Hidden from small

Jeffrey Curnow - Behind the Scenes

November 02, 2015

Each month in the Orchestra’s Playbill, we feature one musician in a question-and-answer segment. Below is that feature in its entirety.

Where were you born? In Wilmington, Delaware.

What piece of music could you play over and over again? Well, see, that’s the problem. I’m playing these pieces over and over again.

What’s your most treasured possession? My kids. Guess that’s why they sometimes act liked they’re possessed.

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Pat’s Steaks. Wit.

Tell us about your instrument. It’s a conglomeration of brass tubing that’s quite moody and often times completely uncooperative.

What’s in your instrument case? A mouthpiece (hopefully), a half-filled bottle of valve oil, and a packet of antacids that says “open in case of bad conducting.” 

If you could ask one composer one question what would it be? I’d ask Brahms if he ever went to a Christmas party in a Santa suit.

What piece of music never fails to move you? I’m always moved in front of the bass trombone for Symphonie fantastique. Never fails. 

When did you join the Orchestra? September 2001.

Do you play any other instruments? You can thank your lucky stars, no.

What’s your favorite type of food? Any part of a potato that’s fried. 

What books are on your nightstand? Hard copy or e-reader? The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker and Surviving Your Next Mahler Symphony: An Orchestral Trumpeter’s Guide. Both hard copies.

Do you speak any other languages? I know four Japanese phrases for ordering beer.

Do you follow any blogs? My therapist forbids it.

Do you have any hobbies? I sometimes think of myself as a starving cartoonist.

Do you have a favorite movie? Singin’ in the Rain. It’s one of a handful of movies where all the stars align.

Is there a piece of music that isn’t in the standard orchestral repertoire that should be? No, but there are a few I’d like to scratch from the standard rep.

What’s the last recording you purchased? I downloaded Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu.

What’s on your iPod? Probably a stack of etude books. I can’t find my iPod.

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? My parents had a Philadelphia Orchestra LP of Mahler’s Second Symphony with Eugene Ormandy and Singing City Chorus that I almost wore a hole in, I listened to it so much. When I was about 14, I finally heard the Orchestra perform Beethoven’s Third Symphony (in a high-school gymnasium, of all places) and I was completely mesmerized by the incredible beauty of the sound. That’s when I set my sights on being a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Any hall with a convenient parking lot.

Photo by Jessica Griffin; Cartoon by Jeffrey Curnow