Sheryl Shohet, Violin
Question & Answer
Where are you originally from?
New Berlin, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee.
How did you choose your instrument?
In 5th grade public school in Wisconsin. I begged my parents to take me to the orientation meeting and then fell in love with the sound of the violin. My dad warned me that my friends who studied band instruments would be playing songs quickly, and I’d still be working very hard to just to get a sound without squeaking. Well, that only increased my determination!
What is your favorite Hawaii Symphony moment?
I have two: 1. Our 2012 opening concert with Sarah Chang. So exhilarating to hear and see our huge support base, and to play together as an orchestra again. 2. Playing Symphonie Fantastique under Naoto Otomo just two months after breaking my left shoulder. It’s one of my favorite all-time pieces, so that was a compelling goal to get me to work hard at my PT exercises.
Other than performances with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, where can we catch you performing around town?
I stroll for weddings and parties, and perform frequently with my student violin ensemble, “Na Mele O Suzuki” at the All-Oahu Craft Fairs at NBC, some HSO lanai concerts, and around Oahu. We wear those lime green print aloha shirts. We just returned from a tour to Hilo and the Volcano Park, and have toured Japan twice.
What do you think is the greatest misconception about classical music?
That it is only for old people. Audience members of ALL ages just love coming to the symphony!
What are your activities, hobbies, interests, outside of music?
I love traveling to conferences and conventions all over the world, observing master teachers/players and gathering new ideas. I have enjoyed several cross-country road trips with my daughter while visiting friends, relatives, and national parks. I’m also studying Japanese.
What are your professional goals?
To continue practicing and learning new music, and to take my students on a European tour. To have one weekday off from teaching!
What’s best about living in Hawaii?
It’s a small, friendly community with perfect weather and no snakes. I can wear casual clothes almost anywhere, year-round.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Jigsaw puzzles. I haven’t done any in years but have a wonderful collection just begging me to jump in! When I visit my daughter on the mainland, I get to contribute to whatever super challenging one she’s working on.
What famous figure, living or dead, would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
Josephine Trott and Julia Child… both creative, fun, and ahead of their time.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a musician?
Teaching math. Numbers always stick in my head. I can tell you every address and phone number I’ve had in each city I’ve lived in. I love to do my own taxes, add shopping cart totals in my head, and estimate what time it is.
What is your favorite stress reliever?
Swimming laps, or doing a crossword or Sudoku puzzle.
More About Sheryl Shohet
Sheryl Shohet, originally from Wisconsin, has been a first violinist with the Honolulu Symphony (now Hawaii Symphony) since 1983. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in violin performance and Music Education from Drake University in Iowa, and her Master’s degree in violin performance from the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. She has appeared as a soloist with the Drake Symphony, the Des Moines Youth Symphony, the Graceland Orchestra, and the Colorado Philharmonic.
Sheryl taught strings for three years at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa and played in the Des Moines and Hartford Symphonies and the Colorado Philharmonic before moving to Honolulu. She currently has a home studio in Waipahu, Hawaii, of 60 violinists ages 3-43 who love to play. Her touring ensemble, Na Mele O Suzuki, visited Tokyo in 2006 and 2013, and took several tours to Hilo and Maui. They are planning to tour England and Scotland in 2019.
Sheryl is an officer or board member of the Suzuki Association of Hawaii, Hawaii American String Teachers Association, Hawaii Music Teachers Association, and the Musicians’ Association of Hawaii, Local 677, and has been director or co-director of the Hawaii Suzuki Institute since its founding in 1985. She has taught at Suzuki institutes in Ottawa, KS; Santa Fe, NM; and Maui, Hawaii. She presented topics at the World Suzuki Convention in Melbourne, Australia in April 2009, the SAA conference in Minneapolis in May 2012, the Hawaii Music Educators Conference in February 2015, and the American String Teachers Association conference in Salt Lake City in March 2015. Sheryl wrote an article which appeared in the December 2011 American Suzuki Journal and was featured in an article on the Suzuki Association of Hawaii in the fall 2012 American Suzuki Journal. Her grown daughter is an accomplished violinist and chemical engineer.