American Masters

Learn about the women who inspired Denis O’Hare growing up

Transcript

Some of the women who have inspired me... My grandmother, my mother and my aunt.

All musicians.

My grandmother, I never knew, she died in 1936 of TB.

My mom was five years old.

But she was a flapper who had an all-girl band in Pennsylvania somewhere, and played the cello and her other girl band members played the coronet and the drum.

I had this great picture growing up of my grandmother and her fellow bandmates doing this crazy flapper gig.

And I thought it was so cool that these women were creating their own work and independent and stylish and artistic.

And then growing up, my mom was a musician.

She was a church organist and and a musician and I just loved her talent and I loved the fact that she could create music.

She taught me to play church organ.

And my aunt growing up was a cellist with the Winnipeg symphony, and her husband was a violinist, and they were sort of my inspiration because they were these Bohemian musician types, and I just loved it.

I read a lot - I read a lot of fiction and non-fiction and there are three women who come to mind - one is fiction and one is non-fiction - Mary Beard, who writes about the Roman Empire, and Virginia Woolf, who is Virginia Woolf, and Barbara Tuchman who is a famous historian who wrote about a lot of things.

But I just sort of love the historical take that Mary Beard, especially, provides with the Roman Empire.

I love the sweep of history that Barbara Tuchman provided when it came to taking so much information and turning it into a compelling narrative, and I love the revolution that Virginia Woolf ushered in with her writing - the kind of psychological point of view and the telescoping of a day in a book like Mrs. Dalloway.


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