Ilana Setapen has many important roles, but most notably as the Associate Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
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Ilana Setapen has many roles: Associate Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, soloist, violin instructor, and touring artist performing with orchestras and at festivals all over the U.S. and abroad.
You could also call her a prodigy – first performing solo with an orchestra at the age of 15.
Now as a mother, her routine has changed just a little bit, and her days are long, though fulfilling.
7:30 a.m. – Ilana wakes up and mentally presses snooze for just a few more minutes.
8 a.m. – She gets two-year-old son Asher up and dressed, and makes a breakfast of eggs and toast with fruit — and lots of Anodyne coffee for her.
9 a.m. – Next she gets ready for work as the nanny arrives at her Bay View home. Stretching is a big part of her morning routine, crucial to prepare her body for the small muscle workout of playing the violin all day.
9:20 a.m. – Ilana leaves for work and listens to either NPR or a recording of whatever piece she’s performing that week en route.
10:00 a.m. – Orchestra rehearsal begins, and they come together as a group to perfect a piece of music. This week it’s Mahler’s great Symphony No. 9 under the director of the MSO’s former conductor Edo de Waart, visiting for the weekend.
12:30 p.m. – Rehearsal ends and she heads home to make lunch for herself and Asher.
2:30 p.m. – Next she teaches a private violin lessons at home.
3:30 p.m. – Ilana takes a quick cat nap and then does household chores and picks up groceries at Outpost.
6:00 p.m. – Dinner with the family consists of chicken with raw peppers and matcha tea to re-energize.
6:30 p.m. – Ilana gets ready for the evening’s concert while her husband gets Asher ready for bed. She changes into a formal black outfit and puts on makeup before she does more stretching and warming up.
8 p.m. – Concert time! Ilana lives for sharing beautiful music with the Milwaukee audience. “It is always exhilarating to walk out on stage and see a crowd eager for music, but every week brings new repertoire and new challenges both mentally and physically. It’s a wonderfully fulfilling job with serious demands, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she says.
10:30 p.m. – She heads to Rumpus Room, across from the Marcus Center, to grab a post-concert drink with friends and colleagues.
11:30 p.m. – Ilana goes home and winds down by getting ready for the next day.
12:30 a.m. – Finally, her head hits the pillow in search of some Zzzzzs…