Violin soloist Nicholas Pappone shares insight into his upcoming performance of Leonard Bernstein's Serenade on Saturday, September 25.
TCS: Tell us a little something fun about yourself that isn't in your bio?
NP: I played baseball competitively growing up in Los Angeles. My all-star teams traveled to tournaments all around Southern California. I was a second baseman and leadoff batter and specialized in stealing bases. I am a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
TCS: How did you come to choose your instrument?
NP: As my bio says, I started playing the violin at 10 years old due to a role I had to play in a movie during my career as a child actor. In the three years after that I enjoyed listening to recordings of all the great violinists and violin repertoire while driving hours across Los Angeles to acting auditions and sets. By the time I was 13, I had fallen in love with the violin and it’s history so much that I decided to quit my acting career and go to conservatory to become a violinist.
TCS: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
NP: A life in classical music, if led well, is dedicated to principals higher than oneself. This art form is about reaching for the philosophical and spiritual in order to sustain and inspire the best in human nature. When I chose to pursue violin as a career, this purpose was a defining factor.
TCS: What sets TCS apart from other orchestras?
NP: Being a musician-run orchestra makes TCS unique in its artistic and business creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. Its ability to reach new audiences and serve the community is unmatched as a result. TCS is presenting a model of the future of classical music and its resilience and relevance.
TCS: Who are your favorite musicians, past and/or present?
NP: I will say “most influential”: Lorin Maazel, Fritz Kreisler, Pinchas Zukerman, Leonard Bernstein, Rodney Friend (former concertmaster, London Philharmonic). They were influential to me because they share a musicianship that is defined by an inherent charismatic communication and inspiring impact on the audience. I admire a performer whose most basic value is to speak to the audience, not by any theatrical, academic, or intellectual artifice, but through a love of pure expressive beauty.
TCS: What do you carry with you in your instrument case?
NP: Lapel pins from Dodger World Series years, replacement strings, my preferred music pencils, pens, violin peg compound, chinrest key, business cards, chapstick, lucky Chinese jade, my calendar…basically it is my man purse.
TCS: What is your ideal day of practice?
NP: Any day that is practicing in the woods of rural New England at a summer festival.
TCS: What do you do to set yourself up for success on the day of an important performance?
NP: Treat it like a normal day. I try to make playing my best a way of life, regardless of daily obstacles or circumstances.
TCS: Why did you choose to perform this piece with TCS?
NP: I have a great affinity for Bernstein’s music and conducting, and I have loved the Bernstein Serenade since I first heard it. The greater message behind the piece deals with the purpose of our humanity and what a perfect vehicle classical music proves to be for that.