S02E12 – Windscape

About our Interview with

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.

Links to learn more

Windscape’s Web Page
Windscape’s Facebook Page
Windscape’s Management Page


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S01E44 – Janet Rarick

About our interview with Janet Rarick

Janet Rarick, Associate Professor of Music Career Development at Rice University Shepherd School of Music shared how her own career developed and how she found her way to teaching. We talk about; the importance of taking chances on opportunities, the importance of having support system of colleagues, the process in creating a career class, various ways in teaching career skills, defining a successful career and finding a creative outlet no matter what career path one takes, understanding your inner critic, the importance of performance experience in helping with performance anxiety, the importance of personal skills in getting and keeping a job and the skill of speaking to an audience.

Links to learn more about Janet Rarick


A photo of Janet Rarick

S01E41 – Howard Wiseman

About our interview with Howard Wiseman

Instrument case designer and maker, Howard Wiseman talked with Kevin Chavez during the summer 2014-Double Reed Conference in New York. Howard made his first case when he was 15 years old as a result of having difficulties carrying his heavy bassoon. The first order for a case was from his bassoon teacher, which lead to more requests for cases. While studying for a performance bassoon career, he continued making cases. Howard today continues to play and teach bassoon along side of his case and sports coaching businesses. Producing only bassoon cases for the first 13 years, he later branched out to other instruments and multiple instruments. A lifetime guarantee is offered with all his cases and he never compromising on quality. Known for his innovation, he is always looking towards new designs and projects following his passion for creating and building things.

Links to learn more about Howard Wiseman

Wiseman Cases Website

Howard Wiseman Headshot
Howard Wiseman Headshot

S01E34 – Sarah Thelen Rude

About our interview with Sarah Thelen Rude

Sarah Thelen Rude studied Oboe in college and after graduating started at Fox Products as a diagnostician and oboe builder. Eight years later she also repairs and is part of oboe product development. She and Kevin talk about how Fox Products is able to make a great intermediate instrument, increasing their product line to meet the needs of oboe players, oboe product innovations, how to improve and maintain the expectations of the oboe sound and what Fox has in the planning stages for product development.

Links to learn more about Sarah Thelen Rude


Sarah with Oboes
Sarah Standing in front of an array of fox oboes and english horns

S01E31 – Sherry Sylar

About our interview with Sherry Sylar

Sherry Sylar joined us for a lively conversation about her responsibilities over the last 30 years as the Associate Principal Oboist at the New York Philharmonic. She shares many stories of how she is often called in at the last moment to perform for all the principal parts, as well as playing the Oboe d’amore and English Horn. Among the topics we talked about; the various musicians committees at the New York Philharmonic, her path to the New York Philharmonic and her audition process, performance anxiety and the art of preparation, teaching and how it has affected her playing and how to practice, reed making, oboe brands, her process of recording a solo cd, managing the large amount of repertoire in practice and how she found her way to choosing the oboe.

Links to learn more about Sherry Sylar


Sherry Sylar

S01E29 – Nancy Huang

About our interview with Nancy Huang

Nancy Huang, owner of RDG Woodwinds talked with Kevin during the 2014 International Double Reed Conference.  Nancy tells the  story as to how she became a proprietor of RDG Woodwinds after realizing that performing would not be her primary career path. She talks about; her company, how she has developed her business in offering wide selections, working with various artists and teachers, selecting instruments, instrument repair, stocking inventory, selling used instruments and RDG’s support to artists and students.

Links to learn more about Nancy Huang

RDG’s Website
RDG’s Facebook Page

Nancy Huang and the RDG Gang
Nancy Huang and the RDG Crew on Nancy’s 10th Anniversary as the owner of RDG

S01E17 – James Austin Smith

About our interview with James Austin Smith

We were delighted to have Oboist James Austin Smith share so many facets of his active career. First he talks about his steps to choosing the oboe and a career path, which steered him from an undergraduate double degree in political science and oboe to a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany, then back to the United States for a Masters at Yale. James talks about the difference of the European style of oboe playing and auditioning and how experiencing this led him to vary his career trajectory which is always goal driven, but how the path to that goal can be diverse. He shares his ideas about programing and the importance of being thoughtful about repertoire choice. Speaking candidly about his realization that he didn’t want the orchestral oboist path and finding his relevance in the music world, following a new route to a career. As a teacher he talks about how he focuses his students on the most important skills needed for a successful career.

Link to learn more about James Austin Smith


James Austin Smith Headshot
James Austin Smith Headshot

S01E14 – Kevin Chavez

About our interview with Kevin Chavez

Co-Host Kevin Chavez is in the hot seat, allowing our listeners to get to know his projects and various career paths. He talks at length about the inspiration for developing his idea of “Reed ebooks” and how he found his way to being a double reed player. His exceptional drive and focus lead him to various careers, including human resources, which sidetracked his music career for a few years but later lead him back to pursuing a Masters degree in English Horn in New York City. Kevin shares a skill that permeates throughout his career paths; beginning with the end in mind. Discovered by necessity was his ability and love of photography, which has added yet another dimension to his varied career.

Links to learn more about Kevin Chavez


Kevin Chavez Headshot
Kevin Chavez poses casually with his English Horn

S01E06 – Chris Reza

What’s in this Episode

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.



Chris Reza Headshot
Chris Reza Headshot