Place of employment (what do you do & where?): President and CEO of Brevard Music Center
Tell us about your children/spouse/pets:
My wife (Susanne) and I have a wonderful son named Zach who is a superb bartender and student at the University of Colorado in Boulder. We share our home with two small and cute dogs, one is 12 and the other less than a year old. They differ greatly in what they both consider fun (sleeping for one and yapping for the other)
What part of your job at Brevard Music Center do you most love?
Walking around the beautiful campus when filled with our talented students and faculty, and listening to the music.
What’s the audition process for kids applying to BMC? Everyone must submit an audition tape. It is very competitive.
What’s life like for them during a summer at BMC? (what’s a typical day like for these kids?)
Daily life for a student is intense. And the students would have it no other way. For instance, opera students usually have their first call at 9 am and then spend almost all day in movement classes, vocal rehearsals acting rehearsals and private and group coachings. The day can stretch till 11 pm.
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What’s a typical day like for you?
During the season, pretty much the same as the students! In early, work with the excellent staff most of the day and then attend performances at night.
Any special memories from your time at BMC? The most wonderful concert I attended was the high school orchestra performing at the end of the season, in essence the culmination of their learning at BMC. It was conducted by Keith Lockhart our amazing Artistic Director. I literally saw the cello section rise 10 feet off the floor while performing! Really!
Tell us more about your wife’s “musical” background and experience!
Susanne (Marsee) was the leading Mezzo-Sprano at New York City Opera for over 24 years. She was Beverly Sills’ preferred partner and sang with all the great artists of our time (Domingo etc). She is also the most “undivaish Diva” you will ever meet. That’s one of the many reasons why I love her.
What’s one item on your bucket list?
I don’t believe in bucket lists, but I do like new and interesting experiences.
How do you like to spend your time when not working? Mostly thinking about work.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? (the worst advice you’ve ever gotten?)
Best advice was to always hire the “best athlete”. Worst advice I cannot remember.
Ever had a brush with a celebrity?
A few, but my grandfather always reminded me that they all put their pants on one leg at a time.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Brevard?
The people we meet here are so nice and we have made many friends.
Any funny stories to share (about Brevard or anything)? My “undivaish Diva has joined the Rockin Bowl Bowling League and loves it!! Her handicap is very high!
What do you remember as your least favorite school subject? Geometry. I am an Algebra kind of guy.
What’s the best practical joke you ever played on someone? I have mostly been the recipient rather than the purveyor of practical jokes.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An adult
Name some popular hit songs from your youth.
“Babe, I Got You Babe” “War, Huh, What is it good For?” “Kill the Wabbit!”
What kind of music do you like to listen to today?
I love all music except rap and progressive jazz. Besides classical music and opera, one of my most favorite genres of music is Fado. Look it up!
What was your first job ever? I was a lifeguard. What a great job!
Have you ever been in a life-threatening situation?
Only once, but since I was unconscious for most of that time, I have no real memory of it. The brain works with kindness sometimes.
What famous person inspired you the most while growing up?
Not famous, but the person I have always most admired was my father.
What was the last good book you read?
Best recent book was man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
What’s your most embarrassing moment with your children?
The joint realization among Susan, Zach and me that sometimes Zach was right and Susan and I were wrong. It has happened more than once.
What’s your favorite indulgence? french fries
What’s your most extravagant purchase ever?
We still have a very nice condo in DC if anyone is interested!
What are your dreams for the coming year? The next 5 years?
To continue to make Brevard our home and help the Brevard Music Center achieve all of its potential.