Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano Teacher, Parent, Administrator
Penny Wayne-Shapiro was born in Worthing, southern England, and completed her undergraduate and graduate training at the Royal Academy of Music, London, followed by post-graduate work with Ivan Galamian in New York. Later she completed a Master’s degree and Doctoral coursework while studying with Yuri Mazurkevich at Boston University, where she also taught string pedagogy in the Music Education department.
From 1990-97 Penny was a faculty member at the Community Music Center of Boston. In 1997 she founded Wayland Violin Studio, which in 2007 expanded to become Wayland School of Music.
Penny’s first professional appointment was at age 22, as first violinist with English National Opera. She was also a regular performer with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. She joined the first violin section of the London Philharmonic at age 26, took part in many international tours and recordings, and was featured as costumed soloist in a number of LPO opera productions. She also taught in the LPO educational program, and gave many recitals in London and elsewhere, including a solo tour of Brazil.
In the US, Penny was concertmaster (first chair) of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2012. She is now the violinist of the Aviva Piano Trio.
1) How/what age did you start your instrument?
Age nine, but I had been begging for violin lessons for years.
- Did you come from a musical family?
My Dad was a concert pianist, but didn’t want any of his children to be musicians! (Hence the long wait for lessons.)
Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
When I was ten my Dad gave me his collection of 78 rpm records — four minutes of music per side. I fell hopelessly in love with a particular four minutes of Brahms symphony #1, and played it over and over until the old 78 rpm record player literally went up in smoke.
A highlight or two from your performing career:
Playing that same piece, Brahms 1, many times (on three continents!) with the London Phil, then several times as concertmaster with the CCSO; a recital tour of the beautiful country of Brazil in the 1980s; the excitement of rehearsing and performing with the Aviva Piano Trio at our recent debut recital in Wayland.
What do you love about teaching?
Interacting with the kids; seeing the light dawn on their faces as they master something they couldn’t do before; sharing my love of a piece of music with them; learning so much myself from teaching them.
What would you like your students to know about you?
I assume we’re going to work hard together, but I’ll do my best to make it fun too—and I will never give up on finding a way to teach you something.
Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
I love waterpark thrill rides! On vacation in New Jersey I went down a 90ft water-slide called the Cliff Dive – it’s rumored that I screamed “really loudly”.