Walter Haman, PrincipalVioloncello

Walter Haman


Fresno, CA

Where you live now:

Salt Lake City, Utah

Year you joined the Grant Park Music Festival:


Where did you study?

San Francisco and New England Conservatories

What do you love most about your instrument?

Everyone says they love the human-like sound and range of the cello. I have to agree. It can support an ensemble like a fine bass or baritone and also soar above like a soprano. There is also a unique physical aspect of playing the cello, it being so closely related to our bodies. We can feel the vibrations and resonance from head to toe. 

What would you be if you were not a musician?

I'd probably be involved with animals, either through rescue or veterinary care. I have a not-so-secret desire to open a sanctuary for senior dogs. 

Who would you love to work with in a future musical collaboration (conductors, guest artists) who you have not previously worked with?

The violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter has always been a favorite of mine and I've never gotten to be on stage with her.

Can you share any memorable stories about your experience with the Grant Park Music Festival?

It's not one specific memory, but rather a recurring experience. Every year we, the orchestra members, see each other again for the first rehearsal on a Tuesday. Its always nice to catch up with everyone and get reacquainted. Then, on Wednesday, we get to see the beloved concert goers who make up the audience every year. Seeing their faces again feels like a welcome home. And, yes, sometimes realizing that a face or two we grew to know is no longer out there. It really is a family, a community. 

What’s on your playlist at the moment?

Probably a few podcasts from "On Being."

Any hobbies?

Fostering dogs from the local animal shelter has been a big joy. They are usually pit bull type dogs which most shelters are overflowing with these days. It's a beautiful thing to bring an unwanted, neglected, often sick dog into your home who needs a safe, comfortable environment to feel secure and happy. They begin to relax, settle in, and soon reveal their real personalities which often don't come out in the stressful shelter environment. Dogs teach so much about unconditional acceptance and love. Seeing them get adopted to a permanent home where they'll both give and receive lots of love is just the best.