Dr. Tara O’Connor lit up the studio (as she does every place she goes) with her joviality and quick wit. In the interview it became apparent that if you really love what you do, you never need a “vacation”. Aside from teaching at numerous high-level music programs and performing in many prestigious professional performance ensembles, she makes time for personal music projects she believes in. As a flutist (not “flout-ist”) she had never felt the gravitational pull of the orchestral establishment being artistically fulfilled and free to blaze her own path as she has done so successfully. In our interview, you will not be able to help but be inspired and energized by her apparent love of music and the flute. And cooking. And photography.
Woodwind Quintet – “Windscape” members, Tara Helen O’Connor, Randall Ellis, Alan R. Kay, David Jolley and Frank Morelli joined us for a lively conversations about their collaboration for over two decades of performing. We talked about their start, their first program and how they became associated with the Manhattan School of Music. Known for their thematic programing, they discuss how they; create arrangements, the process in road testing their new arrangements, finding new music, create programs and how to talk to an audience. We also spent time on the mundane logistics of getting five busy people together for rehearsals and how they have learned to rehearse efficiently. Throughout our conversation they focused on the importance of offering great music to audiences and focusing on the audience’s experience. From our conversation you can hear how much “joy” they have working together and their mutual esteem as colleagues allow them to work together so effectively.
Flutist, Martha Cargo trained as a classical flutist as well as a contemporary flutist. Her abilities also expand to the non-profit world as a consultant and administrator. She talks about; her exposure to contemporary flute music, the switch back and forth from contemporary to baroque, her current job as Assistant to the Music Director at the Americas Society, how she prepared herself in college for her current day job, how to find your brand and identity and her future performance plans.
Brandon George, a freelance Flutist shared with us how he has created a career for himself in New York City, playing chamber music groups, organizing a chamber music recital, teaching and hosting/producing a radio broadcast. Being “open” is an idea, which he held foremost in creating his path. His interest in contemporary music started as an undergraduate at the Oberlin Conservatory and this has lead to blending new and old music into programing evenly. Creating his own chamber music recital series he has championed programing new music along with the classics. Being an entrepreneur he finds ways to make projects happen and finds a balance in scheduling his workload along with teaching. Brandon offers specific skills students can focus on during their school years that may help them find their own career path.
Flutist, ethnic flutist, and woodwind doubler, Tereasa Payne shares her experience as a substitute for the Lion King and how she manages the show’s 13 world flutes, each character gets a specific sound. She talks about how she found her way to learning world flutes and how her obsession about practicing helped her to learn so many instruments. Tereasa shares the challenges of how she organizes the thirteen flutes for the show and how to grab the appropriate instrument at the right time so they will be warmed up in time. Maintenance of the flute due to climate changes is always a challenge, she tells how she deals with servicing and preventive maintenance. Starting off as an orchestral flutist, she started woodwind doubling as a hobby for fun as a change from classical. Balancing all the instruments and being good at all the instruments has given her a broader choice of performance opportunities and repertoire and her skills at knowing how to practice allowed her to maintain her skills on her principal instrument but add other instruments to her mastery. Moving from Florida to New York City, she and her husband found their path easy, since they had many contacts in the city from their time in Florida and finding themselves to Broadway. Changing her path from an orchestral flutist to an “instrument junky” has given her an exciting, diverse and challenging career. Traveling with all the instruments has proven to be a challenge and Tereasa shares how she manages this through airports.
Chris Reza, substitute Broadway multiple woodwind player, through his deliberate efforts in networking and his ability to play multiple instruments and styles, forged his own path to Broadway in less than a year after arriving in NYC! He learned very quickly how to be successful in a tough business. We talk about his process of networking, getting hired, practicing/learning, choosing instruments, time management skills, juggling many shows, and the struggle in learning new instruments. He shares his various experiences of Broadway playing, the hours, arrangement of the orchestra in a pit or off stage, click tracks, using headphones, being a substitute Broadway musician, getting that one show permanent position and the secrets to his success.