Appearances: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, substitute; New World Symphony, substitute; Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, substitute; Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, substitute; Richmond (Indiana) Symphony Orchestra, substitute, 2015–17; Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, substitute, 2015–17; Tucson Repertory Orchestra, 2011–12; National Repertory Orchestra, 2018; Colorado College Summer Music Festival Orchestra, 2017; Music Masters Course Festival Orchestra, Japan, 2015; Aspen Festival Orchestra, 2014
When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I realized I wanted to pursue music as a career during one of my summers at Interlochen. At that point, my life was being enriched immensely by what music was bringing to it—mainly the people I was meeting and the level of connection we could share through music, and the impact of everything we were learning to share with our audiences. I remember feeling so happy and lucky to be there and performing, and I decided I never wanted to let go of that passion.
Who is your biggest inspiration? This is not going to be surprising or original, but one of my biggest inspirations is Yo-Yo Ma. Not only for his unbridled musicality and the depth of his genius as a performer, but because of his unending and tireless advocacy for the arts as a means to improve the human condition. He is an ambassador for so many culturally and socially important values, and has a truly special way of bringing people together.
Which composer do you feel like you connect with the most? I connect with Mahler as a composer because of the depth of the emotional spectrum that I believe exists in his music. The journey for musician and listener alike through a Mahler symphony can be exhausting and extremely demanding. I feel like I’ve really gone through something every time I perform or listen to his symphonies—in my opinion, this parallels a lot of life. The struggle allows us to appreciate the moments that are uplifting and “high” just that much more.
Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? Too many. Once in a studio class at Indiana University I was so nervous that I somehow momentarily forgot I was performing with piano and started playing before my pianist had a chance to play the introduction. . . .
Favorite non-classical musician or band: Not too far from the classical wave, but I love Esperanza Spalding and Chris Thile. They are two incredibly imaginative and meaningful artists whose work I really admire.
If you could play another instrument, what would it be? If I could play another instrument it would be piano. I’ve always wanted to be good at the piano. But my challenges with keyboard proficiency in college taught me the hard way that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. I did pass, and I practically framed the certificate from the exam. I had it up on the fridge like a proud parent showing off their kid’s report card for at least two weeks.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I’ve always been interested in marine biology because of my lifelong love for the ocean and all of its inhabitants.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to, and why? Japan is one of my favorite places that I’ve traveled to. Everyone I met was so kind, the cities were clean and efficient, the buildings beautiful and innovative, and as a lover of sushi I was in food heaven the whole trip.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I’m a triplet.
Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Many of us have a lack of nerves and a general sense of fearlessness, confidence, and almost invincibility on stage when we first begin performing. Try to bottle that up and hold on to that sensation or whatever contributes to creating it. It will be very valuable down the road. If you can recreate that later in your career as needed, you won’t get in the way of yourself in auditions or performances, and your ability to share will be much greater.