Hidden from small

Angela Zator Nelson - Behind the Scenes

February 27, 2018

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? I was born in Elmhurst, IL. 

What is your most treasured possession? Besides my family, my five-octave Marimba One. It lives on the first floor of our house. Every other percussion instrument we own is stored in the basement!

What’s your favorite Philadelphia restaurant? Any Stephen Starr restaurant. They have great food with fun themes. 

Tell us about your instrument. My husband and I are both percussionists, so we own eight timpani, three xylophones, two marimbas, two glockenspiels, a vibraphone, shelves of snare drums, rows of cymbals, and drawers of bells and whistles! 

What piece of music never fails to move you? Two pieces for two very different reasons: the second movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major because it gives me peace and serenity, and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony because it terrifies me.

When did you join the Orchestra? In 1999.

Do you play any other instruments? Piano and I’ve also taken some organ lessons. I was looking for an instrument even louder than percussion. 

What’s your favorite type of food? I don’t have a favorite, but I miss my Chicago pizzas and Portillo’s beef.

What books are on your nightstand? Hard copy or e-reader? I listen to audio books now since my commute into the city is long. My favorite author of the moment is Joyce Carol Oates.Do you have any hobbies? Driving a taxi—mom’s taxi.

What’s the last recording you purchased? CD or download? I recently downloaded Lady Gaga’s album Joanne. My daughters and I are all “Little Monsters.” 

When was the first time you heard The Philadelphia Orchestra? In 1997 when I auditioned at Temple University. I was so impressed with the lush sound quality. It was the best blend of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion that I had ever heard. I strive to perpetuate that sound.

Other than Verizon Hall, where is your favorite place to perform? Carnegie Hall. I always imagine the history of the impressive artists that have played there. Their music still resonates in the hall. I’m blessed to be able to add my voice. 

Photo by Jessica Griffin