Name: Kathleen Comalli Dillon
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Where you live now: Petaluma, CA
Day job: Formerly, diagnostic medical sonographer; now medical editor and patient educator from home
How are you enjoying your role as the concertmaster for Symphony Parnassus?
Playing concertmaster for SyPar is so far one of the most enjoyable and exciting jobs I've ever had. The musicians are outrageously dedicated, making time to rehearse difficult repertoire in addition to their demanding day jobs, and Stephen Paulson is all about phrasing and bringing a singing quality to the sound.
What is fun / challenging about the music on this concert program?
This program has one of the most famous and challenging overtures in the repertoire, Rossini's “William Tell.” The strings are required to play ricochet, a type of bowing that involves absolute obedience to the laws of physics! The Barber speaks to me personally of my growing up as an only child with aunts and uncles, the sounds of our town, and the nostalgia of being loved. And the Bartok “Concerto for Orchestra” is like touring a great and mighty palace of ideas.
Do you have a favorite composer or composers? Why?
I love so many; but I'd have to say Mozart, because every one of his works is not only perfect but ingenious and brilliant; and Verdi, because he brought so many plays and dramas to life with his brilliant and huge variety of operas. Also both composers are difficult and fun to play.
What is a memorable moment from your years of playing?
I have a moment repeated again and again since I became a professional in the SF Ballet Orchestra when I was 19: the moment when the house lights go down and the line between our daily lives and the magic of music begins. This is more apparent in a pit orchestra, but onstage when I take the A from our oboist and shake the conductor's hand, those of us onstage and every person in the audience are committing to a journey together. We'll be different when we return.
Any hobbies of note?
The NY Times Crossword Puzzle, Monday thru Wednesday; speaking French and Italian; meditation; CATS. Enough said!