Member Profiles

Autumn Shepherd

Autumn Shepherd

What do you do when you're not making beautiful music with Camerata Notturna?
So I've been a professional musician for about nine years now; I have a Masters degree in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. But currently I'm also a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful girls ages 5-1/2 and 3+ (almost 4). Practically speaking that puts me somewhere between 24/7 slave and personal assistant.

Tell us a little about your relationship with your instrument.
It may be weird to admit this, but while I appreciate and love my instrument for what it is, I'm also deeply aware that it is not a "soul mate" instrument. I have in my lifetime played instruments that I had an immediate, almost spiritual connection with sound-wise; one in particular which I remember trying out in a violin shop in Seattle when I was in early high school...but at the time the price tag was too steep for my parents to handle. The ironic thing is that a few years later we paid much more for my current instrument when I was in college, but sometimes opportunities pass you by, right? Overall, I have no regrets. However, I always keep my eyes and ears open and often will try instruments out just in case.

What is your proudest musical moment?
I think my most encouraging, if not 'proudest', musical moments are when I realize that, despite the fact that I may not be a virtuoso or able to tackle technically challenging pieces with the same reckless energy I did in college, I am still progressing musically year by year; by which I mean that I am developing over time into a smarter, savvier, more sensitive and discerning musician. And that realization gives me great hope and enjoyment in playing; it helps keep me in the music profession.

What does this orchestra mean to you?
My opportunities to play orchestral music since moving to NYC two years ago have been sparse, so practically speaking Notturna is a chance to continue playing fantastic orchestral and chamber orchestra repertoire. Personally, I've been encouraged and challenged by the depth and skill of fellow Notturna members who come together for the sheer joy of playing this awesome music, while maintaining demanding careers and personal lives outside of the music profession. It is humbling, for example, to sit next to someone who is a lawyer by day and think, "Wow, they sound great! I should practice more!" I love that!

What is your favorite Notturna moment?
Pretty much each rehearsal after the 2nd glass of wine...but seriously: the hilarious innuendo constantly flowing between the conductor and the principal string players, especially Hans (principal viola) and Steve (principal cello) make the trek to Rockefeller University worth the effort.

Tell us a random interesting fact about you.
I was deep into training, showing and judging Arabian horses for years. I even won team (overall) and individual (oral reasons) national championships in Arabian Youth Judging during my senior year in high school.