Q&A with Joanna Grace and Ingrid Taheri
Q&A with Joanna Grace and Ingrid Taheri
We are SO looking forward to share music of Beethoven, Schumann and Rachmaninoff at our upcoming concerts. You can learn a little more about us in the “mutual” Q&A below. We hope you can come to our concerts, enjoy the music and continue the conversation! GET TICKETS HERE
Do you have any experience with mental health challenges in yourself or loved ones?
I’ve had three friends pass away due to mental health complications and have several friends now with mental health challenges.I appreciate the awareness and depth of sharing about emotions: authenticity and acceptance.
Why is there so much stigma around mental illness?
I think the stigma around mental illness is maximized because there is a desire and belief that the mind can be influenced to improve someone’s experience. This can be possible, however, different perceptions of feelings and behaviour contribute to complex relationships and (mis)understandings of how help is best utilized.
Why do you think music is therapeutic?
Music is vibration in motion and reaches the depths of the human soul and cells in the body. Most everyone enjoys some type of music, even though people’s musical tastes and preferences vary widely. Music can be self-created or simply received without any explanation at all.
Why are you a musician?
Music is my greatest passion, along with bringing people together in shared, connected experiences. In my musical endeavours, I have felt the spectrum of human emotion including personal struggle & challenge, triumph, loss, acceptance, love and community.
Why the French Horn?
I first wanted to play the tuba (at age 4). At age 8, my mom took me to on operetta and I became fixated on the two horn players in the orchestra. Immediately after the performance I declared I wanted to play the horn and, thankfully, my mom secured me a teacher and paid for all those lessons!
What would you be if you were not a musician?
I might be a tour guide. I like getting people aware and excited about what’s around them. Or I might be a stand-up comedian. I love to get people laughing and enjoying the moment. Perhaps I could be a comedic tour guide?
Why are you passionate about sharing stories regarding mental health?
I believe we all have a mental health story one way or another. Mental health issues are difficult to deal with on our own. By sharing experiences we can learn from each other and give each other hope and support. Knowing you are not alone goes a long way. Way too many lives have been lost due to mental health issues. Let’s work together to change that.
What do you feel is the link between mental health and musical compositions?
I don’t know if I can answer that well. What I do know is that we all need and outlet in order to have good mental health. For composers one way they may improve their mental health is to put down in notes what can’t be expressed in words.
Musical compositions, for the listener, is a way to escape and acknowledge their feelings, perhaps realize someone else shares them.
What fascinates you most about Beethoven and playing his music?
Beethoven was pushing established limits and constantly asking more from the piano(manufacturers) in terms of dynamics and sound. I admire his resilience despite childhood abuse and various health issues. Although he could be grumpy, he put his art before himself as he felt he had a duty to humanity. His music is not sentimental but still expresses a wide range of sounds and emotions. His music is still fresh and satisfactory to play 250 years later.
What can you share with us about the challenges of playing different pianos in different concerts?
When we play at a high level there is much precision involved and because each piano has a different touch and sound it can be challenging to adapt quickly in order to get the sounds exactly the way you would like it. The pianos at these venues are all wonderful although quite different in sound and touch.
What is the take away you hope people experience from attending this event?
Mental illness has been around for a long time, and will be around for a long time still. Together we can raise its image and give those who suffer the respect they deserve. There are extraordinary humans amongst the people with mental illness. Let’s give them the support they need so they can shine in whatever way they are able.