Jean Bishop, Principal Flute
When did you begin to play your instrument?
I was 14 – a freshman in high school. I was transferred out of an overcrowded art class and into the beginning band class about a week into my freshman year. Growing up in Chicago, there was at that time no elementary (K-8) music education – occasionally an outside teacher would come in to teach us songs and the like, so high school was my first exposure to instruments and band. The only instrument the band director had left when I arrived in class was a French horn. I tried valiantly, but that instrument made no sense to me! (Horn players everywhere will feel my pain.) The band director wanted to move me into concert band, but I wouldn’t do it unless he gave me a flute, which he did. So here we are, lol.
Where did you study your main instrument; with whom?
I went to Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, and studied with Ralph Johnson, Mardele Combs Marcellus and Jean Berkenstock. I thought about doing a masters degree and even auditioned at a couple of schools, but then decided against it. It was a different era – these days I would advise anyone and everyone with a BM to continue on and get a MM.
When did you join ESO?
Oooo, a really long time ago!
What other orchestras have you played with/do you play with now?
I am a member of Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and have played as a substitute/extra with just about every orchestra in the area. I’ve done performances with the Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony, Chicago Opera Theatre, South Bend Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Northwest Indiana Symphony and Wisconsin Philharmonic, to name a few.
Your most memorable ESO performance
So many! I think I would have to choose a concert with a large orchestra playing a really exciting piece, like Beethoven 9, The Planets, or Rite of Spring. Also, any of Andrew Grams’ Mahler performances stick in my mind. Another one that I remember well was in January 2016, when we performed Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Shostakovich Symphony No. 11.
What are some of your interests, and how are you passing the time?
I like to read – right now I’m making my way through all the Harry Potter books (for about the tenth time), and I’m doing a few home projects that I’ve never had time for. And experimenting with the Acapella app. I like to bake, but mostly do so at holiday time. Cookies and pie are my specialty. It’s rhubarb season, so I think rhubarb pie will be my next baking project.