20 Questions for December

Hornist David Byrd-Marrow

Hornist David Byrd-Marrow is our featured musician for December’s 20 on 20! Mr. Byrd-Marrow is the solo horn of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and newly appointed Assistant Professor of Horn at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Additionally, David has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta and Tokyo Symphonies, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and many more.

1. What was your first instrument and how old were you when you started?

I started playing drums in 1st grade but soon moved to cornet in 2nd (because trumpet was too big).

2. How would you describe your perfect day?

My perfect day would start by waking up naturally, with the sun and not by alarm. Then, depending on the weather, I’d either make coffee and breakfast. My signature egg scramble is from the Rose Bakery’s book, “How to Boil an Egg”. I’d make that and bacon. Then I’d warm up and do some daily horn exercises. After an hour or so I’d take care of office type work, although on a perfect day that wouldn’t exist. Then I’d probably start cooking dinner or whatever the large meal of the day would be. Maybe I’d roast a chicken. We musicians usually eat earlier because of performances, so keep in mind that on an ideal day this would maybe take place at the orthodox dinner hour (perhaps with a Muller-Thurgau or something dry and refreshing). I’m starting to realize that my ideal day is based on consumption. At some point I may or may not exercise. I’m usually equally happy with either choice. Usually. I listen to podcasts when I exercise. I have what I would consider to be a lot of range. Anything from The Bodega Boys to Adam Carolla to Ben Greenfield (is it redundant to listen to a health and fitness podcast while exercising?). After some sort of exercise I’d eat more of what I already made. The rest is music, streaming, or reading into the late hours. Wash, rinse, repeat.

3. Most memorable performance?

I recently played at Suntory Hall in Tokyo with Orpheus. My in-laws live there and they came. They’d never seen me play live so I was really happy to have the opportunity to share what I do with them (while also confirming that their son-in-law works for a living). What they didn’t know was that I was going to address the audience…in Japanese. I think I may have given my wife Yuko a heart attack but it was a nice moment. #worthit

4. Significant teachers/mentors in your life?

I’d like to thank my high school teacher Richard Deane for setting me up to focus on the right things early on, and also for keeping my confidence up by not telling me how awful I was in the beginning until much, much later. Thanks go to Jerome Ashby for putting a special sound in the ears of his students. And, of course, thanks to William Purvis for teaching his students to explore all of the sounds available.

5. Something you’ve been meaning to try, but just haven’t gotten around to it?

Composing. It’s happening, I think.

6. Favorite symphony?

Was Mahler 7 in high school, then Brahms 3 in college. Now I don’t know. I’m starting to feel like the power of a symphony is in the hands of the group of people playing it. There are master composers, but they only have so much influence once the ink is dry.

7. Who was the last person that made you cry and why?

My Grandmother passed a year ago. I guess it wasn’t necessarily she that made me cry, but thinking of all of the memories. The same thing happens with music sometimes as well.

8. If money was no object, what would you buy?

A beach house on a nice beach.

9. One thing most people don’t know about you?

I’ve never been to Mexico.

10. Opera or ballet?

Ballet.

11. First job?

Freelancer. DU will be my first salary.

12. Favorite sports team?

Atlanta United. Braves, all-time favorite.

13. If you could invite one person to dinner tonight, who would it be?

Anthony Bourdain.

14. Coffee or Tea?

Coffee.

15. Favorite book?

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu.

16. Favorite movie?

Hard choice but maybe Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood for Love.

17. Siblings?

Nope.

18. Favorite piece to play?

Ligeti Horn Trio.

19. Least favorite piece to play?

Most Mozart concerti. I don’t want people to think I hate Mozart. I love Mozart. It just brings me to my most self-critical state of being.

20. Dogs or cats?

Dogs!

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