Heidi Marie Harris is the Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her first job with the SLSO was as a section violinist, which she won while still attending the New England Conservatory during her senior year of college. A few years later she secured a section position in the Chicago Symphony where she remained for three years. Ms. Harris then returned to St. Louis as the Assistant Concertmaster and shortly thereafter earned her current position as Associate Concertmaster.
Ms. Harris began her musical studies on the piano at age three, and began studying the violin at age four. At age 13 she made her solo debut with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Joseph Silverstein, returning again to solo with the same orchestra at ages 15 and 19. After graduating high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Ms. Harris earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, attending under full scholarship. Ms. Harris also served as an extra violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, and participated in recordings with Bernard Haitink and tours with the Boston Symphony while still in school.
Ms. Harris’ solo career has included recitals in the U.S. and Europe in such venues as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Mozarteum in Germany. In her concerto appearances with the St. Louis Symphony, Ms. Harris has worked with maestros Nicholas McGegan, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, and John Storgards conducting. As well as recitals and solo performances, Ms. Harris has served as guest concertmaster for the Amarillo Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony.
In 2010 Ms. Harris was presented with the Mabel Dorn Reeder Award. This award is given every five years and was created to recognize exceptional musical leadership as well as contribution in the community. Ms. Harris was the first person to be honored with this award.
To view Heidi’s concert schedule with the St. Louis Symphony, visit the symphony’s website:
“I first began practicing yoga in 2000. After just a few weeks I noticed that the neck, shoulder and back pain I’d experienced as a career violinist began to subside. I also noticed that my struggle with performance anxiety was not as bad as it had been in the past. I felt such a huge sense of relief that I decided to learn more and pursue my yoga teacher’s certificate. After earning my 200-hour teacher’s certification from Yoga Source in St. Louis, I went on to pursue my studies at the Prajna Yoga school in Santa Fe, New Mexico with Tias and Surya Little. I chose the Prajna Yoga school because of the depth of knowledge Tias and Surya train their students in. Yoga is viewed not just as physical exercise, but as a contemplative, intellectual, and philosophical medium as well. Since earning my certificate I have served as apprentice to Tias at one of his workshops here in St. Louis, and am also active in the Prajna Yoga mentorship program. Currently, I’m pursuing my 500-hour teacher’s certificate from Prajna Yoga. On any given day, you might find me teaching weekly yoga and meditation classes at Agape Yoga Studio or Lululemon here in St. Louis, leading a day long yoga retreat, assisting with a yoga teacher training, or teaching private classes from my home yoga studio. My work has evolved into the music world through teaching The Art of Performance both privately and in workshops to musicians. By teaching The Art of Performance, I endeavor to help musicians achieve greater strength and flexibility in their bodies, and more composure, confidence, and focus in their minds. In the spring of 2016, I presented The Art of Performance to members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and music majors at Webster University.
To view Heidi’s yoga class schedule and reserve a space in one of her classes, visit Agape Yoga Studio’s website:
To read about Heidi’s yoga training, and to connect with other Prajna Yoga teachers, visit Prajna Yoga’s website:
Private Sessions & Coaching
What can you expect from a Private Session? First we will talk about what your current challenges might be. Students sometimes experience performance anxiety, which can hold them back from performing their best. Also challenging for students can be difficulty getting motivated to practice, or organizing practice time to get through large amounts of repertoire. Professionals, while occasionally facing similar challenges, more commonly suffer from performance related injuries due to a long career in music. In a private session we will discuss your particular needs, then choose from various methods to help you overcome these challenges.
What are the methods used in a Private Session? If you’re experiencing physical discomfort or have a performance related injury, I’ll guide you through some gentle yoga movements that you can practice at home. People are sometimes unsure about doing yoga if they are injured or if they’ve never done yoga before, so it’s important to realize the difference between “yoga” and “yoga therapy”. I commonly use yoga therapy if I’m working with an individual with an injury. Yoga therapy is comprised of slow movements done while lying down, and resembles physical therapy more than what most people think of as yoga. Because of the nature of yoga therapy (it is non load bearing, gentle, and safe), it is an excellent resource for musicians to prevent or heal injuries. For people not suffering from any injuries, a more vigorous yoga sequence can be practiced.
For individuals concerned with performance anxiety, we can explore meditation as well as learn skills to physically calm the nervous system. One of these skills is pranayama (breathing exercises), which helps to regulate heart rate and lower blood pressure so that anxiety is replaced by a sense of calm and wellbeing.
If your challenges are being overwhelmed with your repertoire list, not knowing how to thoroughly prepare in time for concerts or auditions, or feeling unmotivated to get into the practice room, we can discuss organizational skills specific to musicians that help to take the stress away from pracitce time and practice with consistency.
I also offer traditional coaching for violinists at the high school and college level. After many years of concertizing and taking auditions for orchestras, I can offer guidance and training that supports the needs of violinists on the audition circuit both for college auditions and professional orchestral auditions.
Initial phone consultations are free of charge. Consultation appointments can be scheduled via email from the contact page.
Private sessions for performance anxiety relief, organizational skills, yoga, and meditation are 60-90 minutes in length. Cost: $100 per session.
Private violin coachings are 60-90 minutes in length. Cost: $150 per session.
Packages at discounted rates are available. Student discounts available for college students currently enrolled in school.