Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.
Where were you born? In Lorain, Ohio.
What is your most treasured possession? Do cats count? Oreo and Milkshake would probably take issue with that wording, and debate on exactly who is in possession of whom.
What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? But there are so many great ones! If I had to pick, I’d probably have to say Barbuzzo. The caramel budino is probably the best non-ice cream dessert in the city. For ice cream it has to be Franklin Fountain—the Mt. Vesuvius sundae nourishes not only your sweet tooth but your soul.
Tell us about your instrument. I have two that I play regularly. The smaller one is called a bass tuba, and it’s in the key of F. It’s pitched higher and is more agile, and it’s the one I play for solos. I have a special belt strap that allows me to play it standing up. The bigger one is called a contrabass tuba, and that one is in the key of C. It plays lower notes with a bigger sound and takes even more air to play. This is the one I play in the orchestra most of the time.
What’s in your instrument case? My cases go largely unused since I practice mainly at the Kimmel Center. This is lucky for me, as I know many tuba players with long careers who have ended up with back/neck/shoulder problems just from lugging the instrument around all those years!
If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? My question would be for Antonín Dvořák, regarding the tuba part in “New World” Symphony, which has exactly 14 notes in the entire 45-minute piece, and the question would be: WHY?!!? I would probably also have to shake him a little bit while yelling that.
What piece of music never fails to move you? For me I think this has less to do with the piece than the players. My colleagues are truly inspirational. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful every day to be a part of an ensemble in which everyone plays with so much heart.
When did you join the Orchestra? In August 2006.
Do you play any other instruments? In college I played the carillon, or the bell tower. It’s really fun! It’s less like Quasimodo swinging from ropes, and more like keyboards of broom handles that you hit with your fists and feet. I also dabble in piano and ukulele.
Do you speak any other languages? German, a little bit of French, and even less Spanish. And of course Pig Latin.
Do you have any hobbies? I play ultimate Frisbee—it’s a team sport with a great social community. I also practice yoga, and I love hiking in the mountains when the Orchestra goes to Colorado every summer.
Photo: Christopher Kadish
Read other "Musicians Behind the Scenes" Playbill features.