*Are you happy at the moment?
Life has been immeasurably kind to me. I am so happy that sometimes I wonder if all the good fortune that is allotted to me in life got dumped on me all at once instead of being doled-out a little bit at a time throughout my life, and at some point it’ll run out…
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Pay more attention to your mother, ask her more questions about herself and her parents and learn more from her. My mother died 18 years ago, and now there is no-one to ask questions of…
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Fortitude. My father had a stroke, which all of a sudden put me in charge of his life. I was terrified. I had to do all these things I knew absolutely nothing about. I took it one thing at a time, one step at a time – because there was no other option. I was so nervous about it all, but now I find myself OK with it. I learned that if pressed to it, I can deal. And things are not as bad as they might appear to begin with.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I need to combat procrastination somehow… I want to perform with certain orchestras and ensembles, but that will only happen if I do something about it instead of just THINK about it… Getting my bathroom renovated (no amount of scrubbing can get dirt off of tiles that were installed in 1905…) is also very high on my list.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Treating everything I do as important, even the small stuff. Because it’s the small stuff that is the stuff of life. Big things might or might not happen, but the small everyday stuff does grow into a body of experiences. My husband often says how amazing it is to him that I treat every little gig as if it were as important as a Carnegie Hall concert, giving it my full attention and effort. It’s true – I treat playing for one person the way I would playing for a thousand people in the audience. And time spent gardening in my back yard as important as furthering my career. I cherish every moment, and so without even noticing it, I end up cherishing life.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Taking time off my rushed schedule to sit with my cat on my lap. There is something nourishing about the unconditional love of a warm, furry, purring body who’s sole ambition in life is to be hugged by you.
*What’s your biggest regret?
Not having spent more time with my mother when I could. She was taken away from us too young. The lesson I learned from it is that it’s best not to take things for granted, thinking they will always be there for us.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would teach them that if you want to succeed, then application, diligence, and cheerful persistence is the way to go.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Procrastination…I have huge to-do piles on my desk, full of wonderful leads and ideas. I wish I found it in me to set to it…
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud of my body of work. I am proud that I was always a leader and not a follower, taking initiatives to bring my vision to life. For example, when I just started out on my music career, instead of waiting for auditions to come up, I went to the local bank and the local post-office and offered their managers that I could entertain the customers standing on line with my music. Instead of waiting for opportunities – I created them. As the saying goes, “you got to help the miracle.”
*When were you happiest?
I was happiest when I was a child because I knew no responsibilities and loss yet. It was a pure kind of happiness. Today my happiness is more mature and therefore stronger and more lasting because I’ve learned to be happy despite dealing with misfortunes & trials.
*What ten words best describe you?
This might be a question that should be posed to people who know me and not to me… But here is my perspective:
Smiley, Daring, Friendly, Competitive, Conciliating, Sentimental, Tolerant, Vivacious, Optimistic, Animal lover
Affectionately known as the ‘Saw Lady‘, Natalia has spent over a decade bringing the rare art form of playing music on a carpenter’s saw to audiences around the world. She performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta, with the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Air Moroccan Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Orchestra, Amor Artis Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with PDQ Bach composer Peter Schickele and with the Little Orchestra Society. November 2007 marked her Carnegie Hall debut as a musical saw soloist and June 2008 marked her Madison Square Garden debut.
Television appearances include FOX (Good Day New York), ABC (Good Morning America), NBC (New York Live), MTV (Andy Milonakis Show), VH1 (Behind the Music), History Channel (Tool Box).
Film appearances include ‘Dummy’ with Adrian Brody and ‘The Heart is a Drum Machine’. Natalia’s saw can be heard on the soundtracks of films such as Another Earth, El Carnaval Sodoma, American Carny, and I Sell the Dead.