MEET OUR MUSICIANS - Dee Dee Panero (viola)


At what age and how did you choose your instrument?

After taking violin in 4th grade, and then changing schools with no orchestra(!) I taught myself guitar that summer. I stayed with self taught guitar for a year. Then I changed schools again, and I got back to violin. My teacher said I could move to Advanced Orchestra if I switched to viola. I did, fell in love, and never looked back!!!!

What is your full-time profession and how do you balance it with other commitments?

I’m the proud Symphony Orchestra, Mandorchestra, Guitar and Rock Band teacher at John Marshall High in the Los Feliz/Silverlake community of L.A.

I run our Battle of the Garage Bands with my buddies, Mike and Brett and we are an all-inclusive school that teaches music on all levels, in many genres, to ALL students who love music, no matter their experience, level or special needs. We are fortunate to produce a community concert every year at our neighborhood venue, The Greek Theatre: Bach, Rock & Shakespeare!

I get to live, breathe, love and share music all day long! 

What does chamber music mean to you?

Chamber music is enjoying the emotional ride of making music simply for the love of music. Besides the VCO, I am currently playing viola/classical guitar duets with a like-minded friend. Both are spiritually and physically uplifting!

What motivated you to join the VCO?

My violinist friend from high school, Brooke Wharton posted on FB about the orchestra. Thanks Brooke!!!!! I needed to take a break from being the conductor/teacher (my day job) and enjoy playing in the middle of the best section of any orchestra, the VIOLA section!!! It is such an incredible delight to be back inside the orchestra, surrounded by all of the other wonderful instrumental sounds. I totally dig it!

Do you have any advice for young musicians?

Play what you love, for the rest of your life, no matter how good, bad or ugly you think it sounds. You will have peace, love and music always.....


Updated September 2019