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Better acquaint yourself with the Savannah Philharmonic!

Jeana Melilli photo

Name – Jeana Melilli
Instrument/Chair – Principal Flute
Current City – Decatur, GA

Where were you educated? I started out in Georgia public schools and graduated from Stockbridge High School where I studied with Carl Hall (piccoloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). I went on to get my Bachelors of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, studying with Carole Bean (piccoloist with the National Symphony Orchestra). For my Masters of Music, I went to Northwestern University in chilly Evanston, IL, where I studied with Walfrid Kujala (who had just retired from a 47 year career playing piccolo for the Chicago Symphony).

How long have you played with the Savannah Philharmonic? Luckily, I’ve been playing with the Savannah Philharmonic from its very beginning in October of 2008.

What do you enjoy most about Savannah? The enthusiasm and hospitality of the people of Savannah, and, as a history buff, I enjoy wandering the city immersing myself in its rich history.

What has been your favorite memory playing with the Savannah Philharmonic? Whenever one has the opportunity to play Beethoven’s Ninth, it’s like making a musical pilgrimage. I was so happy we had this experience in Savannah, both for myself and for our audience.

What is your favorite piece of music to play, why? This is a tricky question, because we have such an amazing pile of music from which to choose. I am always equal parts inspired and relaxed when I play anything of Bach’s, whether it’s one of his impeccable flute sonatas, the gorgeous Partita in a minor, or if I’m trying to bang out the Italian Concerto on my piano. I haven’t had enough opportunity to play many of his orchestral works, but I hope to get to them soon.

What is your dream piece of music to play, why? Anytime I feel that being a musician is too difficult a career choice, it seems Brahms’ Fourth Symphony shows up (either on the radio or on a symphony program in which I’m taking part). Something about the perfect execution of form and its happy marriage to Brahms’ orchestration makes me feel like there is a certain amount of control and hope in the chaos of life.

If you were a musical instrument, which would you want to be, why? I think I would like to be the Euphonium, because in order to be played, it must be hugged. Also, it is a prominent instrument used in DCI marching, which is always fun to watch.