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On the Cover: Duoming Ba

Violinist Duoming Ba is proof positive of the power of kindness.

Originally from rural China, Duoming was performing a solo with her youth orchestra when a music lover in the audience recognized her talent. This benefactor went on to sponsor her education in America at the Curtis Institute of Music and loaned her the instrument she currently plays.

Duoming has certainly made good on this benefactor’s generosity. She finished her studies in 2003 and won a spot in the New York Philharmonic, where she has been playing ever since.

Watch Duoming Ba’s video Q&A above to hear more about her story — and to find out the trick to getting the full violin section to play perfectly in sync!

Follow us on Instagram later this month when Duoming takes over during the Philharmonic’s EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour.

Stay tuned: May will feature bassist David J. Grossman.

Learn more about violinist Duoming Ba.

On the Cover: Anthony McGill

Life could have turned out very differently for Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill. As with so many instrumentalists, fate intervened for Anthony when he was discouraged from playing the saxophone and handed a clarinet instead. He fell in love with the instrument, and the rest is history.

Anthony has been with the New York Philharmonic for just over two seasons, but he has already accomplished a lot. Anthony made his New York Philharmonic solo debut with Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto (the recording of which can be heard on the fourth release of the Philharmonic’s The Nielsen Project, released by Dacapo) and performed Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto as part of the Concerts in the Parks and on the floor of the UN General Assembly.

You may have also seen him in performance at former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Anthony became part of history when he performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Gabriela Montero on that winter day in 2009. And you may have heard him at The Metropolitan Opera, where he served as principal clarinet for a decade.

Check out the video Q&A above for more about Anthony’s inspirations, view of life on stage versus the pit, and the momentous phone call inviting him to perform at the Inauguration.

Follow us on Instagram for the inside track on the woodwind section when Anthony takes it over for a day this month.

Stay tuned: next month we’ll feature violinist Duoming Ba.

Learn more about Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill.

On the Cover: Concertmaster Frank Huang

“It’s not every day that you get to take a selfie with Oprah.”

Concertmaster Frank Huang, October’s On the Cover musician, is recalling highlights from last season, his first in the chair. Another was the very next night, when he mastered R. Strauss’s daunting solos in Ein Heldenleben. The most meaningful? Having his family in the audience. It was the culmination of years of dedication — and the start of a new chapter.

Watch Frank reflect on his experience with the New York Philharmonic in the video above. Later this month, we’ll check in with Frank as he prepares for his solo performances of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, October 27–November 1, and as he navigates life with a brand-new baby girl.

Catch it all on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The second season of On the Cover will focus on six Philharmonic musicians who are ready for their close-ups. Next month it’s Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps as she prepares for the New York Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s viola concerto, Unearth, Release, conducted by incoming Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Learn more about Concertmaster Frank Huang.

On the Cover: Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps

“Once I [got] a viola it was clear that it was an instrument that really spoke to me. I felt that I could draw a sound out that I really loved.” — Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps

Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps, November’s On the Cover musician, has an important job within the Orchestra. She not only draws out a velvety sound on all the big viola solos in the symphonic repertoire, she also elicits a unified sound from the viola section. To do that, she works behind the scenes — deciding on bowings, liaising with the conductor — and leads the section to keep everyone together rhythmically and stylistically in real time. Watch her Q&A video above for more!

This month Cynthia Phelps steps out of her Principal seat and into the hot seat — the soloist position. She’ll perform the New York Premiere of Julia Adolphe’s Unearth, Release, conducted by future Music Director Jaap van Zweden, November 17–19.

Join the conversation: Cynthia will take over the Philharmonic’s Instagram Wednesday, November 16, for the first rehearsal of Julia Adolphe’s new viola concerto. On Tuesday, November 22, we will post Cynthia’s curated playlist to sing along to on your holiday travels. And lastly, on Tuesday, November 29, Cynthia answers your questions on Facebook.

Next month we feature Philharmonic trumpet player Ethan Bensdorf, just in time for the beloved annual Holiday Brass concert!

Learn more about Principal Viola Cynthia Phelps.

On the Cover: Ethan Bensdorf

“It’s my goal every year to win the Best Supporting Actor award.” — Ethan Bensdorf

Ethan Bensdorf, December’s On the Cover musician, has developed a niche skill set as a section trumpet player at the Philharmonic, often playing second trumpet. The Principal Trumpet communicates his approach to entrances and style, and it’s Ethan’s job to adjust and respond quickly and be a rock-solid support for the Principal Trumpet. The trumpet section operates as a tight team, coordinating between themselves, within the brass section, and ultimately within the Orchestra. Watch the video Q&A above for more about Ethan and his role in the Philharmonic’s legendary brass section.

(If you’re a trumpet player or friends with one, you may recognize the opening music: the second etude of Theo Charlier’s 36 Transcendental Etudes “Du Style.”)

One of the most beloved Philharmonic traditions is the annual Holiday Brass concert, in which Ethan will be performing December 18. He will also be sharing behind-the-scenes Philharmonic photos on Instagram this month.

Next month we feature flutist and solo piccolo player Mindy Kaufman.

Learn more about Ethan Bensdorf.

On the Cover: Mindy Kaufman

“You really get to know your colleagues, and it’s such a special experience to develop friendships through our music. I think that’s why I went into music in the first place.” — Mindy Kaufman

Flute and piccolo player Mindy Kaufman has one of the best seats in the house, and in some pieces she has time to enjoy it. In Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, for example, Mindy does not play a note for 30 minutes. During that time she enjoys the music around her, silently preparing for her big solo piccolo moment (one of the most famous in the repertoire).

Watch Mindy’s video Q&A above to find out more about her 38-year career at the Philharmonic, from her most memorable moments to some surprising facts. (There’s a good chance you’ve heard Mindy perform, even if you have yet to attend a Philharmonic concert!)

Follow us on Instagram for photos of Mindy as she prepares for the first program of Beloved Friend — Tchaikovsky and His World: A Philharmonic Festival with conductor Semyon Bychkov. Stay tuned: next month we’ll feature Principal Clarinet Anthony McGill.

Learn more about flute and piccolo player Mindy Kaufman.

On the Cover: Richard Deane

This month On the Cover features Associate Principal Horn Richard Deane. In seventh grade the world opened up to Richard as he played Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in a Kentucky youth orchestra. From that moment he knew music was his life’s calling, and now he is in Mahler’s Orchestra. Talk about full circle! To learn more follow along throughout April for more.

In a new video Q&A with Richard (above), he answers one of the most important questions asked of horn players: What are you doing with your right hand when playing? 

We know this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions about playing the horn. So we are opening the floor for questions in our first live Facebook Q&A during the week of April 11. 

Later this month, Richard will share his favorite tracks on Spotify, so follow us there to hear Richard’s playlist and playlists from previous On the Cover musicians. And on April 26, Richard will chronicle his day with the Philharmonic as he takes over our Instagram.

Next month, in our last On the Cover of the 2015–16 season, cellist Sumire Kudo brings it home.

Learn more about Richard Deane here.

On the Cover: Sumire Kudo

For May (and part of June) On the Cover features cellist Sumire Kudo, who celebrates her tenth anniversary with the New York Philharmonic this June. Learn more about Sumire in our final installment of the season — from her affection for her section, “the best cello section in the world,” to her affection for her dog, Cinnamon. 

Start with Sumire’s Q&A video (above), where she talks about her first time playing cello, her favorite composers, and her life outside the Philharmonic.

There are lots of opportunities to connect with Sumi this month and next. Tune in on Tuesday, May 24 when she takes over our Instagram.

Sumi will be taking your questions live on Facebook this month. Stay tuned to the Philharmonic’s Facebook for updates.

Plus, keep up with Sumi on the Philharmonic’s Snapchat (username: NYPhilharmonic) as she prepares for the season finale, on June 11, when she and six Philharmonic cellists finish off the season with Boulez’s Messagesquisse at the NY PHIL BIENNIAL.

Learn more about Sumire Kudo here.

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