Abigail Monroe ’21 on who inspires her the most

Abigail Monroe SFCM student

The SFCM alum credits talented colleagues for pushing her to be a better cellist.

In her own words, Abigail Monroe (MM ’21) discusses the importance of surrounding yourself with people who inspire you.

The people that most inspire me are my colleagues—other cellists I go to school with or people who are a bit farther along in their careers. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m competitive, but it motivates me to be better in a way nothing else does. That's why I wanted to go to SFCM in the first place. If you don't have an environment of people who are like you and have the same passion as you, it's hard to advance. My teachers have inspired me as well, but having talented colleagues around you that are doing the sorts of things you are working towards has really been the thing that pushes me.

What’s missing when you idolize a famous soloist or performer is that you can’t really dig in and figure out how they got to where they are like you can with your peers. I love hearing someone’s story. I like having a personal interaction with somebody and knowing what kind of person they are. This contributes to why people inspire me versus just appreciating that they're a good performer or teacher. It's having that sort of personal connection and understanding that makes them inspirational to me.

After five years at SFCM, I’m excited for what’s coming next. I made the substitute list for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. I also just became the cellist for a local contemporary music group, Ensemble for These Times. I subbed for two concerts last year and they just invited me to join officially, and I’m so thrilled about that. Best of all, I don’t have to leave San Francisco.

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