Malvern resident Martha Koeneman, the longest-tenured member of the Pennsylvania Ballet, is celebrating 45 seasons as its pianist, writes Jan Carabeo for CBS Philly.
“I remember saying to a friend, I remember distinctly saying, I hope I get to play for them someday,” said Koeneman. “Here it is, 45 years later, I never left.”
Her journey to becoming principal pianist has been a long one. After graduating from Temple, Koeneman joined the ballet company as a fill-in. At first, she found the position daunting, and would go home crying every night for a month. The main issue was the communication gap.
“I knew virtually nothing,” she said. “I knew plié. And that was about it. I’m not trained as a dancer, so we had to learn each other’s language.”
Koeneman soon learned both the terms and choreographies, and eventually turned the opportunity into a full-time position.
Now, after more than four decades, Koeneman still feels that her job is not work. She credits both the dancers and the artist director, Angel Corella, for that.
“It’s very fulfilling,” she said. “It never occurred to me to choose anything else.”