DePaul University (Chicago)
Other arts organizations:
San Antonio Opera (Concertmaster), Mid-Texas Symphony (Concertmaster), River City Chamber Players, Cactus Pear Music Festival (Young Artist Program Director), Trinity University (Adjunct Professor of Violin)
At this moment, I have this on my CD/iPod player:
I have one of the really big iPods and right now I have just about everything imaginable on it from the most popular to the most obscure classical composers; jazz from Art Tatum to Coltrane to The Big Plus; lots of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Pink Floyd; alternative rock artists like Jeffrey Lewis, Andrew Bird and The Books; everything in world music from Persian classical to Bolivian folk music and Indian classical and real Gypsy bands (and everything in between). I also listen to a lot of informational podcasts from Public Radio on topics ranging from politics to religion to philosophy.
At this moment, I have this on my music stand:
This changes all the time. It could be anything from my part for the next Opera production to this week’s Symphony Classical concert or whatever I’m currently preparing for my next recital or chamber music concert. Sometimes it’s whatever I’m preparing to teach one of my students. Of course, Bach solo “Sonatas and Partitas” and scales are never far away.
At this moment, I have this on my nightstand:
I’m usually reading more than one thing at a time. There’s always a novel, some poetry, maybe a collection of short stories as well as some kind of philosophical or political topic. Right now I’m looking at “Collected Poems of Langston Hughes,” “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders” by Daniyal Mueenuddin, “The Essential Dalai Lama: Collected Writings” and “The Wasted Vigil” by Nadeem Aslam.
How I chose my instrument:
My dad was a school music teacher (a drummer and singer to be specific) but it was really my mom, who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, who wanted me to have some musical training in my life. She told my dad to bring some instruments home from school. I tried the drums (the drum practice pad was boring – I wanted the big set like Ringo had); then the clarinet (tasted funny); then the trumpet (hurt my cheeks!). And finally, out of the blue, I said, “What about the violin?” so mom and dad got me one and the rest was history. Funny coincidence – in one of my first baby pictures (like the ones where you take your kid to Sears) I’m posed on a rug and there’s a violin hanging on the wall in the background but nobody picked up on that until well after the fact. That picture now hangs on the wall in my teaching studio and my students think it’s funny.
My earliest musical memory is:
My violin teacher, Mr. Spitalny, laughing and saying, as he pulled teasingly on my 10 year old fingers, “Grow fingers…grow!” He got his wish – I have pretty big hands. He was an excellent, caring teacher and always treated me like family. I wouldn’t have gotten this far if it hadn’t been for all the wonderful things he taught me.
Other than music, I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a:
Marine biologist. No, I’m not channeling a bit from “Seinfeld.” I grew up around the ocean and I toyed with the idea of becoming a marine biologist or oceanographer (Cousteau was and still is a hero of mine). Unfortunately, my interest in doing math, so important to the sciences, wasn’t equal to my interest in dolphins and sharks. My passion for books also led me to consider a career as either an English teacher or a writer. In my current stage of life I have thought about some day going to culinary school and possibly becoming a chef – I love to cook. For right now, though, I am very happy playing the violin and teaching young people.
My favorite composer is:
This one is impossible to answer except to give the clichéd answer – my favorite composer is whomever I happen to be working on at the moment. That really is the truth…unless, of course, it’s Philip Glass. I really don’t like Philip Glass’s music.
My favorite San Antonio restaurant is:
Sarovar (Southern Indian), Pho Ha Long (Vietnamese noodle shop), Thai Chili.
My favorite TV show is:
I don’t really watch much TV, and now even less, because “LOST” is over. So…”LOST,” “Top Chef” and “30 Rock.”
This is what the photo I’ve selected says about me:
I favor a strict dress code in the workplace and believe that classical music is serious business.