Growing up, our house was noisy! I grew up in Tenafly, NJ in a family of six musicians, all of whom attended Juilliard. Jazz and big band music were popular around our house and I occasionally went with my father on some of his gigs to fill in for the electric bass player. One of my earliest memories is falling asleep under the grand piano as my mother practiced.
My father wanted us to have as normal an upbringing as possible, so sports played an important role in my life and still does. If I hadn’t become a professional musician I am pretty sure I would have been a pilot or race car driver! My dad set me up well. I may have had to work more at the music than some of the wunderkinds who were pushed harder, but the more balanced upbringing prepared me for the social dynamics of the orchestra.
I was lucky enough to be admitted to Juilliard. When I graduated, I was offered a fellowship to study at the Royal College of Music and was honored with the position of Leader (the British term for concertmaster) of the Royal Philharmonic. I loved my time in London but always kept my eyes on opportunities to move back to the U.S. When my long-time friend, the BSO Music Director Yuri Temirkanov, invited my to join him in Baltimore I didn’t hesitate!
When I am not performing or rehearsing with the BSO, I enjoy devoting time to the next generation of music-makers. I am very honored to serve on the Board of the Baltimore School for the Arts. I believe they understand that it’s a rigorous education, not coddling, that turns out artists ready to meet the challenges of finding work in today’s economy. I’m also the artistic director for the Maryland Classical Youth Orchestra.
I most of all like to spend my time with my three children: Hannah, Luke and Grace. As any parent knows, they are each so unique and teach me about life. They all have very cool, eclectic taste in music. For many years, my eldest daughter, Hannah, planned an annual event called “FarmFest.” It started as a small little folk festival for our friends. It eventually grew to present 12 bands performing for 12 hours to more than 700 people!