Professional cellist Allegra Montanari enjoys a diverse career as performer, teacher and advocate for music in the community. As the Founder and Director of Sharing Notes, she combines her love of music with a commitment to serve those in need.
As a performing artist, Montanari has played extensively in ensembles across the nation, performing with the Spoleto Festival USA, Civic Orchestra of Chicago and New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.
She’ll join the Sarasota Opera Orchestra in her second season as a section member for the Opera’s 2014 Winter Season.
Not only a performer, Ms. Montanari enjoys teaching the art of cello playing. A Registered Teacher for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she maintains a small private lesson studio and is often invited to teach as a substitute at Chicago schools such as the Merit School of Music.
A resident of Lakeview, BoConcept is so excited to have Allegra involved in our upcoming event STYLELIFE, where she’ll be performing while guests enjoy a four-course meal prepared by Chef Markus Ford of Élever and ABC’s ‘The Taste.’
Below, Allegra answers a few questions about art, the Sharing Notes program and of course, Chicago!
What excites you about performing for an intimate setting like STYLELIFE?
I love performing in settings where people can not only me as a performer, but really get an up close view of what I’m doing. I know it isn’t every day that people have the opportunity to see a cellist playing – let alone in such a comfortable environment.
The chance to play for people in an approachable setting where people can learn more about the cello, the music I play and what I do as a musician is very exciting. The process of making music is fascinating and I love to share this with people!
What kind of selection can we expect at STYLELIFE?
I am going to be playing primarily (if not completely) selections from J.S. Bach’s Solo Suites for Cello. Bach’s music is from the Baroque period. The dance styles and beautiful characters he creates through his composition are a perfect musical accompaniment to such an evening as STYLELIFE. Bach is one of my favorite composers and these works are some of the most revered in the cello repertoire – I will play them at any chance I get!
Besides your art, what are your other passions or hobbies?
I am extremely passionate about the power of art, especially music, to make a positive difference in this world. I started an organization called Sharing Notes www.sharing-notes.com that provides opportunities for advanced students and young professional musicians to serve three Chicago hospitals with their gifts of music.
Running Sharing Notes has ignited in me a love for entrepreneurship – people following ways in which they can do what they love to help others – it is such an exciting field!
I’ve also always loved yoga, but recently started running and am now a big fan of trekking along LSD. I love exploring and taking advantage of all this city has to offer – especially making a visit to the Art Institute whenever I get the chance (I particularly love Dali and Picasso in the modern wing).
What are your top three favorite things about Chicago?
What I love about Chicago most is that it challenges me. It is a city with so many different sides to it and while you could choose to stay within one neighborhood or area – why would you want to? There is so much we can learn from what goes on in our city.
This brings me to the second thing I love – the people. I have met more inspirational and purpose driven people here than anywhere else I have lived. I’m proud to be a resident of this city.
Lastly (and less seriously), I love the lake. I don’t think this needs much explanation – while I wouldn’t want to drink from Lake Michigan, I love proximity to water. Running south toward the skyline, the view of the lake and the beautiful skyline makes my heart skip a beat almost every time!