Alana Shannon


Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Alma maters: Indiana University, B.M., P.D.; Purchase College, SUNY, M.M.

Photos by Matt Dine


Appearances: Purchase Symphony Orchestra, 2014–16; National Orchestral Institute, 2014; Round Top Festival Institute, 2011–13; Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, 2013–14; Terre Haute Symphony, 2013–14

Who is your biggest inspiration? I have been inspired by so many people over the years, but the one that stands out is my former teacher, Larry Granger. He played in the San Francisco Symphony for many years, and he largely inspired me to start playing cello. He passed away suddenly two days after I graduated high school, and I now play on his cello. He was a wonderfully kind person and a great musician, so if I can continue his legacy then I’ll have done my job in this world.

Which composer do you feel you connect with the most? Shostakovich. Something about his introverted way of standing up for what he believes in has always resonated with me.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Playing Brahms Symphony No. 2 side-by-side with the Cleveland Orchestra—I could do that every day for the rest of my life.

Favorite band: My all-time favorite is the Beatles, but aside from them it’s changing constantly

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Probably French horn or trombone. I’ve also been told that I look like a horn player . . . whatever that means!

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? Something that involves working with animals

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? Scotland. It’s so beautiful and full of history, and everyone I came across had a great sense of humor (when I could understand them!).

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Paul McCartney, the Dalai Lama, and Rostropovich. I think it would be an entertaining combination.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I can solve every kind of Rubik’s cube.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Keep Calm and Karajan.