ESO 101: Allene Hackleman

ESO 101: Allene Hackleman

Meet Allene Hackleman, Principal Horn for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. A native of Vancouver, Allene studied horn with Martin Hackleman, and continued her undergraduate work at the University of Cincinnati. Ms. Hackleman has performed with the National, Montréal, and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras, and the Colorado Music Festival.

When was your earliest recital and what did you play?
My first full solo recital on horn was in my third year of university. I played the Brahms horn trio, Hindemith Alto Horn Sonata, Scriabin Romance, and Francaix Divertimento. I played on lots of piano recitals and various other public performances as a young person but don’t remember specifically what I played!

How long have you been with the ESO?
Sixteen years. I began in April 2004.

How many instruments do you know how to play?
Two - Piano and Horn.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?
I love retro lounge music from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

What is the last album you purchased (digital or physical)?
I recently purchased a subscription to Spotify and have been enjoying exploring the curated playlists, as well as listening to all my most favourite pieces of classical music. Normally, I am devoted to listening to CDs rather than digital music, but my CD player is in need of repair at the moment. 

What was the last song/piece of music you listened to?
Brahms Lieder, sung by Jessye Norman.

What would your personalized license plate be if you had to have one?

What is your pre-concert ritual?
Eat something not too heavy, try to get myself out the door on time to arrive at the Winspear with enough time to find parking, change into concert clothes, warm up for a few minutes, look ahead at the challenging passages in that evening’s music, and have a cup of coffee and some water. Hydration and caffienenation! I find it essential to have enough time to transition from whatever else I’ve been busy doing that afternoon to the concert ahead so that I can have a clear head and complete focus.

What's something people might not know about you?
I collect vintage linen tea towels. I like to dye my hair. I’ve had pink, purple, green, and red streaks.

What is your favourite sports team or player?
I don’t like sports! Sorry.

How many different cities have you lived in?
Six. I mostly grew up in Vancouver and have also lived in Toronto, Boston, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., and, of course, EDMONTON!

What is your favourite city (or a country) you’ve travelled and why?
I visited Istanbul with my husband and was completely bowled over by the history, beauty, food, and immenseness of it. We’d definitely love to return someday. 

Do you have a nickname?
Allene the Bean.

What is your favourite orchestra other than the ESO?
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.

What do you do in your free time?
I love to garden, read, and ferment things in my kitchen (sourdough, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha…).

Rapid Fire section

Coffee or tea?

Pancakes or waffles?
Both. I love all carbs indiscriminately.

Facebook or Instagram?

Coke or Pepsi?

Cats or dogs?

Dine-in or take-out?
Dine in.

Apple or Android?

PC or Mac?

Morning or Night?
Night owl 1,000%.

Call or text?

Beethoven or Mozart?
Please don’t make me choose! How about I’ll tell you my favourite pieces by these composers instead! For Beethoven: 4th Symphony and Piano Sonata Opus 109. For Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro (opera).

Schubert or Dvořák?
I love them both so much! Schubert: Klavierstucke D. 946. Dvorak: Symphony #8.

Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff?
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances! Tchaikovsky: letter scene from the opera Eugene Onegin. And, even though most musicians won’t say this, I love The Nutcracker. I think I’ve played it almost 100 times by now, and I still think it’s some of his best music.

Book or movie?

Mountains or ocean?
Being a former Vancouverite, I’d say both.

Wine or beer?

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Musical or opera?
OPERA (I think it is in many ways the greatest art form there is).

ESO 101 – COVID Edition Questionnaire

What is your go-to comfort food?

What is your go-to comfort drink?
Coffee or bourbon, depending on the time of day!

What do you do to stay grounded/sane?
I’ve recently started practising meditation - it’s helpful for mental focus and awareness - two things we need a lot as musicians.

If you are getting out of your home, what do you do?
Go for walks and bike rides. We are trying to visit some different neighbourhoods in Edmonton.

What is the best part about spending time at home?
Spending more time with my 6-year old son!

What is the most difficult part about spending time at home?
Not being able to make music with my colleagues in the ESO.

Where is somewhere you have always wanted to go?
I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin. It seems like such a large and cosmopolitan city.

What is the thing you miss the most about life as 'normal'?
Socialising with friends and eating in restaurants (I want someone else to do the dishes!!!)

What is the thing that you miss the least about life as 'normal'?
Getting up early and the stress of getting to school on time. Also packing school lunches!! Hate that!

What store do you miss the most?
Winners and HomeSense.

What is the first thing you will do when isolation restrictions are lifted?
Have a party!!

What is one thing that you've learned about yourself through this experience so far?
I’m not good at sticking to daily routines.

What is one aspect of your life/new routine that you want to continue after COVID?
Taking more of an interest in my child’s education.

How are you finding working at home?
It’s difficult to structure my time when the days are wide open. It’s hard to find uninterrupted practise time. I often find myself in the basement practising at 9 or 10 PM.

What is your favourite outing/experience that you miss attending?
Restaurants and, of course, concerts and performances of all sorts! 

Rapid Fire Section: The Sequel

Sweet or salty snacks?

Indoors or Outdoors?
Depends on the time of year. Right now, outdoors.

More news or less news than before?
Less, actually.

More connected or less connected than before?

More cooking or more take-out?
More cooking.

More active or less active than before?
Less active without my usual walk or bike-to-work routine.

More caffeinated or less than before?

YouTube videos or Podcasts?
Call me old fashioned, but I listen to the radio (CBC).

Favourite book to recommend?
I recently read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Highly recommend, and important for the times we live in.