KATHLEEN NESTER is second flute and solo piccolo for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra (CT) and Principal Flute of Amici New York and the OK Mozart Festival. Nester has performed as extra with other area ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York City Opera and Hudson Valley Philharmonic. She has been featured as concerto soloist on both flute and piccolo with the NJSO, toured Japan as soloist with the New York Symphonic Ensemble on both instruments and played concertos on alto recorder with Philharmonia Virtuosi and the Centre Symphony. In 2010, she was featured on alto flute in a “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast with violinist Joshua Bell.
Nester has performed on several movie soundtracks, including Julie & Julia and The Rookie, and she has recorded chamber music on the Albany, Arabesque, Musical Heritage and Sony record labels. She has performed with the orchestras of several Broadway shows, including South Pacific, Man of La Mancha, Woman in White and Mary Poppins. She is currently the flutist for the Broadway revival of Evita.
Nester is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and a member of the flute faculty at New York University.
Question & Answer
HOMETOWN: New Haven, Connecticut.
PRACTICE ROUTINE: I love to practice. I practice flute and piccolo every day, and when I have the time, I practice alto recorder and Irish flute as well.
FAVORITE PASTIMES: I love to read and do crossword puzzles. I also like to knit, visit art museums and go to plays and movies. Since I cook for my family every day, I try to improve my cooking skills by frequently trying new recipes.
POPULAR LISTENING: I really like to listen to singers, particularly Jo Stafford, Karen Carpenter, Ella Fitzgerald, Bonnie Raitt and Jane Monheit. Lately I’ve enjoyed listening to John Pizzarelli and Zooey Deschanel. In addition, I listen to talk radio, particularly NPR’s Brian Lehrer, Leonard Lopate, John Schaefer and Isaiah Sheffer’s “Selected Shorts.”
RECOMMENDED READING: All the works of Kazuo Ishiguro, William Trevor, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Stroud and, of course, the British classics: Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, Henry James, Kingsley Amis, Nathaniel Hawthorne and many, many others.
BOOK OF THE MOMENT: “The Way We Live Now,” by Anthony Trollope, and “Let the Great World Spin,” by Colum McCann.
FAVORITE FILM: I love film. Most recently I have seen, and loved, The King’s Speech (great use of classical music in the soundtrack!). And I love animated movies—check out the beautifully drawn Secret of Kells.
FAVORITE SPORTS: Swimming, skiing and ice skating.
FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR: Ciao Bella’s Green sorbet.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Vosges chocolate.
IF I WERE NOT A MUSICIAN … I would like to be a visual artist or a writer.
IF I WERE A CRAYON, THE COLOR I WOULD BE: Burnt Sienna.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS: Keep practicing! Whether or not you aspire to become a professional, playing a musical instrument is a lot of fun!
WHY MUSIC MATTERS: Music is a universal language that unites all of humankind. Music enriches both the performer and the audience. Learning to play an instrument, or developing an educated ear, is as essential to personal well-being as learning how to read. Moreover, as outlined in a recent Scientific American article (October 26, 2010), music education can improve cognitive development in general.
INSPIRED BY: I am always inspired by the work of my colleagues. In addition, as a musician-elected representative to the NJSO Board of Trustees, I am awed by the dedication of these individuals to the NJSO. Music really matters to them!