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Heidi Yenney, Violin (photo by Ixi Chen)

Heidi Yenney was raised in Palo Alto, California, where she was introduced to chamber music at an early age as a member of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra.

She first attended Boston University, but after a few years Heidi switched to the New England Conservatory where she could study with Dorothy Delay. She also studied viola with Boston Symphony’s principal Burton Fine, and chamber music with Louis Krasner, Walter Trampler, Eugene Lehner and Leonard Shure. Heidi earned both a Bachelor, and Master degree with distinction in violin performance, from NEC.

While in Boston, she freelanced as chamber musician and soloist, and was principal second violin of the New Hampshire Symphony. By far, her favorite gig was playing Bach cantatas at Newbury Street’s Emmanuel Church on Sunday mornings. Heidi also co-founded the New England String Quartet, which was in residence at both U Mass, Boston, and U Mass, Amherst. Their summers were spent in residence at the Music festivals Norfolk, Meadowmount, and Tanglewood. She also was a faculty member at the prestigious preparatory school, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. While at Phillips she taught private violin, general music, conducted a chamber orchestra and coached chamber music. She was also a member of the faculty's Essex String Quartet.

Her then husband, Gerry Itzkoff's appointment to the Cincinnati Symphony’s first violin section brought Heidi and her growing family (sons Jules and Coleman) to Cincinnati. Since moving here, she had her third child – Lucy. Heidi has had a busy freelance career on both violin and viola. In addition to being principal violist of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Heidi is a founding member of both the popular group, concert:nova and Amicus Chamber Players. Having taught violin and directing the chamber music program at Xavier University for 7 years, Heidi now teaches in the Cincinnati Public School system at North Avondale Montessori through the Suzuki Cooperative of CPS.

Heidi’s passion for music and composers is inspiring. As she puts it: “I have composers that I really enjoy for different reasons. Schumann is natural and passionate, Brahms is soothing and romantic, Bach is pure and spiritual, Mozart is optimistic and full of life, Beethoven is crafted to perfection and gets you in the gut…”

She loves performing 20th century music as well, and often feels it brings a new, fresh perspective to older, non-contemporary compositions.

She is living her dream gig right now. “Not only do I have three fabulous children, and I am able to play both violin and viola — which I LOVE! I really enjoy the variety that being a freelance musician brings. One week I'm playing Tango, the next a Mozart Mass, then Schoenberg in a bar or a rock show. My 30 young and enthusiastic violin students also keep me totally inspired!”

When Heidi has free time she can be found either thrift-shopping or practicing yoga.