MEET OUR MUSICIANS - Gillian Espinoza


At what age and how did you choose your instrument?

I actually played the flute for twelve years before I discovered the cello! I decided to make the switch when I was eighteen years old. I loved the timbre of the instrument; the cello has such a beautiful and melancholy sound, and it is the best way I am able to express myself musically. It feeds my soul the way nothing else can. 

What is your full-time profession and how do you find balance?

Right now, my full time profession is made up of various gigs, teaching private lessons, and an after school music program teacher. I wake up early enough most mornings to exercise, practice my instrument, and then head off to work. It can be difficult to keep a consistent schedule as a travelling artist, so I do my best to utilize the down time I do have to relax and recuperate from the long hours of commuting and rehearsing.  

What does chamber music mean to you?

Chamber music has always been a source of passion and contentment for me; I love the group effort of sitting down together to perform a piece of music where each person shares the role of conductor. It is an intimate time both for the audience and the players, because this type of performance is meant to be emotional and enticing. 

What motivated you to join the VCO?

I found out about VCO through a colleague of mine. I've known for years that I wanted to perform in orchestras, and I knew the best way to get there was to join as many as I could to really hone my skills as an orchestral player. I enjoy the atmosphere of this particular orchestra because everyone is so inviting, and Zain welcomed me with open arms, so how could I not stay?  

Do you have any advice for young musicians?

Because I started playing the cello much later than a majority of the people I knew, it was really hard for me to feel like I could make it as a professional cellist; I saw that there were so many other really talented musicians who wanted the same jobs I did, and I spent years going back and forth between feelings of inadequacy and defeat to "oh, okay, I think I can do this". But what I noticed throughout all of my schooling, lessons, orchestra rehearsals and lessons with my teacher was that I kept coming back to it. I could not imagine myself doing anything else with my life. I had to play the cello. I think what I would ask any young musician is; "can you see yourself doing this in the future?" and "Do you love it?" If either of those questions is a yes, I would say to follow that urge, even during the moments when if feels impossible. 

Updated July 2019