Musician Feature Heather MacArthur

“When I’m playing the violin, I am very present. It’s not like you have time to think about other things, you are there with the music and it’s very calming to me.”

Violinist Heather MacArthur grew up in a small town in California within a military family and a mindset of continuing the practice of love and art of music. She is one of the newest faces of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, joining the orchestra last season. Hailing from the Washington, D.C. area, and formerly playing with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, she taught and played various gigs throughout the metro area.

At 4 years old she was first introduced to the violin when a family friend suggested to her parents that she play. And she continued to play daily. “Whenever I would feel like I didn’t want to play anymore, my mom would say, ‘You can quit anytime.’ But that just gave me more motivation to keep playing.” MacArthur said, laughing.

And her extended family offered support, as well. Today she plays on a violin gifted by her aunt and uncle, a 1927 Italian violin by Enrico Politi.  The MacArthurs waved the small town in California goodbye and set their sights on Virginia when Heather turned 12. But before they moved, her mother made sure she would continue her studies and reached out to private violin coach Ronda Cole, where MacArthur said she completely fell in love with the violin. Cole believes in stimulating the development of expressive talent from the beginning stages. Technique should be made easy using balance and release as key components, so that the player can have their heart invested in musical expression rather than on technique. And under Cole’s gentle guidance, MacArthur was able to hone her skills, learn those components and nurture her understanding of the music.

She studied under Cole through high school, and eventually attended the University of Maryland, where she earned her master’s degree. She was attracted to the Colorado Springs Philharmonic because of its reputation, high standard of musicians, and the programs performed each season.

“There’s a camaraderie with the musicians at the Philharmonic,” she said. “It’s not only attractive but welcoming and supportive, introducing a new group of friends into her world.”

“I was so thrilled when I won the audition,” she said. “Colorado Springs is just home to me. From the musicians to the mountains, I just love it here. I miss Colorado when I’m away.”