Musician Spotlight: Timothy MacDuff

By: Kendall Carwile

How old were you when you started to play Viola?

I was 12 years old when my middle school orchestra teacher convinced me to pick up the viola.

When did you start playing with the ASO?

This is my first season with the ASO! I'm delighted to be a part of this friendly and hardworking group of musicians.

How did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in music?

When I was 16, I spent a summer at New England Music Camp in Maine. It was that summer when I first heard and performed chamber music by Brahms and Dvorak as well as symphonic music by Shostakovich and Sibelius. By the end of the summer, I knew I wanted to study and perform music for the rest of my life.

What has been your favorite ASO concert so far? Any that you are especially excited about?

I've enjoyed all of the concerts this season but our opening concert was very special to me. Ravel's La Valse was an absolute thrill to play under JoAnn Falletta's leadership. I'm excited to play Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy. For me personally, there are two very beautiful "magic moments" in this piece that always put a smile on my face.

If you could play any other instrument other than your own, what would it be? 

Definitely the French horn! The horn has many incredible solos in symphonic repertoire, film scores, and operas.

Who is your favorite composer? 

This is a difficult question for me to answer since my interests are always changing. I would say Prokofiev is one of my favorites, especially his music from Romeo and Juliet.

What advice would you give someone who is wanting to pursue a career in music? 

Trust your teachers because they want you to succeed. My former teacher told me "be nice and play beautifully, simple as that."

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

I usually drink some chamomile tea before a concert to relax. After that, I try to imagine what it will feel like to walk on stage and play the first few notes of whatever I am performing since I find starting to be one of the hardest parts.

What is a favorite moment you've had while being a part of the Quapaw String Quartet?

Playing Milhaud on the opening River Rhapsodies concert this season was so fun!

Musician Spotlight: Timothy MacDuff