Born in New Jersey, Melanie Kupchynsky began violin lessons at the age of 4 with her father, Jerry Kupchynsky. She went on to study with Samuel Applebaum and then with Eric Rosenblith at the New England Conservatory of Music.
Why did you choose your instrument?
I didn’t choose my instrument. My father, who was a public-school music teacher, put a violin into my hands when I was 4 years old. At first, playing the violin was a game for me, and a way to spend time with my dad. But by the time I was a teenager, I realized that music was something I could not live without.
Offstage, I like to:
I just finished up a huge writing project, co-authoring a book about my father called Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations, which was published in October. The book tells the story of my father, a Ukrainian-born war refugee who endured a harrowing life while inspiring generations of students, and also brings to mind the mentors so many of us have had in our lives.
What work are you most looking forward to performing this season?
Anything that Maestro Muti is conducting, especially works by Verdi.
With which other musician would you most want to play a duet, and why?
Sarah Bullen, our fantastic principal harp, and I recently recorded some music for the audiobook version of Strings Attached. We enjoyed the project so much that we have decided to record an entire CD together.
What is your most memorable CSO performance?
I’ll never forget my first performance with the orchestra on tour, with Sir Georg Solti conducting. I had never rehearsed with the orchestra, never even seen Solti conduct, and here we were recording live for a DVD with just a short sound check beforehand. Thank goodness I had held numerous “rehearsals” in my living room at home with my stereo before we left.
HOMETOWN: East Brunswick, N.J.
YEAR JOINED THE CSO: 1989
EDUCATION: New England Conservatory of Music