Meet the Musicians: Jeannie Wells Yablonsky

Photo: James Holt / Seattle Symphony

Seattle Symphony First Violin Jeannie Wells Yablonsky brings her creativity to her instrument — and to projects with her grandchildren.

By Andrew Stiefel

Jeannie Wells Yablonsky loves to spend time with her grandchildren, taking bike rides, cooking, gardening, or working on craft projects. Her family is exceptionally artistic: her father was an artist, her mother a pianist, and her sister is a violinist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her children are equally creative: her daughter is a chef and her son designs custom sneakers.

When time allows, Jeannie loves to craft mosaics. She also brings her creativity to the violin, explaining that “playing in an orchestra is a lot about blending, but it's also about speaking out, and knowing how to balance both.”

Growing up as the youngest of five children, she credits her mother for encouraging her to pursue violin. “She recognized that I was talented, and she was such a natural, gifted musician herself, and never had that opportunity to pursue the piano,” explains Jeannie. “I’m so thankful to her for seeing me through the times when I doubted myself or wanted to give up."

Through her violin playing, Jeannie found a way to express her voice. “In the world of classical music, there can be pressure to take a more technical, less expressive approach to performance; but the raw emotion that one can convey through their instrument was what really attracted me to playing the violin, and to music in general.”

Jeannie has been a member of the Seattle Symphony for 21 years. She previously held the position of Assistant Concertmaster both in Barcelona, Spain and in Bergen, Norway.

She says she is thankful that her job with the Seattle Symphony has helped her stay close to her extended family, including her sister. “I love living in Seattle,” she explains. “It has the lifestyle I want, it’s a beautiful place, and I can be with my family.”

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Posted on January 18, 2019