When not rehearsing or performing on stage with the BSO, how do you spend your time? I am often busy with my three boys, so there is a good amount of time spent getting to and from places. When we’re not doing that, we often go hiking or biking to Loch Raven, Roland Lake, Lake Montebello or (for kayaking) Gunpowder Falls State Park. Or we might go to the Zoo, or downtown to the Aquarium or Maryland Science Center. We are also lucky to have a big back yard, where soccer is the game of choice. By myself, I like to bike, rollerblade, or play tennis (or ski in the winter) with my buddies from the orchestra. I also enjoy doing house projects and spending time in the garden.
What career would you have chosen if you had not decided to become a professional musician? Probably something physical, but involving people. I can see myself teaching skiing at a major resort and enjoying nature every day.
What kind of music helps you unwind? I have been listening to Dianna Krall and Allison Krauss a lot lately.
In the car, I…most often listen to whatever NPR or its local station has to offer.
The ring tones on my cell phone are…”When the Saints Go Marchin’ In”, and some Latin tune.
What was the last book you read? This summer it was Stephen King’s Firestarter; otherwise, I love John Irving.
Most people would be surprised to learn…that I spent my youth spear fishing in the Adriatic, and that I was offered a Ski Patrol job at a Vermont resort a few years ago. I am also good at drawing complex pictures on an Etch-a-Sketch.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done or biggest risk you have ever taken? I probably take my life (or at least my career) in my hand every time I click my ski bindings. Since I get my kicks that way, (and sometimes kayaking in rough seas), I have no desire to jump out of airplanes, or go on rollercoasters (even though my wife loves them). I guess you could say I like to be at least somewhat in control.
What is your dream or if you have already achieved it, what was it? To have a satisfying job that will enable me to have a nice house in a nice city in a nice country, and to live there with a beautiful family. All achieved.
What non-musical accomplishment are you most proud of? Meeting my wife and having her stick around with me (we have been together for almost 20 years now), and our three boys: Sebastian (10), Luka (7) and Tristan (3).
What is your guilty pleasure? Let’s talk over a bottle of wine, and I may tell you.
Where is your favorite vacation spot? In winter, wherever there is snow and ski slopes. In summer, my parents’ house on the beach in the Adriatic.
What’s the last movie you saw? I am in a Netflix trial period right now. Enough said.
I prepare for a performance by…trying to make it to the hall on time.
If I could choose another instrument to play, it would be the…cello. My older sister, my wife and one of my sons play it.
Do you play any other instruments? Absolutely not.
What was your most embarrassing musical moment? Those few times we all experience when we forget to get the right piece on the stand before a performance.
What has been an extremely positive musical experience you have had? Any time I feel the chemistry between the audience and the stage.
Have you had a profound experience, musical or otherwise, that has shaped or deeply influenced your approach to music? Practicing fingered octaves. Just kidding. Nothing specific I can recall.
If you could spend a day with any composer, living or dead, who would it be? I hate those questions! Probably Mahler. Maybe Messiaen.