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Renee’s Profile

Facts about your family:

My mother is an orchestra director and a violinist in the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and my father is an operations manager and architect at the El Paso Zoo. I am Scotch-Irish, Danish and Mexican American, and I have some great Korean cousins and family. I love my grandmother’s cooking and am an only child. I also really enjoy spending time with my two little cousins in El Paso. They are so smart and beautiful! I had the opportunity to perform the Air Force Hymn for the beautiful funeral service of my loving paternal grandparents at Arlington National Cemetery.

Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?

In the seventh grade I attended the Longhorn Music Camp (Got LMC?) and was amazed by the program, faculty and campus. Ever since then I wanted to come here and have been in love ever since.

What do you want to do when you graduate from the university?

I would love to go to graduate school. Teaching and performing music will always be part of my life, but I also have many other interests, such as photography and writing. Finding a good graduate program is very important, so if I need a little more time to look at different programs, I would be happy to work while I do so.

If you had to choose one thing about yourself to share with the university’s Web audience, what would it be?

I have been fortunate enough to travel and perform in Portugal and Spain. This is an experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I met and performed with amazing musicians from all over the world and I have learned so much as a person from these experiences. I hope that you have a chance to study abroad during your academic career. It will change your life!

Who are your heroes?

Christ, Pope John Paul ll, my parents, Elie Wiesel, Atticus Finch, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Marie Curie and many more.

If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?


What are your current favorite books? What books would you recommend to someone you just met?

My current favorite books are “The Alchemist,” “Sacred Rage” and “How Full is Your Bucket.” I would recommend those as well as “Alex: The Life of a Child” and “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.”

What pushes your buttons? What are your pet peeves?

Incomplete orders, technology gone wrong.

What are your favorite Web sites? Why?

  • The Raymond E. Gilliland site is dedicated to my grandfather, who flew more than 300 hundred missions over the Himalayas during WWll.
  • World Public Opinion
  • YouTube
  • CNN
    • I can twist my arm around
    • I went to the same elementary as Sam Donaldson
    • I used to play electric bass in a jazz band
    • I soloed with the El Paso Symphony when I was 15
    • I made All-State for three years
    • I have soloed in Las Vegas, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Portugal and Spain
    • I testified before a Senate Subcommittee concerning the Top 10 Percent Rule
    • I have never been to a football game in my life, but I promise I will try to go to one before this school year is over
    • I took Kenpo Karate Self-Defense Classes (so don’t mess with me)
    • Since being here I have taken pictures with General Richard Meyers, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Renee Fleming, Dominique Dawes, John Corigliano, George Crumb and Carol Burnett
    • Some of my favorite moments at UT included seeing the “Lion King,” the Dalai Lama, Aretha Franklin (and getting her autograph), Alicia Keys and Little Richard and…

    • I have traveled on a private jet from UT to recruit students from my high school to come to here. It was an amazing experience that I am very thankful for!
  • I think it is important to see what the world is up to.

    What are your favorite foods?

    I like almost any type of food and have a weakness for sweets. My favorite foods include crab, hake, pasta, tortilla Espanol, cheese enchiladas and ribs.

    What music are you listening to?

    Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Brahms, Sibelius, Puccini and Ravel.

    What are your all-time favorite movies? Why?

    I happen to be a movie fanatic, especially of the older genre. However, my all-time favorite movies include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” “The Kid,” “Inherit the Wind,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Marcelino Pan y Vino,” “The Road Home,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Awakenings,” “The Mission,” “Crash,” “Joyeux Noel,” “The Prize Winner” and “12 Angry Men.” All of these movies have touched me in some way, either made me laugh so hard I cried or moved me to think more about the power of the human spirit.

    Who are your favorite artists?

    Music: Pavarotti, Renee Fleming, Oistrakh, Miro Quartet.

    Art: Peter Paul Rubens, Joachim Patinir, Bosch, Michelangelo, da Vinci.

    What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?

    I enjoy conducting, performing viola, violin or other instruments, reading, writing and photography.

    What’s your favorite spot on campus?

    I like to watch the sun set behind the tower from the ledge outside of the main entrance of the LBJ Library.

    Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?

    The Paramount, The Alamo Drafthouse, dessert at The Driscoll, late nights at Kirbey Lane, salsa dancing!

    What are your favorite free-time activities?

    Austin Lyric Opera and Symphony, Tejas Speaker Coffees, UT Gigglepants Comedy Improv Shows, Vulcan Video, Miro Quartet concerts, Fine Arts Council, getting to know people and spending time with my other half and friends.

    Other interesting facts about you:

    Hmm…interesting facts:

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September 18, 2008 | | Comments are closed for this post
photo of Renee