ROC Spotlight Series - Juliana Athayde

What are you reading? 

Juggling my many jobs as Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Associate Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music, and Co-Artistic Director of the Society for Chamber Music in Rochester (alongside my husband, RPO Principal Oboist, Erik Behr), all while raising a busy toddler (two year old daughter, Kaia) has left me with less and less time for leisure reading lately. I'm usually a fan of historical fiction and non-fiction and I enjoy everything from books by Erik Larson, biographies of contemporary and historical figures (politicians to musicians and everything in between), to books on general historical topics and human interest stories. I also end up starting multiple books, only to be interrupted in the process of reading them, leaving me with many "half-baked" reading projects. Some of the books that I've been trying to finish are "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky, Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", a Mozart biography gifted to me by Mark Siwiec a few years ago, and "Game Change" by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin about the 2008 presidential election (see how far behind I can get?). The book I'm hoping to read next is Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air".


What are you listening to?

As a professional classical musician, people often assume I only listen to classical music. Although I am often studying music for the upcoming RPO concerts and listening to that music to prepare, we play plenty of other styles of music at our house. Admittedly, we have a classical music playlist for our daughter while playing in her room or getting ready for bed, in order to help her relax and unwind. However, when she wakes up, she'll hear anything from Brazilian music or Norah Jones to Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder or Earth, Wind & Fire. I'm also a huge fan of jazz, having grown up with two professional musician parents. My mom is a classical violinist, pianist, and violin teacher and my dad is a middle school music teacher who plays and teaches trumpet and jazz piano. So, as large as my classical playlist is, I also have an enormous jazz collection on my iPod.  There was always an eclectic mix of music playing at my parents' house (both live and recorded) when I was growing up and I hope to expose Kaia to the same diversity.


Do you have a favorite podcast(s)? 

NPR's "This American Life".


What are you currently watching on TV?

Erik and I have a few shows that we enjoy on our own but together, we like "House of Cards" on Netflix, "Billions" on Showtime, HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," and CBS "Sunday Morning" and "60 Minutes.” We also try to check in with the national and international news every day. As a result, my husband, a South African native, has switched our default news station to BBC America and I'm a big fan!  Especially during election season, it's refreshing to get a global view of what's going on in the world.


What is the last movie you saw?

Just recently, we watched "The Big Short" about the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. I was drawn to the style and substance of the movie and was fascinated to view the crisis from the inside out. Seeing how inevitable the crash was provided a sobering look at how the financial sector operates and how we are all affected. Before that it was Pixar's "Inside Out," which I loved and even shed a few tears while watching!


Who are you following on Twitter?

I'm happy to admit that I'm not even on Twitter and that I've never "tweeted". Facebook is about as advanced as I get and even with that, I try to keep the pictures of my daughter to a minimum. I'm thankful for social media’s ability to bring us closer, but I also worry about the security and privacy ramifications for the next generation. Instead, I post pictures of Kaia on my iCloud photo stream for family and close friends to view privately. 


How do you spend your Sundays?

The RPO often has performances on Sunday afternoons. If not, I might have a Society for Chamber Music in Rochester concert; so many Sundays involve me, my violin and an energetic crowd.  On the Sundays that don't include a performance, we try to get to church (we're Catholic) - the operative word is try! - and otherwise spend some quality time as a family, relaxing in front of the fire, or taking a walk to a nearby park and cooking a delicious meal together.