Hidden from small

Barbara Govatos - Behind the Scenes

September 29, 2015

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

Where were you born? In Wilmington, Delaware.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Strauss’s Don Juan and Bartók’s Divertimento for strings.

What’s your most treasured possession? I own it, but it possesses me. I am very blessed to have found my musical voice through my Brothers Amati violin, made in 1619 in Cremona.

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Impossible to name just one! Kanella, Parc, Mama’s Vegetarian for falafel, Barbuzzo, Modo Mio, Shiroi Hana, Pizzeria Vetri …

What’s in your instrument case? Other than what you would expect, photos of family, friends, and beloved teachers, and a pair of fingerless gloves for really frigid rehearsal halls.

What piece of music never fails to move you? Schubert’s Fantasy in C major, for violin and piano.

When did you join the Orchestra? 1982.

What books are on your nightstand? Hard copy or e-reader? My Kindle is very well traveled. Right now, I’m absorbed with a book about mindfulness and rereading Orwell’s 1984.

Do you speak any other languages? I manage to be understood almost everywhere the Orchestra has traveled, however, my grammar is non-existent. My favorites are Italian, French, and Greek.
Do you have any hobbies? Baking, tennis, reading historical novels, traveling. Is eating a hobby?
Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? Amy Beach’s “Gaelic” Symphony. It is the first symphony written by an American woman and it would sound incredible on The Philadelphia Orchestra. It is a post-Romantic work with lots of shining moments for our solo instruments.

What’s the last recording you purchased? CD or download? Even though I make recordings, I have to admit that I really prefer to go to live performances!

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? When I was 15. It was a class trip in the evening, and I remember the violin soloist was Jill Levy playing the third movement of Bruch’s First Concerto with Maestro Ormandy conducting.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? For orchestral music, Carnegie Hall and Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, and for chamber music, the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center. Otherwise, wherever there are children, because they are so open, fresh, and honest with their feelings and reactions to music.

Photo by Jessica Griffin