Arlene grew up in a musical family. She began piano lessons at the age of five and a few years later, while her family lived in India, began cello lessons. After high school, attracted by the challenges of becoming a doctor, she began pre- medical studies, majoring in zoology and genetics. However, a chance meeting with the renowned Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, prompted her to renew her musical studies. She graduated with honours from the University of Western Ontario and was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music School for five summers. Her primary teachers included Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Ron Leonard and Robert Gardner. She also performed in masterclasses by Zara Nelsova, Janos Starker and Lynn Harrell.
First, as principal cellist with the Saskatoon Symphony, and later, as a section cellist in the WSO, Arlene has toured the Canadian Prairie provinces in chamber ensembles and performed as soloist with the Saskatoon Symphony and the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra. She was a finalist in the Canadian Music Festival Competition and has been the recipient of several awards for musical distinction.