Patricia Watrous retired from the TSO in 2018.
Ms. Watrous attended Occidental College as an undergraduate and studied flute with Roger Stevens, principal flute of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. From 1969-1971, she studied musicology and flute with Joseph Mariano at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. In 1977, Ms. Watrous completed her doctorate at The University of Arizona in music performance and musicology. She plays flute and piccolo with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra a position she has held since winning an audition in 1974. In addition to her orchestra duties, Dr. Watrous teaches privately and is on the Arizona Commission of theArts Roster with her Tucson Symphony Harp Trio.
When did you start playing your instrument?
I started the flute in junior high – 8th grade, actually. I had played the piano since 4th grade, but gave that up for the band experience.
Why did you choose the flute?
The school district had a limited musical ensemble selection, so I chose flute. I wore braces which eliminated brass instruments, and I didn’t like the sound of oboe and clarinet as much as flute. Can’t remember my thoughts on bassoon, but today I love that instrument and it is my favorite woodwind. There was no string program to choose from.
Are you from a musical family?
My maternal grandfather played violin in orchestras wherever he was stationed; he was a Colonel in the Army.
How much do you practice?
Generally during the symphony season I warm up for about 45 minutes, then tackle the folder of the week. Maybe I’ve done 2 hours by the time I get to the rehearsal at night.
Most exciting musical moment: The most exciting musical experience came early in my “career.” It was an All-State experience as a high school student. Howard Hanson came to conduct his “Romantic” Symphony for a festival concert. He was fabulous, as is his music.
What would your career be if you hadn’t chosen to be a musician?
Just about everything, but nothing eventually appealed to me as much as playing an instrument. Architect, geologist, English literature teacher.
Hobbies: Most of my hobbies involve getting out into nature. Hiking, biking, backpacking.
Who is your favorite composer? Must be Beethoven.
Interesting personal fact: I like to fix old cars.