Carl Gardner


Hometown: Fresno, CA

Alma maters: Oberlin Conservatory, Yale School of Music

Instagram: @carl_alamode

Twitter: @carlgardnr

Photo by Matt Dine


Awards/Competitions: Winner, 2014 Oberlin Conservatory Solo Competition; 1st Place, 2014 Fresno Philharmonic Young Artist Concerto Competition; Winner, 2010 Fresno Community Concert Band Music Scholarship

Appearances: Grafenegg Academy Orchestra, Austria, 2018; Lucerne Festival Academy, 2015; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, CT, 2015; Aspen Music Festival, CO, 2014; Round Top Music Festival, TX, 2013

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I first remember going to my dad’s performances with the Fresno Philharmonic. I remember drawing a picture of the director, Raymond Harvey, and getting his autograph on my drawing when I went backstage for the first time!

Who is your biggest inspiration? My wife Yurie Mitsuhashi is my greatest inspiration. Her perspective on life, on music, and her work ethic are an example I strive to meet every day.

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? More than most other forms of Western European classical music I enjoy opera. Many of my favorite operas are Italian from the 19th century.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? My favorite piece of music is Phantastische Erscheinungen eines Themas von Hector Berlioz by Walter Braunfels. Whenever I hear the piece it stirs in me something that no other work has. The genius in the work in my opinion even outperforms the piece which Braunfels expanded upon by Berlioz.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Waking up every day to play music with people I love, respect and admire.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? My cell phone once rang during a performance while I was on stage. The whole wind section spent five minutes looking for the source, but it was in my pocket the whole time.

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Slide Whistle

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? My wife, Yurie, because she’s the coolest person I know. Barack Obama, because I would love to meet him. And Bach, because I’m pretty sure Yurie would love meeting him too.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I’m an ordained minister.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Find a reason you want to play music and make it the center of everything you do.