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Meet Ingrid Gerling in Montrose/Neartown Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ingrid Gerling.

Ingrid, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am originally from Porto Alegre, Brazil, but now, I have lived in the US for over half of my life! My musical career has taken me all over the US, but now, I am happy to call Houston my home.

Like most musicians, I started taking music lessons when I was very young. Both of my parents are musicians, and I looked up to them and admired their music! I took violin and recorder lessons when I was little and actually continued playing both for a long time. (A curious little bit of information about me that most people don’t know is that I played recorder for 11 years (!) and I still have it and play sometimes!)

While growing up, the violin was my main instrument. When I moved to the US, I had the opportunity to pick a wind instrument to play in a band, so I chose the trombone. That was a horrible mistake and I quickly switched to the flute and studied that for several years, along with the violin. I was also introduced to fiddling and got to take fiddle lessons.

When I moved back to Brazil, I decided I wanted to take guitar lessons. I was in love with Brazilian Bossa Nova, and I wanted to be able to play it. I started taking guitar lessons and my guitar teacher encouraged me to sing the Bossa Nova songs while I played the guitar. It turned out I had a nice voice and I started getting more into the world of Brazilian music. I had listened to it throughout my childhood but had never really played it since the violin is a classical instrument and I had really only played pieces by Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, etc.

Despite all the music around me and my love for music, I felt it would be a safer choice to major in something other than music in college. So I got into the Architecture program at the Federal University in my city and began studying architecture. This kind of forced me to put music aside for a few months. So, over the summer, I went to a music festival to play the violin again. At this festival, I met a wonderful violin teacher and he invited me to study with him in the United States. I was super excited about that because I really missed living in the US. So, I accepted to move to California and completely changed my career path.

In college, studied violin all day long. I knew I had a lot of catching up to do compared to my peers who had been planning to pursue music professionally from a young age. Along with my violin studies, I also started taking voice lessons with a really great jazz singer and bassist, Kristin Korb. She taught me so much about singing and really encouraged me to keep doing it. After college, I got a Master’s degree in Violin Performance in Pittsburgh, PA, and continued studying voice! While getting my master’s, I met violinist Frank Huang at the Bowdoin Music Festival, and he invited me to audition to study with him in Houston! That’s how I ended up here!

I spent three and a half years doing my DMA in Violin Performance (Doctor of Musical Arts). For my degree, I also took conducting lessons and discovered that I enjoyed that very much! By the time I graduated, I had also met a large community of Brazilian musicians in Houston, as well as some of the best jazz musicians in town. Now, I am happily pursuing a very mixed musical career where I play violin, sing Brazilian music and jazz, and conduct!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I definitely wouldn’t say it was a smooth road! Being a musician requires constant sacrifice. When I was younger, there were many times when I wanted to quit the violin. The countless hours of practice required to master the violin can be draining and really infringe on any kind of social life. I also have moved around a lot, which means I didn’t get to build strong childhood friendships. I’m an incredibly social person and I love being around people. So, it can sometimes be tough for me to spend hours alone practicing my music. But, I love it and I always know that it is worth the sacrifice.

Ingrid Gerling (individual artist) – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
It’s so interesting to ask myself what I specialize in! I think I’m known for doing a lot of different things! Music is my passion, I live for it. So, I am constantly playing/performing/singing/conducting. I love learning new music, new styles, and new instruments! I think what sets me apart from others would be my sense of adventure with music. I am willing to try a lot of things! I recently did a performance where I played the mandolin and the saw. I learned to play both just for that performance! And, I was happy I did because it turned out great and I learned some new skills. I also did another performance in Dallas where I played on an artisanal custom-made “sound object.” It was kind of similar to playing the violin (or a cello), but also completely different. That was also a huge success and I was happy that I tried something new! I’m very proud that I am a full-time musician, and that I get to pursue my passion every day of my life!

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, I think it’s very hard to define success. My musical career is a never-ending journey and with each achievement comes a new goal. But, I don’t see “success” as the key to happiness. I think doing what I love every day is a mark of success. It’s a privilege to be able to make music as often as I do, with the high level of musicians that I am surrounded by. My goal is to always improve my own skills and to continuously grow as an artist.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo by Lynn Lane, Duke Hunter, Jason Herbst

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