If I had not decided to pursue a career as a professional musician, I would have chosen to become… a film critic. A food critic wouldn't be so bad either.
When not rehearsing or performing on stage with the BSO, I spend my time…taking my new dog for a hike in Patapsco state park, listening to podcasts, teaching, collecting old vinyl, catching up on backdated issues of the New Yorker (it's impossible to keep up!), cooking, and watching TV/movies.
In the car, I normally listen to…NPR, podcasts, or, these days, somewhat obscure 70's progressive rock bands. I have fairly varied tastes in music.
Currently my ring tone is…the old fashioned telephone ring. Some things are just too classic to be messed with.
The last few books I read were…The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. (I hate to admit it, but I also thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hunger Games series while on vacation this summer.)
My guilty pleasure is...I discovered in my 30's that I love karaoke. I have very little shame but sometimes experience guilt for the other patrons who have to listen to me. I also have a penchant for old-timey cocktails, but I don't feel too guilty about that.
If I could choose another instrument to play...I wish I could truly sing.
My favorite vacation spot is...it's not terribly exotic, but every summer my family goes to remote spot in the mountains of West Virginia and to me that place is synonymous with relaxation.
The non-musical accomplishment that I am most proud of would be…I can bake a mean pie.
To prepare for a performance…The day of, I play through tough passages very slowly with a full relaxed sound. Then, right before I go on stage, I try to hear the whole score in my head and imagine how I want to fit into and embody that sound.
My most embarrassing musical moment was….a few years ago I was performing a reduced version (i.e. even more notes) of a Sondheim musical. During the final act my C-pedal rod (which controls the accidentals for all the C-strings) snapped and every time I plucked any C-string the whole harp buzzed and snarled like crazy. Somehow I managed to improvise on the fly and covered it up by playing a lo of B-sharps and D-flats in an very exposed duet with the lead tenor. Talk about a minefield--phew!
If I could spend a day with any composer…I would choose Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith, or Benjamin Britten. They all wrote so well for my instrument, often transcending the "angelic" stereotype and exploring incredible new colors. Aside from picking their brains, I'd just like to thank them!