Alec Blazek

Hometown: Clovis, New Mexico
Member of the Nashville Symphony since 2016

What inspired you to become a musician?
It was a gradual transition to becoming a full-fledged musician. I loved being a part of the ensemble process when I first joined band in middle school, and it was just something I grew to love. I also had great teachers.

What led you to the trumpet?
I had a friend a few years older who was in the band, and he said, “You’ve got to try this out, it’s so much fun.” Every year in the fifth grade, they had people come in and try instruments. I tried the trumpet, and I tried the trombone just to try it out, but I was going to play the trumpet. And here I am!

What interested you in the Nashville Symphony?
I decided to audition when I saw the opening because I knew Nashville was such a great city and it would be a great place to be. I had also heard recordings of the Nashville Symphony early on. I remember listening to Michael Daugherty’s Metropolis Symphony CD — several years ago, we played the “Red Cape Tango” movement in my high school marching band. I remember listening to that recording and thinking, “This is amazing.”

Had you been to Nashville before?
Only when I had the audition. I’ve done a little bit of exploring since I got here, but I like the variety of the city feel with parks just five minutes away. It’s a really beautiful city with a lot to it, and I love the music scene here. I’ve never listened to a lot of country music, but it’s already starting to grow on me, in ways I didn’t expect.

Where were you before coming to Nashville?
I was at Indiana University pursuing my master’s. Before that, I was in Albuquerque pursuing my undergraduate in music education and music performance. I played in a couple regional orchestras while I was going to school. I played in the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, and I subbed regularly with the Columbus Philharmonic in Columbus, Indiana.

What was your impression of Nashville before you came here?
I knew that it had a rich history in country music, but I didn’t know that much about the city in general. I imagined it being a fairly large city, but it’s actually kind of pleasant and not as overwhelming as New York or Chicago. I had a feeling that there would be a pretty good food scene, and I was not disappointed. So I’ve still got plenty of places to go. I went to Hattie B’s for hot chicken, and I got the second hottest, the right under “you need a doctor.” So it was pretty intense.

If you’re going to program an orchestra concert, what would you put on the program?
One thing I really like about the Nashville Symphony is that there are newer pieces of music on almost every program, and I think that’s really important. So if I were to program an orchestra concert, I probably wouldn’t program anything that anybody knew, but was still exciting and engaging for the performers and audience. There are a few pieces I’ve heard recently that I’d love to program—there’s a symphony by Volkmar Andreae, who’s a Swiss composer. Other than that, I’m not exactly sure.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not busy rehearsing and performing?
I like going on bike rides, and just wandering around whenever I get the chance, exploring the parks, the city. I am a bit of a foodie, so I like exploring new places and wandering into a restaurant not knowing what I’m going to get. I like watching new TV shows and movies, and I am a big chess player as well.

Why does classical music matter?
Because it is a part of our culture. Classical music has been passed down to us, and it has been the music that we have grown up with for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s so entrenched in our being, and it has so much power to make us feel things that a lot of other music doesn’t quite tap in to.

You did brass and drum corps. How did that prepare you for playing in an orchestra?
I did three years of drum corps back in my early college days, marching in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps and the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. The kind of preparation that goes into those sorts of situations — 11-hour days of rehearsal, and you’re exerting a lot of physical strain on your body — prepares you to be on your game and to not have any excuses for anything. I’m really appreciative of those lessons, because I’m always ready to go in and just have fun and lay it down.

Favorite composer?
Right now, Gustav Mahler

Favorite piece of music?
The Verdi Requiem

Favorite musician?
Jacob Collier

Favorite Trumpeter?
Håkan Hardenberger for classical, Doc Severinsen for jazz

What was the first concert you ever attended?
Not a lot of concerts in my hometown, but I think the first big concert that I ever went to was Muse in Albuquerque, on their Resistance tour.

First record you ever owned?
The Autumn Effect by 10 Years

Favorite venue other than the Schermerhorn, of course?
The Aspen Music Festival tent

Favorite Movie?
The Incredibles

Favorite TV Show?

Favorite Book?
W. Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Tennis

Favorite Food?
Cajun Food