Sania Derevianko Whitaker, Violin
Mr. and Mrs. Mordechai Wiesler Chair
Sania Derevianko Whitaker received her B.M. degree from the Tel-Aviv Music Academy, her graduate performance diploma from the Peabody Conservatory and her M.M. degree from the University of Miami. She has held the position of concertmaster with every orchestra at each school she has attended.
Prior to Naples she was a member of the New World Symphony, where she was co-concertmaster and with whom she did five international tours. She has also substituted with the Israel Philharmonic, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. Whitaker has also spent summers performing at the Meadowmount School of Music, the Chautauqua Music Festival, the National Orchestral Institute and the Pacific Music Festival, where she performed solo, orchestral and chamber music concerts.
Whitaker was born into a musical family. Her grandfather was the assistant to the famous Russian violinist David Oistrach. Whitaker's mother was a pianist who founded the Tel-Hai International Piano Master Classes, where Whitaker now acts as the administrator each summer, and her father is a concert pianist who is the artistic director of the International Master Classes. She enjoys performing chamber music with her father every summer at the festival. Whitaker has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1999.
I was born in Moscow, Russia, and grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel. I got my bachelor’s at The Tel Aviv University School of Music, Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory and Master of Music from University of Miami. I met Glenn Basham in 1994 while playing at the New World Symphony. In 1997, he invited me to be his teaching assistant at UM and eventually got me to sub with the Naples Philharmonic, and then I took the audition and was fortunate to win it in 1999.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
There have been many, musically. Cirque de la Symphony, playing with Itzhak Perlman (and often turning pages for his pianists when they’re in town for a recital) and many more. But mostly, I will never forget how everybody was with me when I lost my husband!
What inspired you to become a musician?
I come from a musical family. My grandfather was the assistant to famous violinist David Oistrakh, and both my parents are/were concert pianist.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I love that we are a big family. We are all very supportive of each other both on and off the stage.
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
We’re supposed to play out but also blend in our section, we cannot lead from the back and we have many people to follow (the conductor, then our concertmaster and, finally, the principal).
What are your favorite compositions?
Any Brahms symphony, Mahler symphonies No. 5 and No. 6, most of the Shostakovich symphonies and many chamber music pieces.
What have you been listening to recently?
I don’t usually listen to a lot of classical music unless I’m preparing for a Masterworks program. I like classic rock and country on the radio.
Are there other musicians in your immediate family?
My grandfather was the assistant to famous violinist David Oistrakh, and both my parents are/were concert pianists.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym. Lately I’ve gotten into weight lifting, and I follow very strict meal plans, so I enjoy researching and cooking/baking healthy versions of all foods.