THE FACTS: Born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music. At the Philharmonic: Joined September 2013.
HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THE CELLO? At age five I was given the choice of violin or cello: my older brother, Peter, played violin and we could go to lessons at the same place and time. I chose cello because it was different and because, as a five-year-old, sitting down to play my instrument was important to me. Peter is now assistant concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. My little sister, Allison, is studying piano performance.
FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: Starting around age eight I listened over and over to Leonard Rose’s recording of Lalo’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and Rostropovich’s recording of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. When I practiced, I imagined what I could do to sound like that, and as I got older I noticed moments when I sounded like a professional.
MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES: My childhood teacher, Susan Moses, pushed me to constantly grow as a cellist and gave me a deep love for music. My teacher at Curtis, Peter Wiley, taught me how to be a real musician rather than just a talented cellist: I learned how to communicate emotions through my technique so that what came through was the music itself, not just my cello playing.
MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: I fell in love with Mendelssohn when I was young, and I still think his music is unbelievable. I listen to his string quartets on loop; his symphonies have so much beauty and passion.
YOU JOINED THE PHILHARMONIC AT AGE 23, BECOMING ITS YOUNGEST MEMBER (A DISTINCTION YOU HOLD TO THIS DAY), RIGHT AFTER GRADUATING FROM CURTIS: From the very beginning I’ve been accepted and made a part of the Orchestra. Every day I try to learn what it means to be a musician of the highest caliber from my colleagues and our guest conductors and soloists.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE PHILHARMONIC: The Verdi Requiem with Music Director Alan Gilbert was awesome and amazing, and Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with Manfred Honeck was powerful.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? I’m a runner, I love to read, and through my church I volunteer with Operation Exodus, a mentoring program in Washington Heights. On Saturday mornings I work with fourth and fifth-grade boys: we do activities, and I recently did a presentation on being a musician. (“To be a musician you have to practice.”)
As of November 2015