Thursday, March 17, 2005
A conversation with . . .
Violinist, concertmaster Ramsey Husser
has musical reunion with brother, father
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Violinist Ramsey Husser, second assistant concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, is coming to Virginia Tech this weekend for a performance with the Chamber Orchestra of Southwest Virginia and Husser's father, Tech music department head John Husser.
Rounding out the family reunion is brother John III, a bassist with the Norfolk symphony. Ramsey Husser paused before boarding his plane to reflect on music and family.
This is the first concert you've played with both your father and brother, right?
Ramsey Husser: This will be the first time the three of us have performed, and it's been about 20 years at least since my brother and I have played together.
How did you get into music?
RH: I started when I was 3 or 4 years old, and my dad brought home a little violin, and he started both my brother and I and my sister, who lives in Blacksburg, also. . . . My parents started all of us very early on in music, and that's just sort of what I did all my life, and it wasn't until I was a teenager that I really started to take it seriously and really practice.
What was the turning point?
RH: I don't know . . . I just became aware that this is something that I really love and that I wanted to do as best as I could. . . . It's the music that I love, and it's playing the violin, the physical act of making music on the violin, on the instrument, that is just my world.
Any particular composers who influenced you more than others?
RH: I have favorites. I love Mozart . . . Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" is one of my favorite things to perform — it's just full of life, full of joy. . . . Beethoven, Prokofiev — I love Prokofiev, particularly his ballet "Romeo and Juliet" is some of the most beautiful music ever. And the Beethoven Late String Quartets — that's desert island music for me. . . . And some of the symphonies by Mahler are just life-altering pieces of music.
Where did you go to school to study music?
RH: I studied postsecondary in Vancouver [British Columbia, Canada] where I grew up, and then I finished my university at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.
Your brother, John III, plays with the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra sometimes, right?
RH: That's right. He plays the bass and he teaches at elementary and high schools, teaching music [director of orchestras, Great Bridge High School, Chesapeake]. He has God knows how many hundreds of students. . . . He also conducts. He performs and he teaches and he conducts — multifaceted.
He's a classically oriented bass player, right?
RH: Right, except he actually used to play jazz as well.
So what are you looking forward to most about the concert?
RH: It's also another reunion, not just with my father and my brother, but James Glazebrook, the conductor of the orchestra. I have worked with him before, but not for 20 years. So I actually got the idea to call him up and say, "Hey, how would you like to do the ‘Seasons’? — we haven't worked together in 20 years." And he said "great idea," and it happened from there. It's a beautiful program, beautiful music. It's a chance to visit with my brother and my sister and my dad all at the same time, to perform with my brother and my dad, and it's also a great opportunity to reconnect with Glazebrook.
The Chamber Orchestra concert will be at Virginia Tech's Squires Recital Salon at 8 p.m. Saturday. For information call 231-5200; for tickets call 231-5615.