Appearances: Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, 2018; Palm Beach Symphony, 2018; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, 2015-2017; Hartford Symphony, 2017
What is your earliest memory of classical music? Going to my older brother’s piano lessons when I was really young. He stopped playing by the time I was 10, I think, but I wanted to start playing because of him.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I went to a music camp for the first time after going to an all-boys sports camp for many years. It was the first time I had ever been completely surrounded by musicians, and it really pushed me towards being a professional musician.
What inspired you to audition for TŌN? I heard about TŌN while I was still living in Rochester, right when the program was just starting, so it had been on my radar for a few years before I applied. At the time, I had just finished my Master’s, so I wasn’t quite ready for more school at that point, but I was pretty sure that I’d apply eventually. I was able to get a couple of seasons of playing almost full-time as a substitute with the Rochester Phil under my belt, and that made me feel pretty certain that I wanted to be part of a professional orchestra, so after a year of focusing on my technique with the brilliant Jodi Levitz in Miami, I was ready to take my shot and audition for TŌN. Thankfully it worked out for me, and here I am!
What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? The most important thing we can do is to transform the concert hall into a more casual venue. While etiquette and respect are important parts of our traditions, I think that people should feel more like they are going to see a movie than sitting in a business meeting when they come to an orchestra concert. While there is still a level of expectation for behavior at the movies (don’t talk, turn off your phone, stay seated unless you have a good reason to need to get up, etc.), movie theaters are a place to go and be comfortable and relaxed, and we should aspire to have that in our concerts.
Who is your biggest inspiration? There are so many possible answers, like my parents, teachers, colleagues, etc. But I don’t want to upset any of them by not choosing them so I’ll give a different answer. I think my biggest inspiration is Tom Brady, the quarterback. The man has achieved everything there is to achieve, and has nothing left to prove, but he still works harder than anyone else in all of sports to keep making himself better, even as a 40-year-old 5-time Super Bowl champion. We as musicians can learn a lot from a work ethic like that.
What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? This answer changes pretty often, but right now, I’d have to say Strauss’ Alpine Symphony. He shows an immense love for nature, and it’s hard not to get lost in the adventure with the characters in the tone-poem.
What has been your favorite experience as a musician? I recently got the chance to play Vaughan-Williams’ Phantasy Quintet with four of my closest friends at Miami. It was such a blast, and I couldn’t think of a better way to end my time down there.
Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? Of course. More than I’d care to remember. You’ll have to ask me about them in person, though.
What is some advice you would give to your younger self? I would tell myself to stop taking myself so seriously.
If you could play another instrument, what would it be? French Horn. That’s an easy one for me.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’m really not entirely sure. I’ve been studying and seriously involved in performance for so long that its hard for me to say how it could have gone differently. Before I decided to pursue music, I wanted to be a sports announcer, so I guess I’ll go with that.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? My family took a trip to southeastern Alaska for my Mom’s birthday a couple of years ago, and it was probably the best trip I’ve ever been on. I really love marine life, so I spent most of my time with my brother on deck looking for whales and sea otters, and so many other things. It was so peaceful. I’d love to go and explore the rest of Alaska sometime.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Gustav Mahler, Ted Williams, and Winston Churchill. Not entirely sure why those 3 in particular came into my head, other than the fact that I love and am fascinated by Mahler, and Ted Williams is the greatest player in the history of my favorite sports team. I’m sure it’d be a blast to spend time with such an eclectic group of people. Williams and Churchill were both notoriously difficult to get along with, so I’m not sure Mahler would have as much fun as I would.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I worked as a camp counselor for four summers at New England Music Camp (the same camp I mentioned earlier). It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and is a big part of the person I ended up becoming. The people I worked with are the closest friends that I have.
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: No matter what happens in a given performance, no matter how many mistakes you make, the way you play has nothing to do with your value as a human being. Just work as best as you can, and enjoy what you do, and you will be much happier for it.