From Our Soundbooth | November 19, 2021

Hello and welcome to Aud-cast #33. It’s our pleasure to introduce the latest Audio Documentary finalist for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize, Janet Horvath, with her piece “A Musician Who Can’t Tolerate Sound.”

Janet Horvath, is a lifelong performing classical musician, soloist, author, speaker, and educator. The Minnesota Orchestra’s associate principal cello from 1980 to 2012, she has appeared as soloist with orchestra, and in recital and chamber music throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

The author of the award-winning book Playing (Less) Hurt—an Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians, she has worked with instrumentalists to establish a holistic approach: to play with ease and eloquence, while preserving good posture and maintaining comfort.

A pioneer and authority in the area of the medical problems of performing artists and a passionate arts advocate, Janet’s masterclasses and seminars are well-regarded by both amateur and professional musicians, teachers and students, and health care providers. Presentations include for the San Francisco Symphony, Utah Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and at colleges, conservatories, and conferences from coast to coast. She has appeared on the BBC, CBC, and NPR national radio stations and television.

Her Tiny Love Story appeared in the New York Times, May 2021 and she is an audio-documentary finalist for the 2021 Miller Audio Contest hosted by the Missouri Review. Recent essays include A Musician Afraid of Sound published in The Atlantic, October 2015, and in national and international music publications—Musical America, Chamber Music America, Strings Magazine, The Brass Herald, and Strad Magazine among others. A contributing writer for the online classical music e-magazine Interlude.HK , she has penned over 300 feature articles about music and musicians.

Through her writing and musical performances, Janet creates restorative conversations, offers spiritual sustenance, and explores music’s life-bringing and healing power. She is currently at work on a memoir to those same ends.

She earned her master’s degree in music performance from Indiana University studying with Janos Starker and completed her MFA in creative writing from Hamline University St Paul, Minnesota.

The following is from her Artist Notes:

Today, ten years after leaving the Minnesota Orchestra, after a devastating hearing injury and enduring the difficult process of recovery, I find myself uniquely prepared for the trials of the last eighteen months. I have already re-invented myself as a writer; I have already lived through isolation and loneliness. If there’s a silver lining to 2020, it’s that we as a society have had a break from our noisy, hectic lives filled with too much sound; that we realize how many professions and businesses can be released from the rigors of in-person, 9:00-5:00 travel during rush hour; that our livelihoods may be malleable and adaptable. Perhaps we have learned to value the quiet and silence we’ve experienced that has allowed us to ruminate and dream. It’s certainly been better for the environment!

Through these troubling times we all have had to avoid loud gatherings, restaurants, sports events, and concerts. I will always protect my hearing. I know only too well how devastating hearing injury can be, which can impede interaction with others and participation in life. I hope my story will encourage others to do the same. 

Make sure to stick around after Horvath’s powerful work of memory to hear contest editor Bailey Boyd and I ruminate and exclaim over it in wonder. And now, “A Musician Who Can’t Tolerate Sound.”

Aud-cast 34 is on its way, so make sure your ears are on their toes. Thanks as always to the Missouri Review contest editor, Bailey Boyd, and to Patricia Miller, for her generous support for the Miller Audio Prize.

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