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5 Questions with...
Claire Bryant, Camden-native cellist, teacher, advocate
Claire Bryant

Q: What’s the proudest moment of your music career, and why?

A: Last August, I got a call from McGraw-Hill Publishing Companies informing me that I had been awarded the 2010 Robert Sherman Award for Community Outreach and Music Education. It was totally unexpected and I felt so humbled to be recognized in this way.

Q: Who’s your most significant musical inspiration? Yes, you have to choose one, sorry.

A: It's so hard to choose one! My teacher at the Conservatory in San Francisco and at Juilliard, Bonnie Hampton, has been a major influence in my musical life. She always urged me to try everything, and figure out what aspects of being an artist inspired me the most, and she constantly challenged me to keep learning about myself as a person and artist. She was a student of Pablo Casals, so I consider myself a Casals grand-cellist!

Q: What are your top three “guilty pleasure” musical artists or bands?

A: I wouldn't call them guilty pleasures, more like my essential iPod artists: #1: Tom Waits (I was lucky enough to see him live at Radio City at a Hurricane Katrina Benefit); #2: The National (Brooklyn-based band -- amazing writers and musicians); #3: Matt Kanelos and the Smooth Maria (incredibly talented NYC-based band who has yet to be discovered).

Q: No Gaga?! That’s criminal! Speaking of which, what’s your favorite aspect of living in Gaga’s town, New York City?

A: In NYC, it doesn't matter what day of the week it is -- everyday is Friday! Amazing food, wine, art, live music is available pretty much any time you want it.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about coming home to Camden?

A: Definitely the close-knit sense of community (and spending time with Mom and Dad!). I feel lucky to have the opportunity to bring my friends and colleagues from NYC to Camden for our residency projects twice a year. Camdenites are a rare-breed: welcoming to new people and ideas, and incredibly supportive of their own!