Oboist Inspires Music Education Supporters

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If you don’t believe that classical music can make you smarter, then you haven’t met Jessica Pearlman.

We met at the Newport Beach Country Club last Monday during a Pacific Symphony League luncheon where she performed an awe-inspiring selection of short pieces showcasing her talent as the Pacific Symphony’s Principal Oboist.

Pearlman, who moved to Orange County after completing her Master of Music in 2009 at The Julliard School, is an impressive young woman on many levels. As she cheerfully explained to the audience how it takes her almost as much time to make her own oboe reeds as it does to practice, I couldn’t help but admire not only her bright and easy-going demeanor, but her many accomplishments outlined in her bio in the program.

Newport Beach resident Suzanne Chonette, left, has been a longtime underwriter of the principal oboe chair for the Pacific Symphony, presently held by musician Jessica Pearlman, right. Photo by Stan Sholik Photography

Before she entered Julliard, Pearlman studied music at Oberlin College and Conservatory where she earned her Bachelor of Music, as well as a B.A. in neuroscience as a pre-med student. During that time, her summer research in brain tumor models conducted at Johns Hopkins University was presented at the 2006 conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

While at Oberlin she served as secondary oboe teacher to undergraduate students there and at Yale University (where she spent her first year of graduate school before moving to Julliard).  Did I mention, she also studied the violin?

She’s performed and toured with esteemed organizations including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera; has been a member of the Verbier (Switzerland) Festival Orchestra since 2007, a featured soloist with countless other symphonies and musical groups, and is about to go on tour with Shuffle Concert (in New York), a unique twist on the concert experience where the audience chooses on the spot which pieces are played during each performance.

Oh, and she skydives. To date, she’s made almost 50 jumps.

It all had me wondering about the long-debated theory that classical music can make us smarter. And apparently, in Jessica’s case anyway, braver.

Jessica Pearlman is just one of the many professional musicians that perform with the Pacific Symphony who also spend valuable time helping the organization reach out to the community at events like the Pacific Symphony League luncheon. By doing so, she helps to reinforce the Pacific Symphony League’s vital mission to raise funds and awareness for music education for young people.

To that end, the Pacific Symphony League will be holding its largest, most glamorous fundraiser of year on June 11 at 11 a.m. at Big Canyon Country Club. Entitled “Music, Art and Fashion,” the luncheon will feature an exhibit of original fine art by Pilar Wayne, widow of John Wayne; a runway show of custom-designed dresses and evening gowns by famed designer Ricco Antonio with music by local favorite Jim Roberts, as well as exciting silent and live auctions.

Tickets are available by contacting Leslie Fay Vaeth at 714-876-2374 or [email protected]. The League is also soliciting event sponsorships and select silent auction items. Please contact Gwen Williams at 949-760-0208 or [email protected]. For more information about the Pacific Symphony, visit www.pacificsymphony.org.

The event is a great way to support music education for young people, and who knows, maybe even a chance at becoming the future Jessica Pearlmans of the world.

Columnist Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach.  She can be reached via www.LynnSelich.blogspot.com.           

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