Year you joined the Grant Park Music Festival:
Where did you study?
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL
What are a few particular pieces that you’ve been especially delighted to have played?
Mahler symphonies, while cliché, are very close to my heart and soul. His Sixth Symphony in particular moves me deeply every time I hear it or play it. I dream of playing the monumental 8th Symphony….maybe here at Grant Park! I have amazing memories of playing Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle, Strauss’s Salome, music of Dvorak, Nielsen, Beethoven, and numerous pieces of contemporary music that have pushed the levels of my technical playing with the Grant Park Orchestra.
Are there any “under the radar” artists that you think more people should know about?
Definitely! I am fond of discoveries of the music of forgotten Czech master Zdenek Fibich, Carl Nielsen, Robert Simpson, Leos Janacek, and Hans Rott (whose forward-looking compositions greatly influenced Gustav Mahler).
Can you share any memorable stories about your experience with the Grant Park Music Festival?
The memorable opening of the Pritzker Pavilion will not soon be forgotten, with Strauss’s Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare playing while the doors parted and the ribbon between them was cut. One of my fondest memories was giving a pre-concert lecture about Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark film “Battleship Potemkin” and then coming on-stage at the Pritzker Pavillion to perform music of Shostakovich to accompany that film. What a night!
What other art nourishes you (books, films, paintings, etc.)?
Other works of art that inspire me or speak to me include: the art of Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha; the literature of Ayn Rand, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Umberto Eco, Henry Miller; architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Hector Guimard, Victor Horta, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Antonio Gaudi; films of (where to begin?) Sergei Eisenstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Wiene, Jacques Tati, and many, MANY more.
When you’re not busy rehearsing and performing, what are some of your favorite
non-musical Chicago summertime activities?
I play racquetball, go to the gym, and spend time exploring the city with my wife Sandy and our friends—including going to the rooftop deck of the Red Lion Pub for morsels and beer.