Chicago Philharmonic Violist Benton Wedge

Benton WedgeQ. What inspired you to pursue music as a career?

A. Growing up in Kansas, my family always had music as a natural part of our lives: church choir, piano in the living room, school orchestra, and fun informal concerts when we would visit Grandparents- the highlight, of course, would be Grandpa belting out some favorites while playing his ukelele. But, I never really thought that much about music as a career choice until I came to Northwestern University as a double major in viola and physics. I assumed at first that I would pursue engineering or physics as a career. But, my music teachers were very inspiring and I started to encounter professional musicians doing what they loved and making a living at it- and it seemed like a lot more fun than physics! So I gave it a go.

Q. What do you like most about the CPO’s ensemble approach to creating music?
A. I think that the increasing focus on chamber music is a good way to develop a rapport with audiences and a closer musical bond with each other, and can do a lot to enhance our symphonic programs.

Q. What new endeavors would you like to see the CPO pursue in the future?
A. Continuing audience outreach. I am especially interested in reaching the 20 and 30 somethings out there that would love the music that we play- but who just don’t know it yet. This, along with educational efforts for school kids.

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