Isabel Bartles

Hometown: New York, NY
Member of the Nashville Symphony since 1991

What's your earliest musical memory?
It's probably going to see the musical Half a Sixpence on Broadway when I was about 6 years. My dad was in the orchestra pit. It was very exciting. I also remember going to the New York Philharmonic youth concerts conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

So your father was a musician as well?
Yes, his name was Alfred H. Bartles. He grew up here, and when he was a kid, he used to go hear the Nashville Symphony perform in War Memorial Auditorium. In the 1970s, he was a cellist for the orchestra. He taught at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville at the time, and he'd come down to Nashville with several other faculty members for rehearsals and concerts. He was a composer as well, and the Symphony premiered a piece of his called Music for Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble back in the 1960s. Then, in the mid-'90s, after I joined the orchestra, we played it with Kenneth Schermerhorn. That was exciting — I'd heard it all my life, but I'd never played it before then.

Do you perform or teach outside of your work with the Symphony?
I teach private lessons. My students mainly come from Linden Waldorf School.

What music do you to listen to for enjoyment?
Whatever the latest thing on the radio is — I listen to 107.5 The River.

If you weren't an orchestra musician, what would you be doing?
I've already done it — I was a flight attendant for a while, but I quit. So now I'd have to say that if I wasn't an orchestra musician... I'd probably be an orchestra musician.