1. What university or conservatory did you attend?
The Juilliard School of Music, received a Master of Music degree
2. What is your favorite piece (or pieces) to play in the orchestra?
My favorite works to play in orchestra include Britten's War Requiem, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, Bruckner's "Romantic" Symphony, Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, Shostakovich Symphony No. 8, Debussy La Mer, Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, Stravinsky Petrouchka, Copland Symphony No. 3, Bernstein's West Side Story Dances, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, Brahms Symphony No. 1, Strauss Death and Transfiguration, Beethoven Symphony No. 6, Hanson "Romantic" symphony and Hindemith's Mathis der Maler.
3. Do you have a pre-concert ritual or routine?
Eat light and get to the hall early to warm up.
4. Describe your favorite NSO moment:
My favorite moment was Rostropovich's return to Russia with the NSO in February of 1990. The press coverage and people who swarmed us, seemingly at all times, were not to be believed.
5. What are three songs or pieces you love to listen to?
I like to listen to a variety of music outside the symphonic world when not working. It really depends upon my mood at the moment.
6. Did you grow up in a musical household?
Mother was and is currently a professional pianist who studied at the Eastman School and then with Marguerite Long in Paris. She gave her NY debut recital in Alice Tully Hall when I was 13. For a time my father was a composer and studied with Arthur Honegger in Paris. He also played the oboe in school. My father took me to all of my lessons as a child.
7. What did you want to be growing up?
I don't think I gave this very much thought. I was pretty much in the moment with my music and did not think about future work until I won a job here with the National Symphony in 1984.
a. When did you know you wanted to be a professional classical musician?
Again this was not what I thought about very much. I knew that I enjoyed playing the cello and that I turned to the instrument in times of distress for emotional healing.
8. What is your favorite thing about living in the D.C. area?
I love D.C.'s monuments, beauty in springtime, many fine restaurants and entertainment.
a. Where is your favorite D.C. hangout?
I enjoy visiting with my wonderful neighbors.
9. Do you have any pets?
My hobby is taking care of a large salt-water fish tank. I love its colors and underwater life. Sometimes after concerts I will view the tank in silence to relax.
10. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
I take on various projects from time to time. They are mostly music related and technology oriented. Such as writing a biography on my teacher at Juilliard, Leonard Rose, and creating YouTube videos for educational purposes.
11. Favorite movie:
Amadeus - wonderful portrayal of Mozart and the time in which he lived.
12. Favorite book:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
13. Favorite sports team:
I grew up in Chicago and became a big sports fan early in life. I still root for all Chicago teams.
14. Name one thing people would be surprised to know about you.
I have 3 false front teeth - knocked out of my mouth playing hockey when I was 12. I received a 2-minute tripping penalty on the play.