THE FACTS: Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bachelor’s in music performance from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to the Philharmonic: The Philadelphia Orchestra for 19 years. Most recent recording: Take 9, an album of horn octets with members of the Philharmonic horn section and the American Horn Quartet (Musicians Showcase). At the Philharmonic: Joined in March 1994. Philharmonic solo debut in 1995 in Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns.
FIRST PIECE OF MUSIC YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. My mom took me to hear it with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It has a big solo horn part; I loved it. I began playing the horn at age ten. I thought I wanted to play the trumpet, but the grade school music teacher said there were no more trumpets. She actually started me on the horn and became my private teacher throughout high school.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Playing the horn doesn’t feel like work, and the people in the horn section are all my friends; I look forward to seeing them and working with them every day. Philharmonic Principal Horn Phil Myers and I have been friends since we met at Carnegie Mellon in 1968.
WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My first horn teacher, Betty Levine; my college horn teacher, Forrest Standley; and my good friend and Philharmonic colleague Phil Myers
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? Once I realized I could be good at it, I couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything else.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Playing Schumann’s Konzertstück in my Philharmonic solo debut — it was thrilling.
MOST INSPIRING COMPOSER: Mahler — great horn parts
WHY DID YOU WANT TO JOIN THE PHILHARMONIC WHEN YOU WERE ALREADY PLAYING WITH THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA? When I met my wife, Elmira Darvarova, she was concertmaster of The Metropolitan Opera. We got married while we were still living and working in separate cities.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF PLAYING THE FRENCH HORN? Making sure that my playing matches up with the great playing of my colleagues
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas with Josef Suk
ARE THERE ANY OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My brother played clarinet and saxophone, but not professionally.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? Crossword puzzles and running
As of January 2017