THE FACTS: Born in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Bachelor of music from The Curtis Institute of
Music. Prior to the Philharmonic: principal
bass of the Grand Rapids Symphony, fellow
with the New World Symphony, substitute
with The Philadelphia Orchestra. At the
Philharmonic: Joined September 2012.
EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: I had a strong
aversion to attending my older sisters’ violin
recitals and needed a concert survival kit,
complete with Game Boy and coloring books.
I didn’t fall in love with music until later.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO PURSUE MUSIC? Growing up I played piano,
violin, oboe, tuba, guitar, and bass guitar. I
began bass at age 10, and at 13 I went to the
Golden Gate Bass Camp, where the legendary
jazz bassist Ray Brown was scheduled to perform.
Two days before that date, he passed
away — it was a huge loss for music. David
Murray played Bottesini’s Reverie in his
memory. I remember thinking: this is such
a powerful venue for expression! The next
day I started practicing as hard as I could. By
age 16 I was hungry for an intense musical
environment. I learned of Walnut Hill, an arts
boarding school in Boston, and went through
the process of applying without telling my
parents. When I asked for permission to
attend they said no, but, fortunately, they
FIRST PIECE YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: Rachmaninoff’s
Second Symphony, with all its
memorable themes. I played it in the Iowa
All-State Orchestra, which was also my first
orchestral performance experience. Also
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Bach’s First
Cello Suite — every cellist plays it differently,
and I buy new recordings whenever they
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE PHILHARMONIC: Emanuel Ax’s encore on the
EUROPE / SPRING 2013 tour: he’s one of my
favorite musicians — truly inspiring.
WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? Hal Robinson and Edgar Meyer,
my teachers at Curtis. They inspired me to
take my playing to the next level. I listened to
Edgar’s CDs constantly from age 14 — he was
MOST INSPIRING COMPOSERS: The holy trinity
of Bs: Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? I love
teaching: it makes me more introspective
about my own playing. I also swim, am a
coffee enthusiast, and love reading the Jack
Reacher series by Lee Child, Time,National
Geographic, and Scientific American.
WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? My first teacher told me to be a
sponge. I ask my colleagues in the Orchestra
questions every day.
As of May 2015