Years in AYPO: 2007-2009
Current Occupation: Bassoonist, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band
Current City of Residence: Washington, DC
Current Musical Involvement: I’m blessed in that music is still both my passion and my profession.
Favorite Piece to Perform: It’s impossible to pick just one. I love playing Stravinsky’s smaller works, especially the Octet. It’s also such a treat to perform any of Beethoven’s symphonies. My favorite performances in recent memory were probably Shostakovich’s 4thSymphony with the Bergen Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Litton in Norway, and a woodwind quintet I stumbled upon by Isang Yun.
Is there a specific memory or experience that impacted your decision to pursue a music career? Mine was a gradual process through high school when a career in music became not only desirable, but truly plausible. My summers at different music festivals exposed me to the joy of a life immersed entirely in music. At these same festivals I was inspired by different bassoon teachers who had created careers in a variety of ways including freelance work, full time positions in orchestras, and university professorships. What really pulled me into music, though, was the realization that sitting on stage with an orchestra is undoubtedly one of my favorite places in the world to be.
Any advice for young musicians interested in pursuing a music career? Speak to professional musicians you know (teachers, band directors, orchestra conductors) in order to form realistic expectations about pursuing a career in music. It is extremely difficult. You will have to work much harder than many of your peers and can never expect to make as much money. It’s also filled with disappointment, so be prepared to persevere. The first professional audition I won was my thirteenth, and some of my colleagues took many more before they finally broke through. That said, if, like me, you think that a stage in front of a packed house on a Friday night feels like home, then this is one of the most rewarding careers you can find. I love to go to work. There’s no compensation that can beat passionately enjoying what you do for a living.