Meet the Musicians: Judy Washburn Kriewall

Seattle Symphony Flute Judy Washburn Kriewall is one of the longest-playing members of the orchestra. She looks back on the last 40 years in Seattle.

By Andrew Stiefel

Judy Washburn Kriewall has been playing flute with the Seattle Symphony for nearly 40 years, making her one of the longest-playing members of the orchestra. “I started at a really exciting time, as the orchestra was starting a major era of change,” she says. “And it’s still growing, the level today is fantastic, it’s so exciting.”

Her path to the orchestra started later than most. Growing up in Illinois, she taught herself to play the flute. “There was only one teacher in the area, and she was full. I never had lessons,” Judy recalls. “And when I think back about it, I'm glad she was. A lot of it was simply natural.”

Judy says the late start of her formal training, however, was also her greatest challenge. Without encouragement from her teacher at Northwestern University, Walfrid Kujala, she might not have pursued a career as an orchestral flute player. “He told me I had as good a chance as anybody, so why not try it? That made all the difference because it helped me believe that I could do it.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Judy started with the Seattle Symphony in 1980 and has been playing with the orchestra ever since. “I think music reaches a deeper part of us. We need it for the emotional release. My favorite part, however, is making music together, listening to each other, and learning from each other.”

Today Judy lives in Issaquah with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sonja. When she’s not playing at Benaroya Hall, Judy enjoys working on her large garden — and fending off the local bears, deer and raccoons who enjoy it too.

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Posted on January 6, 2020

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