Musician Spotlight: John Williams


John Williams - 2nd Violin Parker SymphonyOur next installment of Musician Spotlight focuses on one of our members who shares a name with a very famous composer – John Williams. John is a member of our second violin section, but there’s so much more to him than just a famous name! Like did you know he’s a flight instructor? And that he makes cheese? Get to know John better below.

 

How long have you played with the PSO?

I am in my 8th season. I began the first season that the orchestra moved to PACE.

 

What’s is your favorite piece you’ve played with the PSO?

There have been many memorable pieces. I would say probably Dvorak’s New World Symphony if I have to choose one.

 

How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

I started playing instruments as a child. I always liked the violin because of the range of music that one can play, e.g., classical, folk, country, etc.

 

Do you play other instruments?

I play the piano a bit. I used to play a couple of others, but it’s been so long that I would have to relearn them.

 

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

I think that learning some of the more difficult orchestral pieces is challenging for me.

 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

 

Who are your favorite composers?

I suppose that I’m pretty traditional in that regard. I love Mozart’s music as well as Dvorak.

 

Are you from Colorado originally?

I grew up in Houston, but I have lived in the Denver area for around 34 years now.

 

When you are not playing with the PSO, what are you doing?

I am an attorney, but I took inactive status several years ago, as I switched to an aviation career. I still work full time for a medical helicopter/medical transport company. I am also a part-time flight instructor.

 

Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

My wife and I live on a small farm in Elbert County. We have horses, chickens, goats, dogs, cats and honey bees. I raise dairy goats, and I enjoy making cheese and other products with their milk. All of these activities keep me very busy.

 

Do you get tired of the John Williams jokes?

Not really. I just wish that I had as much talent as my famous namesake.

 

What is your life motto?

I don’t really have a motto, but I always keep trying to learn new things. I think that it keeps life interesting.

 

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that I really enjoy playing with the orchestra, and I feel fortunate to have that opportunity.

John Williams On The Farm


Musician Spotlight: Cindy Carrier


Cindy Carrier 2You may have noticed a new face in the first violin section. We have a new concertmaster, Cindy Carrier. If you read the announcement, you probably already know she is an established violinist and a music teacher, currently teaching elementary school music in Castle Rock. But there’s so much more to Cindy. Keep reading to learn more and be sure to come see her perform with the Parker Symphony at one of our upcoming concerts.

 

How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

Growing up we had music on almost all the time, and a wide variety of genres. I remember listening to the Amadeus soundtrack as a kid on holidays and pretending to conduct an orchestra while listening. I took piano lessons as a young kid, and it was fun, but the violin always looked like a fun instrument to play, so when I finally got to 5th grade when I could play an instrument in school, I already knew I wanted to play the violin. I have been playing ever since.

 

What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

The occasional lack of respect for musicians, or the idea that some people have that music is all fun and just requires talent, and doesn’t require hard work. Whenever I run into people who have those ideas, I try to educate them on how hard musicians work, how rewarding it is, and it’s not just talent that makes someone a good musician.

 

Do you have a fond musical memory you can share?

I remember listening to Tchaikovsky pieces, including March Slave and The 1812 Overture, with my grandparents visiting. We would all pretend to conduct the orchestra, and I always thought that was so fun. Whenever I hear those pieces I think about my grandparents.

 

What is/are your favorite piece(s) to play (on any instrument)?

I love to play Czardas because it brings me back to my Slovak and Hungarian roots (my paternal grandparents), as well as The Lark Ascending because it is soaringly beautiful. Then I love to turn around and play some bluegrass fiddle or Irish jigs and reels. I was in a string band in Kansas City before moving here and played lots of fiddle music with them, including a lot of busking at the local farmer’s markets, which was a lot of fun.

 

Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

I would love to repeat playing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. I played it in college and would love to play it again.

 

Who is/are your favorite composers?

My favorites are the Russian Romantics, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. It doesn’t get better than wearing your emotions on your sleeve and expressing the highest of highs and lowest of lows like only the Russians can do.

 

What brought you to Colorado?

My husband brought me to Colorado. He was accepted into medical school here in Parker, and so we got married and moved out here together. This year + being out here with him has been the best part of my life so far!

 

What music genres do you typically listen to?

I listen to so many genres of music. I do love the newer alternative rock (don’t judge!). Bands are more creative and more musical now, and I really enjoy the strong beats and fun melodies that some of those songs bring, especially since I listen to most music like that when I’m out for a run. I also love classical music, of course, and really appreciate KVOD radio out here. I may have the occasional hip-hop, country, folk, or other random genre in the shuffle on my Spotify playlist too.

 

What is your proudest accomplishment or happiest moment in life?

My proudest accomplishments so far have been running long distances. I have run 10 marathons and one 50k race, plus several half marathons and other distances. I am especially proud of the 50k race because at one time I never thought I would be able to run that far (32 miles) in one go. As a kid I had the academic and music talent but no athletic talent at all. Going from that to completing long distance races is a huge accomplishment for me, because it’s all hard work and effort, and NO talent. 🙂 Long distance running also makes me really happy (the endorphins from the runner’s high are real!).

I will add that ONE of the happiest days in my life was our wedding. My husband is an amazing man, and every day my relationship with him brings me such joy. Plus, our wedding was amazing!

 

Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

Since moving to Colorado my husband has gotten me into mountain biking, and I must say that Colorado is an amazing place to learn how to mountain bike. I am not at all an aggressive rider, but have slowly gained more confidence. Don’t expect to see me taking any jumps, though!

Last summer I learned how to scuba dive, and my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Cozumel where we did several ocean and cenote (almost like cave) diving.

 

If you weren’t a musician and a teacher, what do you think you would do as a career?

Quite possibly a chef! I love to cook and could see myself cooking or baking as a career, since I already spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen.

 

What are some of the most important lessons you seek to pass on to your students?

I want them to feel comfortable taking risks and know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Growing up I wanted to do everything right the first time and didn’t want to take risks, but I have found that I learn best by diving into something and making mistakes. I also want them to enjoy music, no matter what level they choose to engage in it, whether they become professional musicians or simply appreciate music.

 

What is your favorite food?

I really enjoy dark chocolate!

 

What are your favorite phone apps (musical or otherwise)?

I really enjoy Spotify—making my own playlists of music, finding others, and having a chance to explore listening to music through this app. A close second is YouTube, because you can find almost anything there! I use YouTube quite a bit with my students to show them orchestras and other musical performances.

 

What are some important responsibilities of being a concertmaster of an orchestra?

I believe it is critical for the concertmaster to know her part and have the bowings worked out as soon as possible. Also, to be available to assist any members, not just the violins, in any helpful way.

 

What do you most look forward to as concertmaster for the PSO?

Having the opportunity be a musical leader and getting to know the members of the PSO.

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