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20 Questions on the 20th with Micah Wilkinson

Micah Wilkinson, Principal Trumpet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Micah Wilkinson is featured this month in our 20 on 20 series! Mr. Wilkinson is currently the Principal Trumpet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras throughout his exciting career.

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

I started piano when I was five and sang in the children’s choir at my church when I was young. I picked up the trumpet when I joined middle school band in 6th grade.

2. Could you describe your perfect day?

I love adventure, something that makes for a great story, so I try to embrace whatever life brings. Ideally it would include delicious coffee and quality time with friends and family.

3. Most memorable performance?

Hard to say! Mahler 5 with the Pittsburgh Symphony in NYC comes to mind. It was my first time playing Mahler 5. Mahler 1 at the Proms in London on my first international tour with the PSO was also pretty special.

4. Significant teachers/mentors in your life?

My primary teachers were Larry Black from the Atlanta Symphony, Marty Hodel at St. Olaf, Tony Plog in Freiburg, Germany, and Dave Hickman at ASU. Countless others have had an impact on me musically and personally. One of the great things about my wandering career, in which I have played various positions in over a half-dozen orchestras, is that I have been able to learn from so many incredible musicians. I’m lucky to call many of them friends, and I still look up to them as mentors.

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

Recording a solo album.

6. Favorite symphony?

On any given day, it could be a different Mahler Symphony. I also love Nielsen 4, Brahms 2, Schmidt 2, Sibelius 2, Mozart 35, Prokofiev 5…I could go on!

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

My 4 year old daughter, telling me how much she missed me when I was traveling! Also, Toy Story 4.

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

A house in the mountains.

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

I roast my own coffee, and I geek out with all kinds of coffee brewing methods.

10. Opera or ballet?

Opera.

11. First job?

2nd Trumpet, La Crosse (WI) Symphony Orchestra (during my Jr and Sr years at St. Olaf College). First full time job was 3rd trumpet with the Tucson Symphony.

12. Favorite sports team?

Atlanta Braves.

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

Yo Yo Ma. He strikes me as a great dinner guest – brimming with kindness and warmth.

14. Coffee or tea?

Coffee!

15. Favorite book?

Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott.

16. Favorite movie?

Princess Bride.

17. Siblings?

Younger sister, Meredith. She’s making the world a better place. I am so proud of her.

18. Favorite piece to play?

Whatever’s on my stand! I love playing Petrouchka & American in Paris because they are so well written for the trumpet. Mahler Symphonies and Strauss Tone Poems always present a challenging thrill. I’m happy with anything that has a juicy lyrical solo.

19. Least favorite piece to play?

Iron Foundry, by Alexander Mosolov.

20. Dogs or cats?

Dogs! I have a half-Basset, half-Australian Shepherd named Barber (after Samuel Barber).

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