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Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be rededicated as Marian Anderson Hall, home of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Christian Gray

Musicians Behind the Scenes: Christian Gray

Posted by:  The Philadelphia Orchestra on February 01, 2023

Where were you born? I was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Verdi’s La traviata.

What is your most treasured possession? Besides my dog and bass, sheet music and recordings of lessons and masterclasses I’ve collected since college. 

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Kei Sushi on South Street.

Tell us about your instrument. It’s an 1830 double bass made in New Hampshire by Abraham Prescott. I bought it from my graduate school teacher when I won my first orchestra job. It has an extremely dark varnish and extremely dark earthy tone to match. 

What’s in your instrument case? Different kinds of rosin for my bow, rags and scrubs to keep my bass clean, a tuner, mute, and a box of pencils. 

If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? I would ask Joseph Haydn where he hid his bass concerto. 

What piece of music never fails to move you? Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

When did you join the Orchestra? July 2022.

Do you play any other instruments? I started on piano and violin but can’t play them at all anymore. I still play bass guitar for fun from time to time. 

What’s your favorite type of food? Honduran breakfast foods.

What books are on your nightstand? Hard copy or e-reader? Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, as well as PracticeMind: The Complete Practice Model by Hans Jorgen Jensen. I’ve never e-read in my life. 

Do you speak any other languages? I can speak a little bit of Spanish. My whole family, however, is trilingual with English, Spanish, and Miskito, a native language of La Mosquitia region in Honduras. They moved to the states shortly after I was born. 

Do you follow any blogs? I follow many cooking Youtubers, as well as stand-up comedy podcasts.

Do you have any hobbies? I love cooking Italian and Latin food! I also enjoy long city walks with my wife and dog. 

Do you have a favorite movie? Any good comedy.

Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? I wish the works of Alfred Schnittke were performed more, as well as works by Erwin Schulhoff.

What’s the last recording you purchased? CD or download? My last physical purchase was a 1979 vinyl of The Philadelphia Orchestra playing Beethoven 7 with Riccardo Muti. I found it in a record shop in Edinburgh on tour. 

What’s on your iPod? A blend of Classical, rock, R&B, and hip hop. 

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? In 2017 when they played Stravinsky’s Petrushka at the Kennedy Center. I was blown away by the sound of the strings!

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? I love the Maison Symphonique in Montreal and Boston’s Symphony Hall.

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