Janet Horvath

Janet Horvath, the Minnesota Orchestra’s associate principal cello from 1980 to 2012, is a lifelong performing classical musician, soloist, and speaker. She has appeared as soloist with orchestra and has performed in recital and chamber music throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. “Ms. Horvath’s outgoing musical personality and passionate intensity flavors every aspect of her musicianship, and draws from her instrument a tone, which has the texture and feeling of rich golden honey…”


She earned her master’s degree in music performance from Indiana University. Since leaving the orchestra, Janet has focused on her writing and in November of 2017, she completed her MFA

in creative writing from Hamline University, Saint Paul, MN. Horvath is the author of Playing (less) Hurt—An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians published by Amadeus Press (Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group) and is considered a pioneer and authority in the area of the medical problems of performing artists. Initially self-published, her book won a gold medal at the 2009 IPPY awards and is still in print.

Recent essays include A Musician Afraid of Sound published in The Atlantic, October 2015, and Sound of the Cello, published June 2017 in the Minnesota Orchestra’s monthly program book and online. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (December 2015 and 2011) and in national and international music publications, including Musical America, Chamber Music America, Strings Magazine, The Brass Herald and Strad Magazine among others. A contributing writer for the online classical music e-magazine Interlude.HK, she has written over 260 feature articles about music and musicians. [click here to read some of them.]

After more than thirty years as a performer, and as an arts and injury prevention advocate, Janet is well-known among both amateur and professional musicians, teachers and students, and health care providers. Her seminars have been well received by orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Utah Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Boston Symphony Orchestra, and at colleges, conservatories, and conferences from coast to coast. Her appearances on national radio and television include Terry Gross’ Fresh Air on NPR, The Woman’s Connection [watch video] and Athletes and the Arts [click here to watch this and more videos].

As a child of Holocaust survivors, Janet was haunted by the eerie hush surrounding her parents’ experiences. Music, a constant mollifying presence, offset the disquiet of her childhood. After decades of secrets, Janet was able to unearth the mysteries of her parents’ deeply hidden traumas, and since then, the burdens and responsibilities of her heritage have shaped her life.

Through writing and musical performances, she creates restorative conversations, offers spiritual sustenance, and explores music’s life-bringing and healing power like her father did before her. In the age of fast-moving news, despite our best efforts, uncertainty and divisiveness prevail. Janet hopes to counteract the consequences of intolerance, and with her new book in progress The Cello Still Sings — A Generational Story of the Holocaust she endeavors to stimulate dialogue about inequality and the ramifications of intolerance, especially now that the Holocaust generation is almost gone.  

Active on social media with 8,400 Twitter followers, Janet continues to work with local Holocaust Survivors and Children of Holocaust Survivors, and a Peace and Social Justice Writers Group. Janet has consulted extensively with archivists at the United States Holocaust Museum and at Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel.

In concert with her memoir she has created a 30-minute multi-media, anti-racism, performance piece, in which she tells her parents’ story in verse, while 180 personal and archival photos are projected in a PowerPoint. At key moments, she plays her cello. The hope is that the power of art will stimulate creative conversations between diverse groups.