Jennifer Hillaker, violin
Where did you grow up? Washington State.
Where do you currently live? Wakefield, MA.
What instruments do you play? Violin and piano.
Educational background: I was educated in the public schools in WA, attended University of Washington, and received my undergraduate degree there. I also did one year of a Masters Degree at New England Conservatory.
I began violin in 2nd grade, and from around 4th grade, started in the Seattle Youth Symphony orchestras and summer camps. I’m trained in Suzuki violin.
How did you get started in music? I had been playing piano for a couple years, and my older siblings were playing string instruments. My mom asked me if I would like to start violin, and I said, “Sure.” I’ve been playing ever since.
What’s your favorite PSO memory to date? I love Magic of Christmas concerts. They’re so much fun!
Describe a typical day: No such thing exists in my world. Today, I am overseeing two daughters’ schoolwork while doing dishes, laundry, planning a cooking class, answering email, paying bills, and mulching garden beds. We have no evening activities tonight (a rarity), so we might roll back the carpet and play and dance to some Irish music.
What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? “Portland, Maine?” Yes. “Isn’t that far away?” Not too far – It’s worth the drive. Come and hear us sometime…
If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? I like what I do.
Any non-musical hobbies? Being a mom, church, home-school activities and Irish Step dancing.
What is your favorite music? What are you currently listening to? Everything, except rap (is that really music anyway?). I am currently listening to my daughter playing Irish jigs on the piano (she is supposed to be doing her math).
Who or what has been your greatest influence, musical or otherwise? I attribute much of my love of music to the enthusiasm of my parents, and the guidance and inspiration of Vilem Sokol (violin teacher and the director of SYSO), as well as many other teachers who have helped develop my skills and shape my understanding of music. I believe music is a gift that enriches our lives, meant to be shared with others.