Joanna Frankel on a Lifelong Love of the Violin and Her Inspiration Behind It

By Kathy Karnap, vice president of marketing for the Columbus Symphony

Violinist Joanna Frankel joined the Columbus Symphony in 2016, and assumed the role of e concertmaster at the start of the 2017-18 season. We chatted with her about how she became a violinist, her inspirations and what she does to unwind.

Kathy: How did you choose a career as a musician?
Joanna: My father took me to a Suzuki method group violin concert with my two sisters when I was two-and-a-half. My parents were both public school teachers, but loved music and culture. We spent every free moment and vacation at museums and concerts. I asked for a violin until I was three-and-a-half, at which point my parents got me a tiny 1/32nd size violin. I never really considered being anything other than a violinist. It just immediately became my passion.

Kathy: Who are some of your greatest inspirations?
Joanna: My greatest inspirations are actually not musicians. People that have really inspired me include Picasso – I love the cubism of Picasso, how things can be taken apart and then resurrected in such a meaningful way in our minds. I have tremendous awe and respect for tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. I’m a big Philadelphia Phillies fan and love watching baseball starting pitchers – their dedication and pursuit of excellence can be so incredible, such mental toughness. I’ve been totally inspired by Borges, Salman Rushdie and Kazuhiro Ishiguro. I also love Mary Oliver’s poetry.

Kathy: What’s on your current playlist?
Joanna: I like singer/songwriter music, country music and jazz. Carla Bruni, Oscar Peterson and Garth Brooks are favorites.

Kathy: What do you do to relax or unwind?
Joanna: A South African glass of wine and hanging out with my husband and two-year-old son.

Kathy: What’s your favorite thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Joanna: I think it’s that the whole scene is really up and coming! As artists in Columbus we can really do what we feel is most meaningful to our audiences. We are creating as we go and it is very exciting.

Although the Columbus Symphony’s season is paused currently due to the coronavirus outbreak, keep an eye on columbusymphony.com for upcoming concerts and events.

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