National Symphony Orchestra: Jesús López-Cobos, conductor: Thursday - Camané & Carminho, fado (Portugal) / Fri. & Sat. - Juanita Lascarro, soprano (Colombia) & Javier Perianes, piano (Spain)
Fantasy & Fate: Tchaikovsky Masterworks: Lang Lang in recital (presented by the National Symphony Orchestra)
National Symphony Orchestra: Christoph Eschenbach, conductor: Four French Composers Inspired by Spain
National Symphony Orchestra: Christoph Eschenbach, conductor: Mahler's Symphony No. 9
Eastman School of Music (2003) and Curtis Institute of Music (2007). Before conservatory I attended the Peabody Preparatory (2000).
2. What is your favorite piece (or pieces) to play in the orchestra?
The NSO performs such a variety of fantastic repertoire; whatever program we are preparing is a pleasure to play. Mozart is one of my favorite composers, but wrote little for trombones. However, it's always exciting to perform his Requiem, which features a uniquely prominent solo for the second trombonist.
3. Do you have a pre-concert ritual or routine?
I always try to take a good meal before a concert. Stomach rumbles are a distraction during focused performance! In my locker backstage, I keep a few protein bars in case I'm running late and haven't had a chance to eat.
4. Describe your favorite NSO moment:
The NSO, particularly coming from the nation's capital, is an ambassador of culture and peace when we perform overseas. I was reminded of this when we performed Brahms' Second Symphony in Nürnberg on the 2013 European Tour. In a box near the stage was an elderly couple, and I remember seeing them beaming when we reached the second theme of the Finale. Certainly in their lifetime, they had been through a lot. But for them, there was no troubled past or uncertain future; only the joy of being in the moment. I felt a true sense of purpose and pride, that I was part of a brilliant ensemble that could reach deep into people's emotions and allow them to experience the inexplicable power of music.
5. What are three songs or pieces you love to listen to?
Stravinsky Le Sacre du printemps and Ravel Daphnis et Chloé are two of my favorites. Few works can match their orchestration and evocative power. I'm especially excited that both pieces are programmed in the 2014-15 season! I often revisit the four symphonies of Schumann; they are under-appreciated works but they have always spoken to me. Most recently, I have begun to study works of Beethoven in greater detail.
6. Did you grow up in a musical household?
I am the only person in my family to pursue music for a career. Many of them studied music in some capacity, and they all have great respect, appreciation, and support for the art.
7. What did you want to be growing up?
I began piano when I was five years old and never looked back. From my first lessons, I knew I had found my calling in music. It is a true blessing to spend each day doing my passion, and having the opportunity to share this with my colleagues and the audience.
8. What is your favorite thing about living in the DC area?
It is exciting to live in a place where modern history is made every day. The District hums with a vibrancy and sophistication that no other place can match.
9. Where is your favorite DC hangout?
I never turn down a chance to go to Biergarten Haus on H St NE for delicious German food and beer. I also enjoy Baked and Wired in Georgetown. They have a great coffees and the best cupcakes in DC!
10. Do you have any pets?
I have two cats, Flughafen and Maverick.
11. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I don't like to be idle, so I load up my free time with many things. Often I study upcoming repertoire and other orchestral works that interest me. I also spend time learning German and am enrolled in language courses at the Goethe-Institut Washington. On free evenings, I like to attend other concerts at the Kennedy Center or around the DC area. I feel that my musical pursuits are ongoing and absorbing each experience enhances my overall musicianship. In turn, I try to bring the new ideas into my own playing and into my participation with the NSO.
For sport I enjoy swimming, biking, and hiking. I also have a hobby of railroading, and recently had an opportunity to operate a steam locomotive in Portland, Maine. It was the fulfillment of a childhood dream!