Where were you born and (if different) where did you grow up? I was born in Berkeley, CA in the summer of 1969. I’m wearing beads, batik and/or tie-dye in most of my baby pictures. I moved to Long Island, NY when I was six years old and never really recovered from the culture shock.
Current residence and marital status/family: My wife and I live in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston with our two cats, Polly and Eve.
Education: Bachelor’s degrees from Oberlin in English Literature and Trombone Performance; Masters in Performance from New England Conservatory.
When did you start playing with the VSO? 1993
Other current jobs besides VSO: I am also a member of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and I sub often in other orchestras and ensembles in Boston and throughout New England. Sometimes I get to play with orchestras in other parts of the country or touring groups like the Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass, which is huge fun. I am very fortunate to teach at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, and I help my wife run the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston. I just spent my first summer teaching at the Kinhaven Music School in Weston, VT, which is a beautiful, magical place full of the joy of music-making.
Favorite composer: J. S. Bach. I’ve reached a stage of my life when great counterpoint brings me spontaneous tears of joy.
Hobbies: If I had time for hobbies I would learn to brew beer.
How did you get started in music? There was always music in my house, and I started with piano lessons at the Stecher and Horowitz School of the Arts in Cedarhurst, NY. They had a fantastic program that included theory and ear training from the very beginning, and I owe them tremendous gratitude for giving me a great foundation. I can’t play piano at all though. Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz are still involved in music education in various ways through their foundation.
Describe a typical day: My schedule is too erratic to have typical days. I like it like that.
Favorite vice: I take issue with this question. Beer is not a vice.
People would be surprised to know that: Six-month-old Gabe was present at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont. Look it up if you don’t know what happened. My mother could feel the bad vibes in the air and took me out to the parking lot to wait for her friends.
Best advice I ever got: My trombone teacher in grad school, Norman Bolter of the Boston Symphony, told me in my first lesson: “Always start with what you CAN do.”
Favorite way to spend an evening: When I’m not playing great music, I want to be sitting on the couch with my wife and cats, drinking and eating fine cheeses, charcuterie and other goodies, and binge-watching great TV.
Pet peeve: I’m trying to eliminate pet peeves from my life and keep my mindset positive.
I’m most proud of: When my students start playing from their imaginations without worrying about what’s right or wrong. That’s when I know I’ve done my job.