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Meet the Musicians

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Stefani Burk, oboe

Oct 24 2018

Where did you grow up? Spencer, Iowa

Where do you currently live? Strafford, New Hampshire

What instrument do you play? Oboe

Educational background: BM and MA – University of Iowa; Further study with Fred Cohen

Personal Information (family, pets, kids, etc.): Married to Bill Todd, retired computer guy, daughter Andrea, three cats.

How did you get started in music? I started with flute in third grade. Switched to oboe at age 16 when my wonderful band director, Robert Dean, asked me to. He also suggested I study music at Iowa. I fell in love with playing in orchestra there, under James Dixon. Moved to Maine in 1974, got side-tracked for a while, then auditioned for PSO in 1982, after Clint Graffam retired.

What non-PSO musical activities do you participate in? Opera North, PORTopera, chamber music, mostly at the Concord Community Music School in Concord, NH, freelance gigs. I teach at CCMS and at St. Paul’s School.

What’s your favorite PSO memory to date? I have a great many wonderful memories, but I think most, if not all of them were eclipsed by the performances of Mahler Symphony No. 2 in May 2010. Toshi’s last Magic of Christmas concert would be right up there, too.

Describe a typical day: I don’t have a typical day, but most of them involve some time practicing and reed-making. I spend a lot of time driving to rehearsals and concerts. I teach and chair the Wind Dept. at CCMS. When I’m home, I try to catch up on house stuff. We built our house 20 years ago and are still trying to finish it, so there’s always a project waiting.

What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? Actually, it’s usually, “Oh, is that a good orchestra?” (I live in NH, and people don’t know.)

If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? I can’t imagine another job that would have kept me this engaged for so many years. Given that, I’d opt for one that actually allowed me to earn enough to live on more comfortably so I could at least enjoy life away from work!

Any non-musical hobbies? Gardening, cooking, making jewelry, photography, watching birds, bugs, frogs and other wild things.

What is your favorite music? What are you currently listening to? For classical music: Mahler, Brahms, Dvorak, Ravel, Prokofiev, Strauss, Puccini – I guess that makes me a late-Romantic, but I also couldn’t live without Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky — many more. I’m usually listening to whatever I’m working on, but I also love listening to XM Radio when I’m driving.

Who or what has been your greatest influence, musical or otherwise? James Dixon, U of Iowa Orchestra conductor. Inspirational, charismatic, dedicated, unforgettable.

If you regularly perform with particular ensembles and you’d like up to post the info, please describe them here. Opera North (Opera in August in Lebanon NH), PORTopera (Opera in July in Portland), and Musicians of Wall Street – Chamber Music at Concord Community Music School

Do you teach? If so, how can people get in touch with you? Yes. stefburk@metrocast.net

What/where are your favorite eats in Portland? Sala Thai, Oriental Table, and Sebago Brewing Co.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? I’d just like to say that I feel so fortunate to have spent the past 29 years playing in the PSO – a wonderful bunch of unforgettable characters!

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