Category Archives: Music

Episode 012 – No Average Joe – Questions from a Carolina Listener

For the last episode of season 1 of Stages to Success, I respond to questions posed by a faithful listener since episode 1, Joe from the Carolinas.   Joe wants to go deeper into the mind and motivations of the performer, on the concert stage and in the commercial real estate sales office.  Drawing on some of the interview material from season 1, as well as some off air discussions, I reflect on Joe’s questions.    Join us for Season 2 of the podcast, scheduled for October.

Episode 010 – On Mozart and Baseball

Know a little about baseball, and want to learn about Mozart, or vice versa?  Jump into the parallel universes of Jim Moffitt,  36-year clarinetist of the Hawaii Symphony and for even longer, a walking encyclopedia of baseball.  Join John and Jim as they flit back and forth from two of Jim’s passionate provinces, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Episode 008 – Hey Comrade, No Frisbee in Red Square – The Career Changing Moments for Violinist Frank Almond

Violinist Frank Almond’s career began in one of the first U.S. Suzuki studios, in San Diego California. From quitting the violin in his teens, to acceptance into the Juilliard School in only a few short years, his career took him to Moscow, a violin competition memorialized in an ’80’s documentary, to concertmaster positions in New York City Ballet, Texas, London, Holland, and Milwaukee-where his career took maybe the strangest turn of all, all due to an email from out of the blue. Listen to this 4th of July episode that will tie together the worlds of America, Soviet Moscow, and the Italian Baroque.


Episode 006 – From the Barn to the Concert Stage

Episode 6 of “Stages to Success” is an interview with Susan Slaughter, retired principal trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony and Gail Williams, retired Associate Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, Gail and Susan reigned imperiously in the brass sections of their respective orchestras.  Susan recorded extensively as principal trumpet in St. Louis, and Gail’s Chicago Symphony brass section was generally regarded as the finest in the world.   Gail  and Susan are pioneers among women in brass sections, and title chairs.  Listen to their tales of skyrocketing to the pinnacle of their careers, which each started in rural America.

Episode 004 – The Six Million Dollar Musicians, Doug Prosser and Chris Wu

Episode 4 of “Stages to Success” is an interview with Doug Prosser, principal trumpet of the Rochester Philharmonic and Chris Wu, from the first violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony.  Doug and Chris both stared down the barrel of a career-ending injury very early in their promising careers.   Their returns to the symphony orchestra are remarkable and inspiring.   Hear how Doug had to rebuild from the very beginnings of his studies, and how Chris cheated death and came back to his career that has taken him to concerts around the world.

Episode 002 – The Inimitable Don Harry, Tuba Icon of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Episode 2 of “Stages to Success” is an interview of Don Harry, Principal Tuba of the Buffalo Philharmonic for 44 seasons. Don is one of very few American Indian musicians to ever work in the world’s great orchestras. Hear the story of Don’s career climb, from true outsider in a small Oklahoma town, to the dizzying heights of his orchestral career, playing concerts internationally with great orchestras, and teaching at the Juilliard and Eastman schools. Don is a much of an iconoclast as an icon. Listen to his unvarnished look back at his career, and the individuals he’s encountered along the way.