What advice would you offer to young performers?
Build your fundamental skills to virtuosic degrees. Don’t just listen to music, but transcribe what you hear. Start a journal of interesting orchestration techniques… then transcribe them. Study solfege like it’s your first language. Learn a favorite piece by transposing it to a different key. But above all, never give up and don’t put yourself down. Music can be a lifelong passion, and you don’t have to “get it” right away… You have your whole life to improve.
Apart from music, what other activities do you find enriching in your life?
Community service and volunteerism. There are many non-profits out there who rely on volunteers to carry out their basic services. However, there’s usually a shortage of people who actually reach out and offer to help, particularly with basic or menial tasks. (Everyone wants to do the “important stuff”). I like to be one of the people that helps at the most basic levels.
Who has been your biggest source of inspiration throughout your education/career?
Musically: My peers, particularly at NEC. There’s a tremendous source of creativity and life here. From students to faculty, it’s incredible how much dedication there is collectively to our craft. Many people that I perform professionally with now, I originally met in high school and college. It’s very inspiring to be able to learn, perform, and grow together.
Non-Musically: My parents, grandparents, and wife are super sources of inspiration. Both of my grandfathers worked continually into late stages of their life (mid 80s and early 90s). My parents never let me give up my dreams of success. And my wife is a very dedicated violinist herself.
If you could choose one career outside of music, what would it be?
I’ve always been curious about dance. I never took any Western dance classes (only Hawaiian hula, which is a requirement when you grow up in Hawaii), but I’ve always been fascinated by movement and choreography. There’s so much music inherent in dance, and vice-versa, so it would probably be a good fit for my interests and personality.
What is your favorite genre of literature? What’s the most memorable thing you’ve read in the past year?
I haven’t gotten into any fiction in a very long time. The last books I read were “How the States Got Their Shape,” which is mostly American history, and then a mathematics book, “The Joy of X.” That said, I’m trying to get into Ernest Hemingway, and am starting with his short stories.
What have you been listening to most recently?
Classical: the new “Balance Problems” album from yMusic; Pierre Fournier’s Bach cello suites; music of composer Michael-Thomas Foumai; Joe Foley’s album “Nightsongs” with Bonnie Anderson.
Non-Classical: Music recently released by my NEC peers.
“Shaken by a Low Sound” album by Crooked Still; “Lock My Heart” album by Heather Masse and Dick Hyman; “Nuestro Tango” by Natalie Fernandez; “Secret Love” album by Sara Leib; and “Ugandan Suite” by Felipe Salles; “Center Song” album by Steve Treseler; “Cockpit” album by Bootyjuice.
Do you have any pets at home? If so, where is your favorite place to take them for a walk?
I have two “budgie” birds. They don’t walk much, but they’re also not so great at flying, so basically they glide around my music room.