1. What is the most memorable part of your career?
I have many memorable parts in my career and am grateful for having them all as part of my experiences all helping me and continue to help me grow. I will never forget my first rehearsal with the Philadelphia Orchestra and being blown away by my colleagues on stage.
2. What inspired you to start playing the bassoon?
I used to play guitar and was a lead singer in a rock band when I was in my early teens, and then I heard the bassoon on the radio and instantaneously fell in love with its sound. I wanted to play it immediately and took it up when I was 13. My parents were ecstatic but I think mostly because they didn’t have to hear my loud electric guitar and loud singing anymore.
3. Are there other composers/artists you feel a special affinity for and whose music you like to play and record? Who are they?
That’s a tough question. When people ask me “who is my favorite composer,” I honestly have to say it is usually whatever we are performing that week. One moment I am convinced it is Mozart. Then the next week I think that Brahms is the best. And then no one comes close to Bruckner….and then it’s Mahler. And it becomes a cycle.
4. What is your favorite non-music-related thing to do?
I love spending time with my kids. I also like kicking back with friends and I am also a big sports fan.
5. What is your favorite movie?
Dead Poets Society. I love that we must seize the day and that there really is no text book method to poetry and art.
6. What advice do you have for young, aspiring musicians?
If you practice all the time and master your instrument then call yourself a great instrumentalist…a great pianist, a great violinist, a great bassoonist, a great cellist, etc.
And if you learn how to phrase musically, and understand the musical structure and grammar of music and so forth, you call yourself a musician.
But until that person out there listening gets some kind of goose bumps one way or the other, through joy or sorrow or what have you, then don’t call yourself an artist.
We have the power to move people and this should be the goal and not how many fast notes could we play per square inch or square measure.
Also, never forget that we are all students for life. I am constantly learning still and no matter what you do, the learning and growing will never stop, and whether you are 8, 18 or age 88, we are students for life.