We had the good fortune of connecting with Josephine Moerschel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josephine, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance has certainly been an evolution since adulthood. Most classical musicians are taught to work, work, work, in order to get careers off the ground. When I moved to LA in 2003, I was fortunate to get to perform with many of top orchestras in southern California, including the Pacific Symphony, the LA Opera, the LA Master Chorale, LACO, and the Phil. I was also teaching in schools and privately, sometimes as many as 20 or 25 students in a single week!
Things began to shift over time, and there was definitely a period where the balance was completely off. It was actually a gift when my position with Elemental Music became full-time. It was also right around the time my older daughter was born, and I was happy to start shedding a lot of the work that didn’t bring me joy. I also stopped teaching privately for a while so that I could focus on our growing family.
Having two daughters has definitely pushed me to think about my priorities, and the pandemic this past year has been very revealing. I miss the joys of performing on stage with different orchestras in southern California and am thrilled that things are finally starting to open up again. But without the pandemic, my husband, who is also a musician, and I would never have had so much time to spend with our daughters. What a treat it has been to have all our meals together, to read to them every night before bed – something that many classical musicians miss out on because rehearsals and concerts take place at night.
We’ve found a good balance this past year, and I’m not quite sure what the “new” balance will be as things start up again, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was trained as a professional violist. I loved teaching, but did not go through any formal training; everything came from years of experience teaching both privately as well as in classrooms.
When Elemental Music became a nonprofit organization, I became the Executive Director. I did NOT have any experience in the nonprofit sector and was completely terrified of messing things up. There were two key things that I am proud to say helped me grow into who I have become. And both of these things are so important to personal growth. First, I surrounded myself with people smarter and more experienced than me. Our Board of Directors, back then as well as today, are my brain trust. And second, I am constantly trying to learn more. Truthfully, the learning never stops, and because of that, each day’s work is interesting and exciting.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week-long trip? I would definitely include going to some of my favorite restaurants, which include Kogi Tacos in Palms and Huge Tree Pastries in Monterey Park. Maybe an indulgent shopping excursion and lunch or dinner at Eataly. We would definitely have to have a few visits to the beaches around town, and to Frog Creek in PV – a family favorite for exploring in nature. If they haven’t been, it’s always a pleasure to visit Walt Disney Concert Hall and enjoy the view from Grand Park downtown.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I already knew I had an amazing staff at Elemental Music. But this past year really highlighted how exceptional they are. We transitioned all of our programs to online, started using new platforms, and continued working on new projects that allow us to look forward to the future. And despite all the challenges, my team is still every bit as devoted, maybe even more so, to nurturing our students every step along the way.
I am grateful every day that I get to work with such wonderful thought partners who love the work as much as I do. So this shoutout goes to ALL of my team, especially Emily Call and Emily Senchuk. You guys are the heart of Elemental Music.