Ser Konvalin

Horn

Hometown: Longview, TX

Alma maters: University of North Texas, B.M. 2012–16; Manhattan School of Music, M.M. 2017–19

Instagram: @serkonvalin, @mha_quartet

Photos by Matt Dine

Profile

Appearances: Imani Winds Chamber Festival, 2018; Round Top Festival Institute, 2019

What is your earliest memory of classical music? My dad is a music minister, so I grew up singing in my church choir. There was always a wide variety of music playing at home. My last name is Czech, so my dad passed down his love for Dvořák to me.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I have essentially wanted to be a musician of some kind since I was old enough to know what music is. When I picked up the horn in fifth grade, I knew pretty much instantly that I would pursue this for the rest of my life.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? I want to see more diverse audience engagement with orchestra concerts. I love when orchestras play in non-traditional venues. Everyone hopes for more young people at concerts, and I think that performing more new works and old works in fresh ways will help.

Who is your biggest inspiration? It sounds cheesy, but my friends and colleagues inspire me most. I’ve met some incredible musicians and people at school. I’m in a horn quartet with three wildly ambitious, imaginative, caring human beings.

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? I’m a huge Brahms fan, but I’m most inspired by playing new music. I particularly enjoy when I get to make choices as a performer.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Playing the obbligato part of Mahler’s 9th Symphony in The Riverside Church was my most exciting experience thus far.

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: I listen to a lot of non-classical music, so it’s hard to pick just one! St. Vincent’s music is fantastic. She uses a lot of orchestral instruments in a rock way. 

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Bassoon or cello!

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I really enjoy sewing, crafts, and drag, so maybe I would be doing something in fashion.  

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Don’t be afraid to try things out of your comfort zone! Play with different ensembles. Do some improvisation. Try arranging. Play for and with your friends. So many opportunities will come your way, and the more you’ve tried new things, the more comfortable you’ll be.