Where did you grow up? Rainham, a small town in Kent, England.
Where do you currently live? Wakefield, Massachusetts.
What instruments do you play? Violin and Piano.
Educational background: Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, England from 1984 to 1986 (the equivalent of my junior and senior years in an American high school); Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England from 1986 to 1990 (as an undergraduate); Royal Academy of Music in London, England from 1990 to 1991 (as a postgraduate).
Family, Pets, Kids: My wife, Melinda is American. I met her in England and married her here in 1994, the year our town of Wakefield, Massachusetts celebrated 350 years. Our son, Jordan, is 12 years old, and speaks with an American accent!
How did you get started in music? My elementary school in England offered violin lessons, and I thought it sounded interesting. I began learning when I was 8, and the piano when I was 12. My mother was the one who supported my musical endeavors. She took a job to pay for my violin and piano lessons, and arranged for me to attend music schools.
What non-PSO musical activities do you participate in? I am a middle school music teacher, so my life is full of music. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade general music classes, and I direct both the chorus and the drama club (currently producing ‘The Pirates Of Penzance’) at my school. I am a member of my church choir, and I substitute for our organist from time to time.
What’s your favorite PSO memory to date? I requested of Toshi Shimada for us to play Kalinnikov’s Symphony No. 1, and the concert when we played it was attended by two good friends. That was a memorable night for me!
Describe a typical day: I get up early enough to read my Bible, pray, and be at school by 6:00 AM. I teach 5 of 6 periods each day, and every six days conduct a chorus rehearsal. At this time of the year I typically have an after-school drama club rehearsal every day until 5:00 PM. At home, I read to my son, and very often do school work for the rest of the evening.
What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? Since Portland is in Maine, and I live in Massachusetts, I most often am asked, “How often do you have to go up there?”
If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? Missionary, photographer, writer, or 18-wheeler truck driver!
Any non-musical hobbies? I do not have much time for hobbies. I love reading, but read very little. I play soccer and tennis with my son. We (my wife, son, and I) play board games together, and watch the occasional film (but no television). The things I love to do the most are musical, such as listening to music and arranging or writing music.
What is your favorite music? What are you currently listening to? I love film music. I have ever since watching ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘Star Wars’, and ‘Superman’ as a young boy. I have collected film soundtracks since I was a teenager. My favorite (film) composer is John Williams (I grew up listening to his music), and I am currently listening to his recent ‘Tintin’ and ‘War Horse’.
Who or what has been your greatest influence, musical or otherwise? Jesus, my mother, my wife, and my son have influenced me the most. Musically, my violin and piano teachers, great performers, and great composers (the classical composers Mendelssohn and Ravel, the film composer John Williams) have influenced me the most.