What did you do in the years immediately following your time at SDYS?
After graduating, I pursued my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance at UCLA. I then transitioned into conducting and pursued my master’s degree at the University of Maryland in orchestral conducting.
What are you up to now?
I am currently the Assistant Conductor of the Nashville Symphony, a position I previously held with the Omaha Symphony for two seasons. I lead over 50 performances annually on the Symphony’s Pops, Education, and Family Series. I feel very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to conduct performances with artists of all genres. This season, for example, will include performances with Kenny Loggins, Megan Hilty, Jennifer Nettles, The Marcus Roberts Trio, and Priscilla Presley to name a few.
How has music influenced you?
I have been exposed to music since my early childhood so it is difficult to think of ways in which music hasn’t influenced me. What I can say is that whether or not you end up pursuing music professionally, there is always room for music in your life and it will inevitably make it better. You could play in a community orchestra, form a small ensemble or band, or simply attend and support your local symphony. Regardless, having music in our lives connects us to others and makes us better people.
What did you learn from your days at SDYS?
SDYS taught me a lot about the dedication required to be a professional musician and successful adult. It pushed me to maintain extremely high standards in my music making which directly translated to other aspects of my life. I learned a great deal about time management by finding ways to balance my academics with my practice needs, a skill that was essential in order to keep up with my peers both in school and the ensemble.
What role does music play in your life now?
Music is at the center of my daily life. Living in Nashville (Music City) and working for the symphony means that the bulk of my daily interactions and activities are in some way related to music. It seems like there isn’t a single block in the entire city where you can’t come across live music to listen to, which I absolutely love. It also means endless opportunities for inspiration and interesting collaborations. Beyond that, all of my deepest friendships have been forged through or around music. Music truly does have the power to connect us to others in a way that language and other forms of expression often cannot.
What advice can you give to young musicians?
My advice is to always be as well rounded a person as possible. You should constantly strive to grow yourself in every aspect of life. Inspiration for music comes in many forms. The ability to express different emotions grows out of having experienced different things. So learn about art, history, and politics; develop your public speaking skills, your ability to work with others, and your ability to think creatively. Every experience in life and every opportunity to learn and grow as a person can in some way shape your music making.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
One thing I have learned in my journey is that the people around you (your colleagues) are not your greatest competition but in fact your greatest asset. You never know where they will end up and how you might be able to help each other down the road. So, with that in mind, always treat the people with whom you work with respect. You never know who might be willing to recommend you for a job or be interested in collaborating on a project in the future so keep every door open.