Mary Pshonik
  • Instrument Cellos

Mary Pshonik has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony since 1993 and earned her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Iowa State University. She teaches private lessons and coaches chamber music at the Des Moines Symphony Academy, and freelances in the Des Moines area.

Member of the Orchestra since


Most memorable experience with the Orchestra

After being in the Des Moines Symphony for so long, there are too many memories to choose just one favorite. They range from the musically fulfilling (the Beethoven season, the Mahler symphonies we've played, especially the 6th-what a workout!) to the wacky (dancing with Joe along with some other duos during a New Year's Eve Pops concert!? I almost had a heart attack!) Also, lots of good memories just being a part of a cello section which loves to celebrate anything and everything.

How I got started playing my instrument

Growing up in Marshalltown, Iowa, I took piano lessons and band like all the other kids in elementary school, so when my friends decided to try the cello, I did that too (I came so close to being a violist!) I was 11 years old and had a fantastic public school teacher named Ed Wilcox who treated all us kids like mini-professionals from the get-go. We were really serious and went around feeling constantly guilty for not being able to practice the prescribed 8 hours a day. I went on to study with George Work at Iowa State University. George plays with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra now too, which is a lot of fun!

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

Hot Jazz! I love the Quintette of the Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.