On perfectionism & being a woman of color in classical music

My presentation, "Poems in Practice Rooms," combines flute performance with creative writing to express my journey as a classical musician in college.

In college, I wrestled with these questions: How do I build a relationship with my art form in which imperfection doesn't invalidate my sense of worth and commitment to growth? How do I reconcile my fragmented cultural identity with the Western tradition I perpetuate with my body?

In exploring these questions, "Poems in Practice Rooms" offers a picture of the invisible struggles between a musician and her art when race, power, and identity are involved. 


"profound, sad, uplifting, powerful, & beautiful" ~ Paul Eiss, anthropologist & professor at Carnegie Mellon University

Through a grant from the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, I created a short-film version as part of my senior capstone

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May 2020. A scene from my short-film version of "Poems in Practice Rooms."


"an insightful presentation that reflected her courage,

artistry, & grace."​ ~ Monique Mead, violinist


I have performed "Poems in Practice Rooms" live for the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning and Chamber Music Pittsburgh at Carnegie Music Hall. If you are interested in hosting a performance at your school/organization, please contact me at theresa.s.abalos@gmail.com.


From this project, I developed & taught an online workshop on creative expression as a guest artist for Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra.

"It helped me realize the connection between music & stories"

~ workshop participant at Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra