David Kim: Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra

This fall, I interviewed David Kim, Concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Curious about what he would have to say about orchestral excerpts, I attended his masterclass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (I guess if I want my Don Juan to be less scratchy, the first step is to use less rosin...DUH!!!). Afterwards, I approached Mr. Kim about my blog, and he agreed to a phone interview several days later.

Despite his position as Concertmaster for arguably one of the most famous orchestras in the world, Mr. Kim is one of the most grounded and generous musicians I have ever met. For lack of a better word, he's totally "normal". In our brief interview, I asked Mr. Kim about life as a Concertmaster, the skills needed to be a 21st century musician, and his most memorable concert experience (Spoiler Alert: It involves Martha Argerich!)

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Scott Pingel: Principal Bass of the San Francisco Symphony

Early in 2017, I interviewed Scott Pingel, Principal Bass of the San Franciso Symphony (SFS)  to ask his thoughts about the future of the symphony orchestra and where it’s headed. Prior to SFS, Pingel served as principal bass of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, performed with the Metropolitan Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra, and served as guest principal with the National Arts Center Orchestra in Canada. His solo performances with ensembles such as the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and in recitals frequently consisting of his own arrangements, have been met with high critical acclaim. 

A few of the questions I ask:

Where is the Symphony orchestra headed?

Have you ever considered a different career?

What actions has the San Francisco Symphony taken to increase audience engagement?  

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Trala: A Practicing Game changer

RECORDING FOR TRALA:

Last June, I was connected by a mutual friend to a new music education startup called Trala. I had heard about Trala only two months before, while completing research for my Master’s thesis on the future of classical music. After googling “music education apps," I came across Trala.

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Paul Hogle: Dean of CIM

Last fall, I interviewed Paul Hogle, Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) to discusses his views on the future of symphony orchestras and 21st century music education. Prior to CIM, Mr. Hogle served as the Executive Vice President of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), and held posts in senior fundraising and education with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. During one of the most tumultuous times in its history, Mr. Hogle helped to rebuild and reinvent the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership, the DSO experienced  growth in subscription sales, fundraising, the DSO patron base, and has since built an  international webcast audience which now approaches one million viewers. Beyond his experience as an Executive Director, Mr. Hogle is also a passionate educator, encouraging millennial musicians to take charge and ownership of their own career. 

 

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Eric Nowlin: Principal Viola for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

After interviewing over a dozen violinists, I decided it was time to gain the perspective of other instrumentalists. I was specifically looking for an instrumentalist who was both a Principal of a major American orchestra as well a passionate advocate for music education. While I'm sure there are many musicians who fit this description, I decided to interview Eric Nowlin, principal violist of the Detroit Symphony. Over the phone, we spoke about his experience with the DSO, his thoughts on preparing for orchestral auditions, and my favorite topic---how millennials should approach their musical career. 

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What does it mean to be a Classical Musician in the Twenty-First century?

Like other conservatory graduates, I was set on becoming an orchestral player. But something happened in the second year of my Masters degree. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra went on strike. A world renowned orchestra was closing its doors for an indeterminate amount of time, leaving its musicians without work, an audience without an orchestra, and its management with the financial burden of piecing a machine back together. I had just auditioned for a regional orchestra in Ohio, and after not having progressed past the first round, drove back feeling disheartened and like a failure. Like many musicians after an audition, my mind began the internal dialogue about the pros and cons of switching careers.

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Noah Bendix Balgley: Concertmaster of the Berlin PHilharmonic

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra had been on strike for several months, and this was their first concert back in Heinz Hall following several months of painful negotiations between management and the musicians' union. Celebrating the end of what seemed an arduous strike, it seemed fitting that Noah Bendix-Balgely, (the previous Concertmaster of the PSO) would return to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the orchestra. Two months prior to Noah's return, I had  interviewed Ann Martindale Williams, Principal Cello of the PSO, to ask her questions about the strike and her views on orchestral careers. When I learned that Noah Bendix-Balgely was flying back from Berlin to perform with the PSO, I thought "Why not ask Noah his thoughts about the future of symphony orchestras?" Several rounds of emails later, Noah agreed to an interview between rehearsals at Duquesne University. Noah had some beautiful insights into the future of classical music, and what millennials should be doing to create a sustainable career in music. 

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