot dogs: Yes

Why did you go into music - and specifically your field?

I grew up going to early music performances throughout the city.  I decided I wanted to learn the cello after hearing a performance of Biber's Batallia at a baroque workshop held by The Music Institute of Chicago.  My dad told me the only way I could take lessons was if the teacher, John Mark Rozendaal, agreed to teach me.  I asked, he said yes, and eventually he became my first viola da gamba teacher as well. The rest is early music nerd history.

What's something quirky about how you do your craft that others don't?

When I'm learning a new piece, instead of always annotating my music with dynamic markings, I create a narrative in my head, either through a movie or a set of paintings. Later, as I'm performing, I guide myself through the music by relating it to those different scenes.

What communities in Chicago do you identify with that have meaning to you and why?

The Chicago chapter of the Viola da Gamba Society of America has been hugely supportive of me since I joined at  the age of eleven all the way to the present. The friendship and guidance I received (and continue to receive) from the members is a big reason why I pursued a professional career in music.

What's a funny story about your time living or working in Chicago?

I was coming home from a rehearsal downtown, two years ago on the day of The Cubs parade after they won the world series. I was so off balance in a packed L, with my instrument on my back and nowhere to sit and nothing to hold on to, that I kept almost falling over and into other people. After a group of Cubs fans were repeatedly being knocked into by my case they realized my predicament and held on to me until my stop so I wouldn't fall over.  Thanks again guys!