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WCA #293 with Heidi Trefethen – Live Sound, Recording, French Horn, Struggles with The Mormon Church, Session Mindset, Sexism and Learning to Evolve

Heidi Trefethen is a French Hornist, multi-instrumentalist, educator, and sought-after sound engineer, Heidi Trefethen shuttles back and forth across continents frequently, in roles both onstage and off. As a hornist, she has performed in numerous ensembles and venues in Italy, the UK, Bosnia, Thailand, Guatemala, Israel Turkey, and the US, including the LA Philharmonic, the JazzUp Festival in Italy, Cleveland’s Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and SFJAZZ’s Miner Hall.

As a live sound engineer, she has worked with the likes of Shawn Colvin, Meshell N’degeocello, Odetta, Ellis Paul, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Holly Near, John Stewart of the Kingston Trio, Dar Williams, Al Stewart, Jane Siberry and Lucy Kaplansky, often at the legendary Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA. Heidi can be often seen behind the sound boards at SFJAZZ where she was recently recruited as a FOH and A2 engineer. 

As a recording engineer, she studied at the California Recording Institute’s intensive sound engineering program. An internship at the historic Coast Recorders and a job at Rocket Lab mastering house had her working side-by-side with technical heavyweights John Cuniberti, Dan Alexander and Michael Romanowski. Heidi’s engineering credits include Tammy Hall’s “Blue Soul,” Jessica Jones and Mark Taylor’s “Live at the Freight” 2011, Lucy Kaplansky’s “Kaplansky Sings Kaplanksy,” 2000, Michael Burles’ currently “Untitled Recording” 2017, Nestler and Hawtin’s “Duality” 2014, co-engineered with Bryan Bell, Herbie Hancock’s first engineer, and full production of Anne Rainwater’s solo piano recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • SF Jazz
  • French Horn
  • Freight & Salvage
  • Teaching
  • Learning to Evolve
  • Mentoring
  • Women’s Audio Mission
  • Covid’s Effect
  • The Audio Pro Advantage
  • The Importance of Recording & Music
  • Overdubbing at a Young Age
  • Education
  • Open Mic Nights
  • Live Sounds
  • Producing
  • Session Mindset
  • Communication Style
  • Struggles w/The Mormon Church
  • Empathy
  • Women in Audio
  • Sexism
  • Bay Area
  • Speaking Italian
  • Making a Living
  • Not Working for Free

Links and Show Notes:


  • Guest: Heidi Trefethen
  • Host: Matt Boudreau 
  • WCA Theme Music: Cliff Truesdell 
  • Announcer: Chuck Smith
  • Editing: Anne-Marie Pleau & Matt Boudreau
  • Additional Music: The License Lab