Where are you from originally?
I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee has had a huge German immigrant population since the 1800s. My parents were immigrants in the 1950s and met in there. I grew up listening to a lot of German folk music at various ethnic festivals. At home—my dad, especially—always had classical music playing. I could recognize Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert in my sleep at a very young age. My mom sang old German/Austrian folk songs, as well as church hymns. So, music all around.
How long have you been with the Omaha Symphony?
I joined the Omaha Symphony in 1992. Ha! I thought it would be a short-time gig, and here I am twenty-nine years later.
How did you choose your instrument?
I started on violin when I was five. My father played violin, accordion, harmonica, and a little piano. He wasn’t an expert in any of them, but competent to play in small ensembles or dance bands. It was his idea to teach me violin. I switched to viola in college.
What’s something people might not know about being a professional musician?
Many of us are really specialized, while others can cover a lot. I, for instance, can’t play jazz or improvise to save my life. Sure, I can read all the styles of music we play in all our programs, but take the sheet music away from me and ask me to jam, I’m helpless.