Peabody Johns Hopkins University Magazine

Doing the ‘Cello-Actress Thing’ … and More 

Doing the ‘Cello-Actress Thing’ … and More 

Headshot of Melody Giron

Given her first name, it’s no surprise that cellist Melody Giron was born into a musical family. Her mother felt strongly that her children should play instruments, so she enrolled all five of them in the New England Conservatory of Music’s preparatory school.

Ms. Giron began studying piano at age 4, but she became enamored of the cello two years later, when she heard pianist Emanuel Ax and cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor. “I just remember immediately falling in love with the sound of the cello,” she says.

Since earning her master’s degree in cello performance from Peabody in 2014, Ms. Giron, 26, has been building her resume with teaching, recording session work, and chamber and orchestral gigs at such acclaimed venues as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden. She has performed with pop artist Stevie Wonder, the new music ensemble Holographic, and in the Amazon TV series Mozart in the Jungle.

From her home base in New York City, Ms. Giron has seen her career expand in directions she never anticipated. This past spring, she performed as the musician in an off-Broadway run of Edward Albee’s The Sandbox at Signature Theatre Company. “That experience was absolutely life-changing, incredible,” she says. “I really felt so honored to be among these actors and to have that experience as a cellist, but also taking on this other role of actor.”

That opportunity opened up a whole new avenue of performing for her, and she was recently cast in a car commercial — that’s right, playing her cello. “It’s cool! I feel excited about this whole ‘cello-actress’ thing,” says Ms. Giron.

Because teaching is often an important source of income for professional musicians, Ms. Giron decided to take that role seriously. With the understanding that being an accomplished performer does not necessarily make one a competent teacher, she recently completed two years of Suzuki teacher training at the School for Strings in New York.

“It’s really important for us as musicians to provide quality teaching. I really feel that teaching is an art in itself, apart from performing,” says Ms. Giron. “I knew that having some pedagogical training would enhance my teaching.”

Ms. Giron has not yet hired an agent or a manager, but she is clearly figuring out how to find work and network within the artistic community. “New York is an incredibly tough city to be freelancing in because there’s so much talent. The competition is fierce, so you’ve got to get your name out there. I have worked very hard,” she says, “but what I’ve found most important is to be humble and kind.”

— Christine Stutz