Magazine article International Musician

Going Her Own Way

Magazine article International Musician

Going Her Own Way

Article excerpt

Many successful musicians advise aspiring talents to work hard, practice, and keep their eyes open for opportunities. While violist Ashleigh Gordon of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) mentions those things, she also has more specific advice that she's followed in her career. "Find a career that makes you happy," she says.

"It took me several years to fully own the fact that I can put all of my eggs in one basket and self-define my career and not be apologetic for it," she explains. "I find that many in my generation are struggling with the idea of the prescribed career path and spend many years trying to figure out the best route for them."

Gordon, who graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, in 2006 and from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 2008, at first felt pressure to become a classical player and find her place in an orchestra. But that wasn't for her.

"In college, contemporary music was my voice and my passion," she says. "I never wanted to be a musician that followed the orchestral route. It took some grappling in my own head. When you play viola, that's the path you take. But I was drawn to chamber and contemporary music. I wanted to pursue it."

Only a few years later, she's successfully done just that.

Gordon is currently the co-artistic director and violist of Castle of Our Skins, a Boston-based concert series that celebrates cultural curiosity, specifically black artistry, through music. The group developed a school program that has so far brought music to more than 400 kids throughout the Boston area.

Gordon is also the founder and violist of Sound Energy, a trio (with cello and violin) dedicated to commissioning and performing new works.

However, the path to her current career was anything but direct, with detours to Germany, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, shaping her path. After graduating from the Conservatory in Boston, she freelanced and taught for a living. …

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