Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
Member of the Nashville Symphony since 2007
Can you explain the role of the second violin section? How do your parts differ from what the first violins are playing?
The seconds' role varies a lot with each piece. Sometimes we play the melody alongside the first violins, but more often we provide harmonic interest and sometimes counterpoint to the firsts. We also collaborate more often with our lower-voiced colleagues, especially the violas and cello. It's a really interesting role in the orchestra.
Which composers write the best music for the second violins?
The second violin parts in Haydn’s symphonies work really well — they’re full of surprising and interesting moments. It’s always fun playing Mahler, where the second violins play a very important role in the music.
What are you most looking forward to performing this season?
I’m really looking forward to playing with Renée Fleming, whom I consider to be the finest singer living today and with whom I've never gotten the chance to work. I'm also excited every time violinist James Ehnes comes to Nashville. Not only James an incredible soloist, but he's also one of my family's best friends.
What do you enjoy about being a member of the Nashville Symphony?
There's nothing better than making a living playing concerts with great musicians. My colleagues in the orchestra make work fun. We're a tight-knit group who enjoy spending time with one another, even off the clock.
What makes the Nashville Symphony audience special?
I think Nashville presents a unique variety of concerts, which appeal to nearly everyone in our community. Because of this, I see many new faces in the hall almost every night. There are also the core fans, without whose support none of this would be possible. It was almost overwhelming to see the huge number of Nashvillians who made the trip to New York last year for our Carnegie Hall performance. I don't know many other orchestras that have that level of audience dedication.
What do you most want people in our community to know about the Nashville Symphony?
That they should try it! I have talked to countless people around town who tell me that they've been meaning to come to the Schermerhorn since it opened, but haven't quite gotten around to it. I think some people have the perception that if they come to a classical concert, they might feel out of place. Of course, everyone reading this right now knows that's not true! Newcomers should know that the Schermerhorn is not an intimidating place to experience live music. In fact, it's one of the city's most friendly and welcoming venues.