How did you come to join QUO?
I knew someone, a viola player, who was one of the first members of the group, and he recommended it to me. I came to a few rehearsals and a concert. That was back in 2010, and I came to rehearsals and concerts very sporadically until a few years ago. I’m glad to be a regular member now.
What is your favorite place to take friends visiting NYC?
The West Village. It’s just so quiet and beautiful on so many of the blocks.
What musical symbol best defines you and why?
The alto clef. I’m a viola player first and foremost, and there aren’t many instruments that use the alto clef at all.
How long have you been playing viola?
I’ve always been a viola player. It’s the instrument that I started on and it’s the instrument that I’ve always taken lessons on.
It’s probably very rare for people who start on viola to play much violin—usually, it goes the other way! But I like the violin too and I really appreciate the very different experience that comes with playing an outer voice, instead of an inner voice, in orchestra and chamber music. I also generally feel that it’s easier to learn technique on than the viola. Even my viola teacher tends to agree with that.
Question from Frederick: What characteristic of your favorite instrument that you like to play best describes your personality? And why?
This is a neat question! I’ll answer from the perspective of playing the viola. For the most part, the further back we go into history, the less the viola was favored compared to its closest relatives, the violin and cello. There weren’t many solo works written for the viola by many of the major composers, and there probably aren’t even as many old violas around now as there are old violins and old cellos. The situation has improved for violists over the years.
And I identify with the feeling of not being the center of attention, and maybe also of being enigmatic and even unusual, but hopefully able to express great beauty just the same.