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Mary Garcia Grant, Second Violin

Mary Grant received her undergraduate degree in violin performance from Rice University, where she studied with Raphael Fliegel. She received a master’s degree from Queens College-City University of New York, where she studied with Ruth Waterman and Ani Kavafian. While in New York City, she played with the National Orchestral Association, a training orchestra for young musicians. She also studied baroque violin with Nancy Wilson. She has played with the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra in Europe and the National Repertory Orchestra in Colorado. Grant has been a violinist with the Kansas City Symphony since 1989 and was a founding member of Summerfest. She teaches violin through Urban Strings and the Kansas City Suzuki Academy. Grant lives with her husband, Jim, and cats, Eleanor and Cedric, in Stilwell, Kansas. In their spare time, she and Jim enjoy gardening, running, traveling and spending time with their grandchildren.

Ten questions about me:

What do you consider your greatest musical accomplishment?

My greatest musical accomplishment is deciding every day, every time I picked up the violin, that music making – practicing for myself, performing for others, and teaching students – remains intrinsically important to me.

If I weren't a professional musician, my occupation would be:

Architect. Editor. Gardener.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

The people who have inspired me lately are some of the newer players in our orchestra. They are incredible musicians who have recently graduated from music school or who have moved here from other orchestras. Their commitment to excellence and their dedication to practicing and preparedness inspire me daily.

Other than your Kansas City Symphony concerts, where else can audiences catch you performing in town?

I play with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and at my church, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church.

What do you do first thing in the morning?


Are you the only musician in your family?

Yes. But my younger sister has a degree in arts administration and my brother-in-law is the Executive Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Which composer would you most like to have dinner with? And what would you serve or where would you eat?

Ian Coleman. He's very funny. We would definitely go out and be served by others (I would not be doing the serving.) His wife and my husband would come along, too, with all of our friends.

Tell us about your family and your hobbies.

I live with my husband Jim, in Stilwell, Kansas. We have two cats named Max and Eleanor. I run, sew, teach violin, work in the garden, and read. I also enjoy spending time with my grandchildren. In 2017, I helped edit a translation of a Korean book on early Buddhism. I’m currently working on editing a second book by a Korean author. My husband and I really like to travel. Our latest adventures have been to Korea, Scotland, and Istanbul.

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

I get to work with really interesting, genuinely thoughtful people who are passionate about their work.

What quality do you most admire in others?

Patience, understanding, and flexibility of thought.