Saturday, June 19

In music and in life, classical pairings


Jeff (right) and Marlyse Thayer, who are both musicians, pose for photos at the Santee Boulders in Santee, California. Jeff Thayer is a concertmaster with the San Diego Symphony and his wife Marlyse Thayer is a violin substitute with the San Diego Symphony.

(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Married: 2016, Jackson Hole, Wyo., and San Diego. One daughter, Olive, 2½, and a son due in December.

Jeff: San Diego Symphony concertmaster since 2004; Camera Lucida Chamber Music co-founder and violinist; private violin teacher; Mainly Mozart 2020 drive-in concerts performer.

Background: 44; born in Ithaca, N.Y.; raised in Williamsport, Pa., and Cordoba, Spain. Eastman School of Music; Master of Music and Artist Diploma, Cleveland Institute of Music.

Marlyse: San Diego Symphony violin substitute since 2014; private violin teacher.

Background: 31, born in Inglewood; except for two years in England, raised in Southern California. Bachelor’s degree in music, California State University Long Beach; master’s degree in music, Eastman School of Music.

The mid-March announcement of coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions coincided with the discovery that Marlyse and Jeff are having a baby in December. Pre-pandemic, the couple walked to work at Copley Symphony Hall from their Hillcrest home and gave private violin lessons while Jeff also works with Camera Lucida. Parenting Olive was made easier with two babysitters and devoted grandparents. Currently, the couple walks a lot, keeps practicing, does Zoom lessons and takes care of Olive, who assists her father in gardening and draws with her expectant mother.

Marlyse: “Olive’s showing an interest in music. When we warm up with scales, she sings them. She claims she wants to play the cello. She loves piano, but I think most kids like to bang on the piano.”

Jeff: “Musicians are goal-oriented. Every week, we had symphony concerts and solo performances in the pipeline, but that’s been shut off. It’s important to us to maintain our playing. The best part is our daughter, Olive, the most beautiful distraction during this. If there’s a silver lining, we’ve had months of 100 percent family time. It’s very nice on that level, but we miss the balance of work and family — and our friends and colleagues.”

Marlyse: “The first benefit of being married musicians is that we have the automatic understanding of what we need. You need a lot of time to practice and accomplish your goals as an artist. Plus, there’s a lot of traveling. Sometimes, people outside of our world don’t understand that.”





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