Associate Principal, Peter & Jacqueline Hoefer Chair
Associate Principal Cello
Peter & Jacqueline Hoefer Chair
Member since 1999
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY
My family—my parents and my two brothers are wonderful musicians, as are my wife Amy [Hiraga, SFS violinist], and my two children. I’m inspired by all of them. I’ve always gotten a lot of encouragement from my family and my teachers, and I’ve thrived on that kind of support.
On becoming a musician:
I became a professional musician when I was 14. I joined the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and that was my first experience working and making some money. It just seemed like it was apparent that I would become a musician from early on. At that time, there weren’t that many kids who were doing what I was doing. Of course now, there are hundreds, but then, it felt like it was a very unique thing.
All the good hobbies are too dangerous—I can’t afford to break my arm or a finger! So, I started doing bonsai, which is pretty safe. I study with [SFS Associate Principal Clarinetist] Luis Baez, who is my mentor. I’m a beginner, so I’m just working to keep my six plants alive. I also work hard to stay fit. And I’m at the cello all the time, beyond what I do here at Davies. I’m constantly working on some project, whether its chamber music or a recital.
On being in the Orchestra:
I love to work, and luckily, we have constant work here. For me, the more the better. Every week, we have a different program or a different style of music, and our skill sets are constantly changing. We play contemporary music, Baroque music—everything. So, I really like to keep my expectations open and allow myself to be surprised by things that I may not know. I’m interested in pieces that I have never seen before, and I’m always hopeful that I’ll love something new that we’re doing.