Welcome to our “Wellness Wednesday” series featuring Heidi Harris, violinist and certified yoga instructor! Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony and friend of MOCM, Heidi shares her expertise in yoga and wellness by guiding us through a weekly restorative posture.
About Heidi Harris
Heidi Harris began studying piano at the age of three and violin at the age of four. As a young teenager she debuted with the Utah Symphony as a soloist, returning to perform with the orchestra twice more during her adolescence. Upon graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy within the Interlochen Center for the Arts, she was afforded the opportunity to study at the New England Conservatory of Music on full scholarship where she attained a Bachelor of Music Degree, and served as an extra violinist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra while still in school. She went on to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a section first violinist, and then transitioned to the S1. Louis Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Concertmaster. A few years later she won the position of Associate Concertmaster -a role she maintains today.
In 2000, she began practicing yoga to alleviate mental and physical stress that accompany a career as a violinist. She found that practicing yoga not only helped her physically but also relieved anxiety both on stage and off. The equanimity and increased mental focus that came from practicing yoga and meditation encouraged her to pursue her 200-hour teacher's certification through Yoga Source in S1. Louis. Accordingly, Ms. Harris periodically traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to attend trainings at the Prajna Yoga school where she studied with Tias and Surya Little, earning a second 200-hour teacher's certification there. She is currently enrolled in a SOO-hour teacher's certification from Prajna Yoga.
Ms. Harris is passionate about mental and physical health and wellbeing, and graciously provides support for others. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Webster University where she not only assisted young people in their pursuit of musical careers, but in her unique teaching methodology by bridging the gap between classical music instruction and yoga and meditation instruction through her Yoga For Musicians course. Ms. Harris has also taught-her Yoga For Musicians course in masterclass format for violinists at the University of Michigan and at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis for the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. Additionally, she provides private violin lessons to young musicians with a focus on helping students reach their optimal performance through traditional lessons combined with education in yoga and meditation. This combination supports musicians in a holistic way, providing for their musical education as well as mental and physical wellbeing as performing artists.
Ms. Harris's solo and orchestral career has spanned venues across the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has awarded her the opportunity to work with such great maestros as Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, and John Storgards. Additionally, she has served as guest concertmaster of the Seattle, Phoenix, and Amarillo Symphonies. In honor of her outstanding body of work, Ms. Harris received the Mabel Dorn Reeder Award in 2010. She was the first person in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to be given this award for musical achievement and dedication to the community.
In the coming years, Ms. Harris's aim lies in fostering her ongoing work in the healing arts. Her focus will be to actively support not only performing artists, but people who are in need of holistic healing through the modalities she provides as a certified Yoga Therapist, Meditation Instructor, Reiki Practitioner, and Life Coach. For more information about Ms. Harris and her work, please visit her website.
Ms. Harris would like to express deep gratitude to her children, Asher & Eden, for being bright lights in her life. She would also like to express gratitude to her music teachers and the many teachers in her healing arts training, as well as for the recognition and experiences which have accompanied her success.