THE FACTS: Born in San Francisco, California. Attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and The Curtis Institute of Music, studying with Jaime Laredo and Ivan Galamian. Prior to the Philharmonic: was a founding member of the Ridge String Quartet. Notable recording:Dvořák Piano Quintets with Rudolf Firkušy (Grammy nomination and the Diapason d’Or award) on RCA Red Seal. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1992. Teaches at the Manhattan School of Music.
EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My parents listening to classical music at home. I started piano and violin in grade school — I wanted to play in the school orchestra. I also played the viola, but didn’t do so full-time until I joined the Philharmonic. I continued to play the violin occasionally after joining the Orchestra, but now I really prefer the viola. I enjoy the challenge of playing an inner voice.
WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? I worked for many years with Alexander Schneider and Felix Galimir, each of whom showed me, in his own way, that a musician needs to give something of his human being, and should strive to play with both passion and intelligence.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? In high school. My parents wanted me to be a doctor. I, however, was obsessed with music.
WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? Almost certainly a doctor
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF YOUR JOB? One significant challenge is adapting to a new conductor’s concept of a familiar piece. The difficult but necessary part sometimes is allowing the conductor’s ideas to replace my own – at least temporarily.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Any Mahler symphony is always a musical highlight with the Philharmonic.
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? Murray Perahia playing Bach English Suites, or maybe Bob Marley
DO YOU EVER PLAY IN OTHER GROUPS? I still perform a fair amount of chamber music; I enjoy that intimacy with other musicians.
ARE THERE OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My wife, Carmit Zori, is a violinist. I have two children: Amalia, 19, who is an excellent pianist and organist, and Daniel, 16.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Hike, cook, read, garden, and explore my native land, Northern California.
As of November 2011