Shankar, Angela 1

Soloist Spotlight: Angela Shankar

As a woodwind specialist, Angela Shankar can be seen performing regularly on flute, clarinet, and saxophones in a variety of settings and groups. Her recent musical theater credits have included Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s “Harmony” and “The Music Man” on Broadway. In the classical realm, Angela has performed on orchestral stages across the country and is a founding member of the reed trio Reeds Amis.

Angela returns as a soloist with The Chelsea Symphony for the world premiere of Michael Boyman’s Clarinet Concerto on September 23rd & 24th. In anticipation of the concert weekend, we reached out to Angela for a quick behind-the-scenes Q&A.

The Chelsea Symphony: What feelings come up for you when you are playing this piece?
Angela Shankar: This piece feels as though it’s a musical representation of my experience during the first few months of the pandemic. I was navigating uncharted waters as a mother with three young children and at times felt fear, desperation, and darkness right alongside moments of light and hope. Though it’s uncomfortable to go back in time to that difficult period, I tap into those deep emotions while playing this piece. It's cathartic to express those feelings through music and let them go.

TCS: What is it like learning and playing a brand new work? How involved were you in the composition process?
AS: It doesn’t get better than this as a soloist—especially working with Mike [Boyman]. We’ve been in constant communication on the concept, which changed drastically from where it began in 2019. Musically, the most remarkable part is that the clarinet line feels like my voice though it came completely from Mike’s hand.

TCS: Do you have any favorite TCS memories?
AS: I have countless favorite TCS memories, which is one of the reasons I’ve been playing with this ensemble for the past thirteen years! If I had to narrow it down to one, I’d choose playing “Sleigh Ride” during the Holiday Concert in 2012 with my husband of two weeks conducting. I was so nervous, excited, and proud, I remember my hands were visibly shaking!


Join us at 8pm on Friday & Saturday, September 23rd & 24th at St. Paul's Church at 315 West 22nd Street for Angela’s world premiere performance of Boyman’s Clarinet Concerto!