Hidden from small

Richard Harlow - Behind the Scenes

April 01, 2019

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 Detroit, but I grew up in Dearborn.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Brahms’s Third Symphony.

What is your most treasured possession? My family, and my Orchestra family.

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Famous Dave’s in Cherry Hill.

Tell us about your instrument. I play on a modern cello, slightly oversized, beautifully and specially made for me by John Burdette in 1981.

What’s in your instrument case? Rosin, strings, extra bow, spare bridge, endpin stop, and the Serenity Prayer.

If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? Mr. Mozart, would you please write us a cello concerto, or maybe just a sonata? Please?

What piece of music never fails to move you? Mozart’s Ave verum corpus.

When did you join the Orchestra? June 1976, one month after I graduated from the University of Michigan.

Do you play any other instruments? I play the harmonica. Some say I don't.

Do you speak any other languages? I used to speak some German. Everyone said I didn't.

What’s your favorite type of food? Spaghetti and lo mein.

What books are on your nightstand? Hard copy or e-reader? When the Music Stopped by my colleague Bob Cafaro; The Assault on Reason by Al Gore; and the ESV Bible, all on e-reader.

Do you follow any blogs? Weather Underground Category 6 on wunderground.com.

Do you have any hobbies? Harmonica (yes, it's a hobby), ham radio (currently inactive), and two African violets.

Do you have a favorite movie? Star Trek Generations, for the lesson it teaches.

Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? Wow, there are so many. How about the unknown symphonies of Dvořák, Sibelius, and even Bruckner.

What’s the last recording you purchased? CD or download? Anner Bylsma playing the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites, on CD.

What’s on your iPod? Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie Earl, Joe Bonamassa, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II—all Blues!

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? The first time in person was in 1973 at the Academy of Music. William Stokking, our former principal cello, played the Bloch Schelomo—Wow.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, of course!

Photo by Jessica Griffin