Musician Profile: Susan Billmeyer, piano & co-artistic director

Susan Billmeyer with Caroline Lemen, horn, takes a second bow after performances of works by Elsa Barraine on January 22nd, 2017.

Susan Billmeyer with Caroline Lemen, horn, take a second bow after performances of works by Elsa Barraine on January 22nd, 2017.

Marketing Intern Daniel Meyers interviews TMO's co-artistic director and ensemble pianist Susan Billmeyer 

How long have you been a member of TMO?
I started playing with TMO in 2013 as a guest, and joined officially not too long after. I'm one of the newer members!

How is TMO different than your other performance work? What do you get from TMO that you don't from your other work?
I play chamber music with many musicians in lots of circumstances, but TMO is now "home base" for me. It's really great to be able to perform regularly with colleagues who are also good friends, and the more we work together, the more we know and trust each other and the better the music making becomes.

Why is chamber music important to you? What makes it special?
Chamber music is my greatest love as a pianist. The connection that I get when I perform with just a few other people, the give and take of musical phrases, the discussions and ideas that come up in rehearsals, all of that really blooms in a unique way with chamber music. We're free to take the music in the direction we agree on, and at its best it feels like we are building on each others' thoughts and welcoming listeners into a rich conversation.

Favorite piece or favorite memories?
I have so many favorite pieces, and for many different reasons! It's hard to single one out. But I will say that playing the Brahms Piano Quartet #1 for TMO a couple of years ago was a wonderful experience. I had wanted to play it for 20 years, ever since I turned pages for my teacher's performance, and to be able to perform such deep and beautiful music with my colleagues here was thrilling for me.

How/why did you choose your instrument? When/why did you decide to pursue music for your career?
Well, I started out at age 3 on violin, and continued violin through high school. But when I was about 7 I asked my parents for piano lessons after hearing the pianist who played for my violin class (and since one of my brothers also played violin, I kinda wanted my own instrument, you know?). I love the repertoire and by the time I was about 14, I just knew I wanted to be a pianist.

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