Musician Spotlight: Dr. Hailey Walterman

Sep 14, 2023

Dr. Hailey Walterman, D.M.A., M.M., is an educator, performer, and freelancer based in Los Angeles. Dr. Walterman holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, where she served as the viola Teaching Assistant, and Azusa Pacific University. Hailey has performed nationally and internationally as a freelance violist and violinist; traveling extensively for high-profile events in San Diego, New Orleans, New York, Texas, St. Barth’s, Mexico, and Vancouver B.C. Dr. Hailey has collaborated with artists, such as 2Cellos, Father John Misty at Austin City Limits, Il Divo, Michael Bublé, Leah James, Dariush Eghbali, and Rana Mansour. 

Classically, she has participated in various masterclasses with the Takacs, Tokyo, and Miró Quartets, along with accomplished violinists Vijay Gupta and Ingrid Chun of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As a chamber musician, she has shared the stage with the acclaimed violinist Midori Goto, the Jerusalem Quartet, Josh Gindele of the Miró Quartet, and Sibbi Bernhardssohn of the Pacifica Quartet. Her festival appearances include Montecito International Music Festival, the Next Festival of Emerging Young Artists, and Masterworks Festival in Zhengzhou, China.

We asked Dr. Hailey to share her musical background, what brought her to MTF, and what’s to come for her 2023:

What inspired you to start playing music?

I started playing the viola much like many other young musicians–through my 6th grade public school music program. However, unlike many others I was immediately drawn to the viola; during an instrument demo I absolutely fell in love with the rich sound of the viola. I always say that my first heartbreak was my family not allowing me to start the viola right away because I was already playing piano and they claimed that I was not dedicated enough for a second instrument because I absolutely hated practicing piano. Naturally I had to prove them wrong, so I got a doctorate in the instrument. But, there were many heated arguments and tears in my household until I was finally able to start taking private lessons the summer after 6th grade.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

My greatest inspirations have often been my own teachers. I will always be grateful to my former undergraduate teacher, Jonathan Moerschel of the Calder Quartet, for his absolutely beautiful sound, guidance, and incredible patience as he taught me how to practice (SLOWLY) as he built the foundation of the musician I am today. John Largess and the Míro Quartet are also incredibly inspirational to me. During my time at the University of Texas at Austin I was privileged enough to work extensively with the Míro. John helped me work through injury and shared his abundant knowledge with me at a time I needed it most. He is also one of the kindest humans which is almost more inspiring than his prestigious accolades. Will Fedkenheuer inspired me with his energy, dedication to his students, and willingness to always take risks (especially after a mistake). Viola rockstar Jessica Myer is another inspiration. Jessica has forged an innovative, unique career path for herself as an artist, teacher, and composer and is so authentically herself.

What was the injury that brought you to MTF and how did the injury affect your music?

I vividly remember the day I started experiencing pain in my right hand. It was the morning of a lesson at the end of the first year of my doctorate and that pain continued to worsen for 14 months until I had surgery. I was misdiagnosed (or under-diagnosed) with tendonitis in May 2019 as the sports medicine doctor asked how it would be possible to injure my tendons by playing the viola. By December of 2019 I started waking up in excruciating pain every single morning. I took time off, did physical therapy, and reworked my entire bow technique during this time, but there were moments where it hurt to simply hold my bow. I did perform a recital during this injury, but it was incredibly scary and painful. It wasn’t until June 1, 2020 that I finally saw Dr. Barron for an x-ray and discovered the misalignment in my wrist bones that needed surgery to be remedied.

What was your experience with receiving care through MTF and your recovery afterwards?

Dr. Barron was the first person that truly understood the importance of my hands and wrists to my career as a musician. I had the utmost trust in him to undergo this complicated surgery. I had a wrist fusion surgery to correct the misalignment. Post-surgery included 8 weeks of total immobilization; I spent 3 weeks in a cast and additional 5 weeks in a hard brace that had to be worn at all times. Additionally, I had to have a pin through my radial bone because the bone was soft, due to such a long-standing injury. I felt so supported by MTF and Dr. Barron the entire recovery; I spent many months with an incredible physical therapist who specializes in hands who worked with me to maximize my mobility and slowly build strength back into my arm. I was fortunate enough to have zero pain three weeks post-op. Just five months after surgery I gave a successful, pain-free solo recital as part of my doctoral studies.

What’s coming up for you?

Last year I relocated to Los Angeles and I have a busy fall season in the works! Many candlelight concerts, events, sessions, and performances are in the works!

Where can people find out more about you and your music?

You can find me on Instagram creating niche musical humor and sharing my musical journey @haileywaltermanviola.


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