Where it all started

Huntington Beach, CA

My mom gave me a cello when I was 7 and found Vicki Bacon, a local cellist, to get me started. I don’t remember much from those first couple of years except that she insisted that I play in tune (thanks, Ms. Bacon!!).

 

At around 10, I began lessons with Richard Naill at the Colburn School. I’m so grateful for his patient and precise instruction. Especially for his persistence in making sure my technique was natural and relaxed. To this day, I haven’t missed a rehearsal or performance due to injury and the foundation he laid has allowed me to develop complex musical ideas without technique getting in the way.

Los Angeles, CA

At the end of my junior year in high school, I started taking lessons with Marlin Owen, Professor of Cello at Biola University. This led to a spot in his university studio and four wonderful years at Biola. 

 

These were core training years and I owe a great deal to Mr. Owen. His generosity, thoughtfulness, and holistic approach have shaped me more than any other teacher. My love of chamber music was fueled into a blaze at Biola and I gained many lifelong friends – most importantly, my beautiful wife! She wasn’t a music major, but I managed to meet and convince her to give me a chance despite being an orc-dork!

After studying with Marlin Owen for about three years, he wanted me to take lessons from other teachers in the area and graciously set me up with two well-known Los Angeles teachers: Andrew Shulman (LA Chamber Orchestra, USC) and Ron Leonard (Colburn Conservatory). 


These two teachers were quite tough on me. I’m grateful for it now but at the time it seemed a bit intense. They cut me no slack and kept me from settling into a comfortable/lazy routine during the last years of college.

Memphis, TN

 Jessica and I took off for Memphis as newlyweds and stayed there for three years. The master’s program was only two years long, but halfway through, I decided to stay on for an extra year to learn more from my teacher, Leonardo Altino. 

 

Extending the program freed up my schedule, so I added conducting as another concentration under the instruction of Pu-Qi Jiang. I worked and toured as a coach for a youth orchestra during the last year, won several competitions, and soloed with the Memphis University Orchestra and the LaGrange Symphony. 

Lansing, MI

 After graduating with my master’s degree, we moved to Lansing so I could study with Suren Bagratuni at Michigan State University. Suren’s studio was warm and welcoming. Through his teaching, I learned to trust my playing and go for it – no apologies. 

I auditioned and won a fellowship with the Montgomery Symphony in Alabama and after I finished my studies with Suren we moved there in 2017.

Montgomery, AL

 As cello fellow with the Montgomery Symphony, I had the time and financial space to practice, teach, and perform without depending on gigs or other jobs. After a year as fellow, I landed a faculty position at Auburn University. I was also conducting the Montgomery Music Project and the Auburn Community Orchestra in addition to keeping up my private studio. BUSY 😃

 

During the Spring of 2019, Jessica and I were considering whether to stay in Alabama or look for other opportunities. I was interested in getting my DMA and applied to UCLA and Stony Brook University. After being accepted to both, we chose New York – excited to study with Colin Carr and hopeful that I’d be able to play in a quartet as part of the Emerson String Quartet Institute.

Stony Brook, NY

The four years in New York were truly remarkable and unforgettable. My hopes of being in a string quartet and studying with the Emerson Quartet came to life and Colin was a fantastic teacher for me, stretching me musically by requiring me to grapple with sound, harmony, and nuance – things I’ll continue to develop for the rest of my life.

During the last two years of my DMA, my quartet, the Pelia Quartet, won several competition prizes and appeared at festivals around the world. We had amazing experiences and performed in beautiful and unexpected places. Our last performances – with Colin, in Woodstock, and at Stony Brook – will continue to be very special to me.

Sammamish, WA

Here we are! 

My goal in this community is to create space for aspiring string players to grow individually and as part of chamber ensembles. I firmly believe chamber music is the best way to deepen one’s understanding of music and level up one’s ‘ear’. To that end, I’m putting my energy towards creating excellent chamber music opportunities on the East Side and teaching the next generation of cellists.

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