Jordan Allen, cello, has been performing with the Madison Symphony Orchestra for ten years. This Q&A is part of our Home Is Where the Art Is series of artist stories featuring our musicians.

When did you first start playing your musical instrument?

I first started playing the cello in 4th grade.

What stories come to mind that led to your choice to make music a focus in your life?

I don’t think it was a choice that I had to make. When I first heard the sound of the cello, I knew it was a sound that I wanted to hear and/or make everyday. Once I had a cello in my hands, I progressed fairly quickly and loved music so much that it became one of the main fixtures of my childhood and adolescence. I grew up with my cello, so it was logical that music would always be a huge focus in my life.

Who was most influential in shaping your talent and inspiring your passion for music and your instrument?

There are two people who come to mind. The first person I think of is the orchestra teacher from the Lake Geneva public schools at that time, Linda Oja. When she recognized my affinity for the cello, she dedicated her own time to come into school early and also stayed after to provide me with extra help and coaching. She is a fabulous musician, but cello wasn’t her primary instrument, so she eventually encouraged me and my parents to seek private instruction from a cello teacher. The second person who comes to mind was my first serious cello teacher, Geraldine Jennings. I studied privately with her from the 6th grade through my sophomore of high school. She helped me a great deal and was the perfect balance of discipline and encouragement for me.