Celebrate the rich history of the home where The Philadelphia Orchestra first made its sound famous—the glorious “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.”
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? I was born Clarksburg, West Virginia.
What piece of music could you play over and over again? Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.
What is your most treasured possession? My violin.
What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? La Viola.
Tell us about your instrument. It was made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1861, and is a copy of a Guarneri del Gesù. I also have two instruments made by Sergio Peresson.
What’s in your instrument case? My violin, four bows, rosin, some extra strings, and some photos, one in particular of the pianist Martha Argerich, whom I adore and is one of my idols.
If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? I would like to ask Bach why he didn’t write more solo music for the violin.
What piece of music never fails to move you? Anything by Bach and Schubert.
When did you join the Orchestra? 1973.
Do you play any other instruments? Piano, celesta, synthesizer, and accordion, all of which I perform with the Orchestra.
What’s your favorite type of food? Anything that is tasty!
What books are on your nightstand? The Grand Tradition by J.B. Steane and a lot of cookbooks. I like to read cookbooks the way most people read novels. I particularly love the cookbooks by a Philadelphian, Laurie Colwin.
Do you speak any other languages? No unfortunately.
Do you follow any blogs? Slipped Disc, a music news blog.
Do you have any hobbies? Growing orchids. I have two greenhouses with 5000 plants. I also collect music in all forms, 24,000 CDs and still growing.
Do you have a favorite movie? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? There are literally thousands of pieces that I would love to hear or perform. It’s always interesting why some pieces are popular and some are totally forgotten.
What’s the last recording you purchased? Meyerbeer’s opera Robert, the Devil.
What’s on your iPod? I don’t have an iPod.
When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? When I came to Philadelphia to go to school. I’ll never forgot the sound of the double bass section for the first time. I thought, and still do, it was one of the wonders of the modern world.
Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? I still love Carnegie Hall. It has a warmth and glow that is very special.
Photo by Jessica Griffin