Yvonne grew up in Irondequoit, New York, a suburb of Rochester. She was fortunate to have had an amazing public school music teacher, Nancy Grammar, who started her on viola in fourth grade and paid for her lessons at Eastman School of Music. The school music program was mandatory, and the high school orchestra competed in Albany every year at the top level. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Applied Music, with Music Education and English, at SUNY Fredonia, and a Master’s in Viola Performance at New England Conservatory in Boston. Her teachers were Charles Joseph and Burton Fine.
Yvonne came to Nova Scotia in 1978 to join the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra after spending the summer as a Tanglewood fellow. When the ASO went bankrupt, she played in the SMTS orchestra and started the first Suzuki School in Halifax in 1982. She is grateful to have won her audition again when Symphony Nova Scotia added section players. The 2019/20 season marks her 42nd in the viola section.
An avid proponent of music education, Yvonne has taught private violin and viola for 37 years. She has also been the viola coach for the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra since the 1980s, and was the Managing Director of the NSYO for 10 years.
This season is her second as Chair of the Symphony Nova Scotia Players’ Association, as a member of the Finance Committee, and as a member of the Music Director Search Committee.
She has recently started working as a professional and support volunteer at Hospice Halifax.