Hidden from small

Kimberly Fisher - Behind the Scenes

September 20, 2016

Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.

Kimberly Fisher holds the Peter A. Benoliel Chair.

Where were you born? I was born in Traverse City, MI.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Lucky for me, it’s anything by Beethoven. I have a goal to learn every violin and viola part he ever wrote by the time I retire from playing. I’m doing well on the violin parts of symphonies (of course), his violin sonatas, and many of his string quartets. I have a lot ahead of me with the viola parts!

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Cucina Forte, but I want to keep it my own little secret.

Tell us about your instrument? I have two violins that I use. One is a magnificent 1782 violin by Guadagnini on loan to me from The Philadelphia Orchestra that I play with the Orchestra. The other is a no-name French instrument that belonged to my mother-in-law. She was given the instrument by Gerhart Hetzel, beloved concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic. I usually perform solo and chamber music on it because it has a warm, but very powerful sound.

If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? I think I would like to ask J.S. Bach to show me how to play his six sonatas and partitas better. Certainly more than one question.

What piece of music never fails to move you? Beethoven’s String Quartet No.13 in B-flat major, Op. 130. And, my dream of performing it is coming true on November 7 with fellow Philadelphia Orchestra musicians William Polk, Kerri Ryan, and John Koen at the Mutter Museum. I can’t wait!

When did you join the Orchestra? In 1992.

What’s your favorite type of food? Usually the “bad-for-you” kind!

What books are on your nightstand? My husband reads to me most nights. We’re currently reading Jan Swafford’s Johannes Brahms: A Biography (his Beethoven biography was amazing, too!) and Moby Dick.

Do you speak any other languages? Oui, je parle français. Mais, je comprend mieux la française parisienne que la française québécois. Veuillez m’excuser, cher Yannick. (Yes, I speak French. But I understand Parisienne French better than Quebec French. Excuse me, dear Yannick.)

Do you follow any blogs? No.

Do you have any hobbies? I love watching tennis, and I make mosaic art with my husband. We’re finishing a portrait of J.S. Bach right now.

Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake.

What’s the last recording you purchased? Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. I can’t believe it was a flop when it was premiered.

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? I grew up loving recordings of The Philadelphia Orchestra, but the first time I heard the Orchestra live was in Vancouver, Canada, in 1986. It was just a few months before I moved to Philadelphia to attend Curtis.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Playing in Vienna is a huge thrill. I imagine Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler … all working their genius in that one part of the world.

Photo by Jessica Griffin