How did you come to join QUO?
I am primarily a pianist and occasionally hold small soirees in my Chelsea apartment (because gay pianists do such things) with a dear friend who is a brilliant cellist. After one of our performances, I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t get to perform with my oboe as much as I’d like. When I lived on the west coast I played with the L.A. Lawyers Philharmonic, but I couldn’t find similar opportunities for amateur wind players in NYC. My friend suggested I reach out to QUO, which conveniently meets down the block from my apartment. After harassing the group with emails for the better part of two years, they finally relented and let me in.
What is your favorite place to take friends visiting NYC?
Most of my visiting friends are now more interested in hanging out with my two-year-old daughter than they are with me. A perfect afternoon with a guest usually involves all of us popping in and out of the wonderful and varied art galleries in my neighborhood and ending up at the carousel in Hudson River Park. There are no horses on the carousel. Instead riders sit on reproductions of native New York wildlife. My daughter always chooses the fluke.
What musical symbol best defines you and why?
I’m going to alter the question slightly. I aspire to be like the fermata – a reminder to pause in a sea of relentless forward motion to appreciate the beauty of the moment.
How long have you been playing your instrument?
I first picked up the oboe when I was 12. My parents took me to hear a performance of Peter and the Wolf at the NY Phil’s Happy Concerts for Young People. The duck/oboist sat right up front and I thought: what a weird looking instrument. Then I heard it and felt it was the most expressive, odd, and beautiful sound I had ever heard. I turned to my parents and said “I want to play that”. Since my middle school music teacher had no experience with double reeds, I started by teaching myself from a fingering chart in the back of an old oboe primer I found in the library. The book had a photo of an English horn and I thought: that’s even weirder looking than an oboe – I want to play it too.
Question from Rodney: If you didn’t need to have a day job to support your music habit, what musical endeavor(s) would you pursue?
Without question, I would direct musical theater.