Sasha Callahan, Assistant Principal Violin II
Where did you grow up? The “other” Portland, Portland, OR
Where do you currently live? Boston, MA
What instrument do you play? Violin
Educational background: BM Rice University,
MM Boston University
Personal Information (family, pets, kids, etc.): I am married to cellist Leo Eguchi and we have two amazing and quirky cats, Katya and Max.
How did you get started in music? My Austrian grandmother (she’s now 97!) played violin and viola and my grandfather started learning the cello when he retired so music was definitely in the family. Once my older sister started playing violin, I started a campaign to play also. My mom didn’t want both me and my sister to play the same instrument but eventually I wore her down.
What non-PSO musical activities do you participate in? I am a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Camerata New England, and New Hampshire Music Festival, and perform regularly with Opera Boston, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Pops, and the New England String Orchestra. I also play with various chamber ensembles and teach.
What is your favorite PSO memory to date? There have been many memorable concerts (and rehearsals), the Renée Fleming concert was definitely a highlight — what a voice! What stands out most about the PSO though is the sense of community, both onstage and with the wonderful audiences in Portland.
Describe a typical day: Hmm, a typical day. . . This doesn’t really exist for a freelance musician! My schedule varies pretty wildly day to day and week to week. I try hard to protect at least a couple of hours of practice time in additions to whatever combination of rehearsals, concerts, and teaching is on the menu that day. I also try to make time for a run!
What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? “Does that mean you play Magic of Christmas?” Magic is such a huge tradition in Maine (and all over New England, people ask about it in Boston)!
If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? I think I would want to be a food critic or chef. I think really great food has a similar combination of technique and creativity and it’s endlessly fascinating to me!
Any non-musical hobbies?: I’m a fairly serious runner (although I am reluctant to say this given that I share the PSO stage with a musician who regularly runs 100 mile races — I DON’T run that far). I trained for a half marathon but twice had to cancel for concerts, maybe it will work out to actually run the race at some point. I also love to read and cook and hike.
What is your favorite music? I think Beethoven is my “desert island” composer, although I love Stravinsky and Brahms and Bartok and Mahler and Schubert and so many others. . . When music is on around the house though, it’s usually not classical, it’s more likely to be old Stevie Wonder or Bill Withers or Amy Winehouse or Bob Marley.
Who or what has been your greatest influence? My two primary teachers, Sergiu Luca, and Lucia Lin are both enormous influences. They are both extraordinary teachers and artists and extremely generous people. My sister Eve has also been (and continues to be) an enormous influence on me, as has my husband and friends and family.
Do you teach? Yes! Feel free to contact me at sashacallahan@hotmail
Where are your favorite “eats” in Portland? Mmm, so many great restaurants! I love Fore Street, Vignola, the Front Room, Duckfat, Bonobo, El Rayo Taqueria, Miyake, Yosaku, Standard Baking, and the coffee at Bard Coffee is fantastic.
Violinist Sasha Callahan has established a vibrant and diverse career as recitalist, chamber and orchestral musician. She has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe and Japan and is a founding member of Sheffield Chamber Players and the brand new Willamette Valley Chamber Music Festival. Recent highlights include a sold out run as the violinist for the American Repertory Theater’s revival of Porgy and Bess, a performance as soloist on Brahms Double Concerto, and a solo Bach performance at the National Cathedral (D.C.). As an active chamber musician, Sasha can often be heard playing duos with her husband, cellist Leo Eguchi, as well as performances with groups such as the Aurea Ensemble, Walden Chamber Players, the Corigliano Quartet, the Lunaire Quartet, Trio Veritas, and ALEA III, and frequent chamber performances at the New Hampshire Music Festival (even on the occasional mountain top). Sasha is committed to sharing new music with audiences, and has worked closely with many composers such as Joan Tower, Kenji Bunch, Nathaniel Stookey, Gabriela Lena Frank, Andrew Waggoner, Andrew List, Lukas Foss, and Gunther Schuller.
Sasha can be heard as a member of the Portland Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and New Hampshire Music Festival, as well as with the Boston Pops, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Odyssey Opera, Emmanuel Music and the Boston Ballet Orchestra.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Sasha received her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Rice University and Master of Music from Boston University, with additional studies at Tanglewood and Meadowmount festivals. Her principal teachers include Lucia Lin, Sergiu Luca, Denes Zsigmondy, and Carol Sindell. She currently resides in Boston with her husband Leo Eguchi, daughter Freya and two rather sedentary cats named Max and Katya.