Hometown: Annapolis, Maryland Member: 2018
What do you want patrons of the Symphony to know about you?
I grew up listening to trumpet recordings of Håkan Hardenberger, Wynton Marsalis, Herb Alpert, Al Hirt, Rafael Mendéz, Maurice André, and Miles Davis. My dad is a huge fan of the trumpet and would always play these recordings around the house. As a child in inner-city Philadelphia, he had wanted to play the trumpet and asked for one for Christmas, but his parents thought it was too expensive and bought him a bugle instead. His trumpet career never took off, but he served as his Boy Scout troop bugler (as did I, when I was in the Boy Scouts). Through hearing all the great trumpet CD’s my dad would play on repeat, I began to love the sound of the trumpet and starting blasting away on the bugle. My parents got me my first trumpet when I was 8 years old. (I still have my dad’s bugle, but you won’t get to hear me play it in the symphony, unfortunately!)
Do you have any pre-concert rituals or routines?
I like to get ready early with lots of time to spare. If it’s a big performance, I’ll make time for a short nap beforehand. I don’t like being rushed before a concert. I get to the hall early, get dressed, warm up, and get on stage early enough to get acclimated. I’ll look through the pieces and play a couple passages, but I don’t frantically practice right before a concert. I’d rather have a calm head space right before a concert.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a professional musician?
I’m very left-brained, so I think I’d be working in some sort of technical field, such as engineering, science, or law. I was drawn to music, however, because of how much fun I had playing great symphonic repertoire in youth orchestra and at Interlochen. Music, as emotional and creative as it is, also requires a great deal of hard work and careful attention to detail on a daily basis, so it seems very well-suited for me.
What teacher, mentor or other influencer inspired you the most?
I wouldn’t be here today without the help of so many mentors over the years. It’s impossible to pick one, but I’m especially grateful to my teachers Jim Wilt (Colburn), Michael Sachs and Michael Miller (Cleveland Institute of Music), Charlie Geyer and Barbara Butler (Northwestern University), and Tom Cupples and Bob Birch (high school).
What do you do in your spare time?
I love being on the water. I grew up on the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland, by the Chesapeake Bay, spending my summers swimming and boating. I sailed on my high school sailing team and then briefly on the Northwestern sailing team, before I had to choose between the sailing team and my trumpet studies. Perhaps I got some of my nautical tendencies from my father, who served in the Navy and taught at the Naval Academy. I love exploring the Chesapeake Bay on the Nadia, my 23 foot Kittiwake sailboat, which I take out for overnight adventures with friends. It would take too long to sail the Nadia down to Jacksonville, but I hope to find another boat down here to sail!
What has been your favorite moment on stage?
Many of the musical highlights of my life have been with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, where I was a member from 2015–2017. I especially enjoyed playing Tchaik 6 with Valery Gergiev and Prokofiev 5 with Paavo Järvi. I also had very formative, inspiring experiences playing in the Northwestern Symphonic Wind Ensemble with Dr. Mallory Thompson. Some of my favorite concerts with SWE include the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and the Winds of Nagual.
Who is your favorite composer?
It’s so hard to pick just one! Mozart’s music always sounds so perfect, and his architectural structure is so special and creative. So many of his contemporaries wrote generic, paint-by-numbers music, but Mozart wrote with ingenuity and spark. I especially love listening to his symphonies, concertos, and piano sonatas. I also can’t live without Beethoven. His music is inspiring to me as an artist because he was continually revising and rewriting his music, always trying to improve it. He was hardly a melodist and often composed with quite elementary rhythms. He struggled as an artist, most notably because of his deafness, but despite all these obstacles, his finished products are absolute monuments of the symphonic canon. Finally, I have to mention Mahler, not only for his fantastic trumpet parts, but because his music represents the absolute peak of large-scale symphonic expressivity. His symphonies convey the entire range of human emotion, from the smallest afterthoughts to the most profound commentary on worldly existence.
Northwestern University, BM in trumpet performance and music theory
Cleveland Institute of Music, MM
Colburn School, Professional Studies Certificate