Violet Bretz

Violet Bretz studied cello with PCM Artist-Teacher Andrew Cook from 2018 to 2020 and also studied chamber music at PCM. She recently joined the PCM administrative team as the Development and Marketing Intern, funded by the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program. Below she shares about her experience as a cello student at PCM, as well as what she’s been up to since graduating in 2020.

Young woman smiling at the camera

I started playing cello when I was eight years old, which is relatively late for a classical string musician, but I remember falling in love with it pretty much immediately. I have been involved in a lot of musical activities throughout my life, including choir and musical theater, but being a cellist has been my favorite since the beginning. I studied cello at PCM from 2018 to 2020 with Andrew Cook. Studying with Mr. Cook at PCM was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. My love of classical music grew so much here when I really started to take my instrument seriously and get the opportunity to play chamber music with other extremely talented students. However, when the pandemic hit and I graduated high school, I admittedly lost touch with my musicianship for a while.

I entered UCLA in fall 2020 as an Environmental Science major, completely unsure of what I wanted to do. In high school, although I always loved playing music and performing, I never wanted to be a musician as my career. When everything went online, although I was able to continue studying music, I stopped playing cello very often and obviously chose a major that had nothing to do with music. My college was also completely online for my entire freshman year, which didn’t make it any easier to get involved with music or with anything at all in school. I knew I wasn’t completely happy with what I was studying, but I didn’t change my path or realize what I really wanted until my sophomore year began.

I now study Cognitive Science at UCLA, double minoring in Musicology and Music Industry. When everything went back to in person in fall of 2021, I realized how many musical opportunities there were at my school and how much I really missed it. I wanted to study Musicology and Music Industry, but didn’t know what major I felt would work well with that. After taking Music Industry classes and learning more about the industry, I realized that I am very interested in helping and working with musicians. Within my major at school, I learn a lot about psychology and data science, which are both applicable to marketing and learning how to use data to connect with people. I am also looking forward to taking classes on how music works in the brain, and possibly getting involved with neuroscience research that has to do with music.

I applied to the Development & Marketing Internship because I would not be the person I am today without my musical background and the community I found at PCM. I want to give back to that community and help the conservatory grow and keep providing such amazing education to young musicians, while learning skills in Communication and Marketing. I don’t know whether after college I would like to be working in the arts or the popular music industry, but I am excited to work with PCM and help young people develop a passion for music, because that passion stays with you your entire life!