I began learning to play the trumpet over fourteen years ago, and to this day I am still trying to figure out how to play this fiendishly difficult instrument. Somehow, despite my difficulties blowing air through this piece of metal plumbing, I became the principal trumpet of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra in September of 2018 and hold this position currently.
My interest in music goes back to my obsession with Star Wars when I was seven or eight years old. The Star Wars theme is responsible for me picking the trumpet, in part. The story I like to tell goes something like this: when I was eight years old, I was playing in the backyard of my childhood home (probably reenacting a scene from Star Wars in my imagination) when I heard the Star Wars theme emanating from my neighbor’s home, being played on some sort of brass instrument. Long story short, my mom discovered that our neighbor was a professional musician and instructor, and I soon began taking lessons with him.
I discovered the music of Gustav Mahler in my junior year of high school. I remember only being able to digest just a minute or two of his hour-long symphonies and thinking that I would never fully understand them, let alone having the chance to actually perform such grand works of art. This was also around the time I began practicing my instrument with more diligence and focus in an effort to audition for a youth orchestra. It was dream for me to play the music of Mahler and other composers in a symphony orchestra, and this motivated me beyond words to practice as hard as I possibly could. I soon auditioned for a local youth orchestra in the Bay Area and was accepted for the 2014-2015 season. I was very lucky: the first piece of music I performed with that wonderful ensemble was Mahler’s 1st Symphony. It was genuinely a dream come true and an unforgettable experience.
Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to perform in many more ensembles and explore the orchestral repertoire even more. Since my first youth orchestra experience, I’ve had the privilege of playing in the following ensembles:
- El Camino Youth Symphony
- Purdue University Symphony Orchestra
- Purdue University Wind Ensemble
- University of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra
- UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra
- Redwood Symphony
- UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
In 2019, I also joined Indigo Elephant, an indie pop band based in Davis. We perform occasionally in and around Davis, and some of the band’s music can be found on Spotify: