Q. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
A. My father was a public school orchestra director and a bassist with the Portland Opera Orchestra. Dad started me early (age 4) on cello and later had me switch to bass but he consistently tried to dissuade me from pursuing a career in music. I had planned on going to college to become a Mechanical Engineer, but then the summer after I graduated High School I went to the Aspen Music Festival and there I studied bass with one of my dad’s teachers, Stuart Sankey. That fall I bought a better bass with my college money, and the following year I began my studies as a double bass performance major at the University of Michigan where Mr. Sankey taught. I had toyed with the idea of double majoring in music and engineering, but quickly realized I would not do both well. My dad did support me wholeheartedly once I decided to go for it, and he always did and continues to give me good advice about what to do next.
Q. What do you like about the Chicago Philharmonic’s ensemble approach in creating music?
A. I perform primarily Operas (with the Lyric Opera of Chicago), and primarily less familiar symphonic works (with the Grant Park Orchestra). It is wonderful for me to get to perform more standard repertoire- the ‘warhorses’ as they are negatively labeled by members of orchestras where performances of such pieces are routine. Chicago Philharmonic performances are an outlet for me to enjoy playing the pieces I have studied for years, but rarely get to perform. These pieces are usually among the best music ever written, and deserve the freshness and love that Philharmonic members bring to them.
Q. What new endeavors would you like to see the Chicago Philharmonic pursue in the future?
A. I would love to see more collaboration with visual artists (architects, photographers, painters, filmmakers, etc…) or Poets and Authors. I think there are many innovative ways of combining performing arts with those more permanent art forms that could be really meaningful.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. The Triple Agent: The Al-Qaeda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA by Joby Warrick;
Power, Faith, and Fantasy-America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present by Michael B. Oren; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (reading with my three boys…”Hebrews” (…in the Bible)
Q. What favorite music are you listening to?
A. My favorite recording is out of print…”Il Prete Rosso” (The Red Priest) by Il Girdino Armonico. I also enjoy the some music of John Ondrasik. I love the song “Blessings” by Laura Story. I am finding Astor Piazzolla’s music interesting. And I love anything by Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, or The Beatles. My 8-year old son is trying to get me hooked on dub-step.
Q. What do you like to do as a hobby?
A. I rebuild destroyed basses, wield arbors and trellises out of re-bar, and garden in our small yard. Also hiking, hunting and fishing whenever possible- usually on our annual trip to visit family in the northwest.