Mid-Week Musician in the Spotlight: Casey Buck

By: Rebecca Kirkpatrick

Mid-Week Musician in the Spotlight: Casey Buck

Each week we will highlight a musician with some different facts our patrons wouldn't have otherwise known. This week our Musician in the Spotlight is ASO cellist, Casey Buck. Let’s get to know Casey a little better:

What is your hometown?
I was born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up on Long Island, moved to Atlanta, GA in middle school, attended college and grad school in New Orleans, moved to Russellville, Arkansas, and now reside in Conway.

Who is your favorite composer and why?
Never ask a musician this question! Where do I begin?!? I think if I had to choose, it would be J.S. Bach for the near perfection he creates through harmony and counterpoint, or Johannes Brahms for his lush textures and melodies.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
To learn anything by putting it under my pillow at night (new music, literature, instructions, and guides for building or making various things).

Who inspires you?
My family. My dad is a role model of hard work and devotion to family. My wife and two daughters make me want to be my best every day in all that I do.

Any other fun facts you'd like to share about yourself?
I'm a Hurricane Katrina refugee. We relocated to Arkansas and originally stayed with my wife's parents, and then slowly but surely found opportunities in central Arkansas for us to use our God-given talents and abilities. My wife teaches in the music department at Arkansas Tech, and I teach public school orchestra in Conway, in addition to directing the ASYO Preparatory Orchestra and playing with the fantastic ASO cello section!

This weekend is our second Masterworks concert, "French Connection." What excites you about this concert?
It’s always fascinating playing Ravel and Debussy. They use the same basic musical language as the other “greats” of the classical repertoire, but their music extends the harmonies and makes use of different types of sounds that we don’t hear in the mainstream symphonic composers. It’s much less about creating and resolving tension or developing a melodic idea and much more about the interplay of light and color, just like in Impressionist painting. You can hear these subtle shades in the sound, and as a musician it’s interesting to delve into how they created a whole different style of music by merging Far Eastern sounds with jazz and the classical idiom.

I’ve always been amazed how composers in the Western tradition all use the same 12 tones and create a practically infinite variety of music. That’s why Beethoven doesn’t sound like Shostakovich, and Ravel and Debussy can sound so unique and yet in many ways familiar, a lot like hearing different dialects of the same language. It’s fascinating to study how the nuances of inflection, idiom, cadence, and even rhythm in spoken language, and in this case music, can be so diverse and yet all have common threads that make them understandable and approachable for anyone.
Mid-Week Musician in the Spotlight: Casey Buck