JD: What do you find to be most effective for promoting your ensemble?
LF: A hook, a niche. We are two women who perform traditionally male instruments (especially tuba), so I think that makes people curious. We also have niches outside of performing—I like to give lectures on women in music and Dr. Swoboda has presented thousands of educational programs to public schools all over the U.S. So we capitalize on all of those niches in our proposals to present concerts.
JD: What obstacles have you had to overcome as an ensemble?
LF: Understanding how horn and tuba function together as a chamber ensemble. It took me about a year to realize that it’s much more of a solo role for me (horn)—I approached it more accommodating and chamber-like before. I have to consciously lead like a soloist for it to sound good. We’ve also worked a lot with bell position to solve some of the inherent balance issues that you get when the instruments are aiming all over the place. We record most all of our rehearsals and performances and listen together to discuss what we hear.
JD: What connection do you feel to female composers, and is this connection heightened by the fact that you are working with another female musician?
LF: I’ve cherished the relationships that I’ve developed with the female composers whose music I’ve been advocating since the start of my professional career. It does matter that they’re women, but it’s also just great to work with composer whose music you’re performing. It’s great to get that feedback. I try to perform music by female composers every opportunity that I can—it’s a real focus and mission for me. Working with Dr. Swoboda, who is such a terrific and fun musician, has been a great female-bonding experience too. We support each other (while also challenging each other) and that helps us do our jobs and perform better.