After becoming fast friends, I asked her how she became so interested in music. “It was kind of a weird beginning…” She first began by playing piano when she was 7 but really wanted to play in a youth orchestra. So when her parents and school band teacher asked her to pick up the oboe she acquiesced on the condition that she also be allowed to join an orchestra. They agreed, meaning that every week Danielle took both piano and oboe lessons and had youth orchestra rehearsals.
According to her, she was “obsessed with music as a child”, but I don’t think the obsession stopped at childhood. Recently, banjo lessons, english horn lessons and voice lessons gave her the flexibility to play bluegrass, jazz or classical music. While her favorite is still classical, she says, “I just like having eclectic ability.” Eclectic indeed. While she does listen to almost anything, she loves Shostakovich.
If Danielle could have her way, she may have been a musicologist, but how practical is a degree in 20th century music? So, she got a degree in management and now has a great full time job at a local art organization, instead.
Now that she is around art everyday, Danielle finds herself becoming obsessed, most notably with a new on-site installation at the Art Museum called ‘Stone Sea’ by Andy Goldsworthy, her favorite work of art. She was poised on the edge of her chair as she excitedly described it to me. "It's actually outside and it's between the old building and the new building and it's a series of these giant arches made from these chunks of limestone. It's really really beautiful. What I like about it is you can see it from so many different places in the museum, cuz it looks cool from the top but then you can walk along side of it and look at it from the windows too and get a totally different view. It's really pretty! Whenever you're walking next to it, it's kind of an incline up and it feels like waves almost."
I recently finished a book by Steve Martin, called ‘An Object of Beauty’ that I recommended to Danielle. We discussed having paper books as opposed to e-readers and I told her that inevitably all of my conversations turn to literature in some form. That was when the idea for ‘Free Books with Aubrey’ came about. I’m going to have to consider it! Some of her favorite books are those that connect art and science, including one of my favorite authors, Oliver Sacks.
Our mutual excitement over the resurgence happening in St. Louis became clear shortly after we began talking. At my behest, she began reading articles on Techli about the start-up community. After we chatted about where her future may take her, I recommended that she just stay here and work for one of the new tech companies. Fingers crossed that we can keep her in STL!
For the present however, Danielle is here and living with her roommate and their cats Miko and Gigi. Her cat (Miko) is “kind of an asshole to be honest”. She warned me that if I ever meet him to stay away because he will most assuredly bite me. The other cat belongs to her roommate and they like to pretend that Miko and Gigi are dating. I told her that wasn’t weird, my sister and I used to make our cats get married when we were kids.
Once you start talking about cats, you risk looking like a crazy cat lady, so we changed the subject to her favorite thing about St. Louis. “Oh my gosh, it’s such a tough question. I guess that there’s just so many opportunities to get involved with so many different things, be it tech things or art things and no matter where you go everyone is just so friendly and open and inviting. It’s just, it’s a really nice big cozy home, with just, lot’s of lovely people. That summarizes it nicely.”
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