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Beth Nelson, aka Johanna Volkert-Nelson

How would you describe your music?

Mostly classical with increasing forays into experimental and improvisational forms. Regarding the latter, this has most recently included free improv, Indian ragas and backing up a hip hop show.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

In the most basic sense, I am a freelancer. To that end, I am responsible for all roles of a music making enterprise, including but not limited to: bandleader, programmer, public liaison, marketing, accounting, human resources, soloist, chamber musician, instructor, coach, visionary...

Describe your gear.

My "gear" is a 1995 cello by Thomas Schmidt and a 1989 bow by Greg Gohde. Occasionally, I also use the Realist brand acoustic transducer.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"ABSOLUTELY, being a female musician differs from being a male musician. Women are supposed to be modest and not stick out too much -- at least that's the programming I've received most of my life -- and that completely flies in the face of what is needed to be successful as a musician. Sometimes it seems a musician needs a confidence that borders on arrogance, which is behavior much more encouraged and/or tolerated in males than in females.

Still, let it not go unsaid, that these dynamics can change. Si, se puede! "

Related Themes: Behind The Music

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I would imagine the previous generation of women musicians was more geared toward teaching than performing, Luckily, as times goes on, there are more opportunities for women to be performers as well. (e.g. Vienna Philharmonic!)

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

"In graduate school, there was another cellist I considered to be my main competition within in the school. My professor observed how I deferred to her and basically told me that was totally unnecessary. I think it just taught me an important lesson about valuing your own point of view. So that's pretty much what I would tell other female musicians: Come, on girls! Know your Inner Goddess! Damnit! :-)

Hope this helps. "

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I chose the cello because it was what my older brother *didn't* play. (He was a violinist.)

Related Themes: The First Time