THE FACTS: Born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Graduate of The Juilliard School. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1986 while still at Juilliard. Named Associate Principal in 1991; solo debut in 1999 in the World Premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths, commissioned for her and Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps
EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: Attending a Bernstein Young People’s Concert (YPC) at age two and a half, straining to see around TV cameras that were taping the show. I used to roll up the programs, put one under my chin, and use the other as a bow. Not only did I always know I would be a musician — except for a short flirtation with the idea of medical school — I always knew I would be in the New York Philharmonic.
WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? I learned technique on violin, but became aware of the “heart and soul” of music as a violist at Tanglewood from coaches and fellow students. I also learned a great deal about music as poetry, not just notes, from conductors including Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Masur.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT HOSTING THE VERY YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS? I get to juggle, sing, tap dance, and ride around on a scooter. Like the audience, I’m a 3 to 6-year-old at heart, so I can identify with the kids. My approach is less to educate than to entertain and get them to love the music so much that they want to come back and, hopefully, become our future audience.
WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY AS ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL? The serious answer is that I lead the section and play any solos when the principal is not there. However, my personal goal is to try to get Cynthia Phelps to laugh as often as possible. (Yes, even when we’re playing. Don’t tell the maestro!) We’re good colleagues, but even better friends.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Sweeney Todd, My Fair Lady … anything Broadway. In my next life I’ll be on Broadway and have my own dressing room with my name on a star on the door!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO READ? Anything by David McCullough, and the classics
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? The advice I give myself is to gather those rosebuds.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Most of the time I have outside of work is spent with my 13-year-old daughter (my youngest and the only child still living at home). We love to hike with our two black labs, cook, bake, quilt, garden, dance, and laugh. We laugh a lot!
As of April 2017