National Symphony Orchestra: Helmuth Rilling, conductor: All-J.S. Bach Program including the Concerto for Oboe, Violin, and Orchestra
NSO Pops: Happy Holidays! with Cirque de la Symphonie / Steven Reineke, conductor
National Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah
The Kennedy Center Chamber Players: Works by Bartók, Ravel, Bowen, & Arensky
Eastman School of Music (2003) and Curtis Institute of Music (2007).
2. What is your favorite piece (or pieces) to play in the orchestra?
The NSO performs such a variety of fantastic repertoire, so 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:
Brahms Second Symphony in Nürnberg on the 2013 European Tour. There was an elderly couple sitting in a box near the stage, and I vividly remember seeing them beaming when we reached the second theme of the Finale. 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 wonderful 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 often revisit the four symphonies of Schumann; they are greatly under-appreciated works but they have always spoken to me.
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 certainly have a great respect and appreciation 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. I knew I had found my calling from my first lessons. 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?
My favorite DC hangout was once my old home, a wonderful houseboat in Southwest DC. The tranquility of relaxing aboard, watching the sunset, was truly therapeutic. Now that I'm once again "on the hard," my next favorite spot is Baked and Wired -- It's a great place for a quick espresso and also to indulge the occasional need for the best cupcake 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. If the evening is free I 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.
To relax, I enjoy being outdoors doing hiking, biking, and kayaking. I also have a hobby of railroading. Sitting near the tracks and watching trains come by is a perfect foil to a usually hectic day!