20 Questions with John DiCesare - Houghton Horns

20 Questions with John DiCesare

John DiCesare is Principal Tuba of the Seattle Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival, and former Principal Tuba of the Louisville Orchestra. He has performed with he orchestras of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, among others. A passionate teacher, John has held many positions in higher education, and is currently on the University of Washington School of Music faculty. 

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

Trumpet in 5th grade. I hated it and quit band for a year. I was the kid that went to baseball game instead of the Spring concert – sorry Mr. Bonnell. I joined band again and started playing the euphonium and played it all the way until college. I wanted to major on euphonium, but I received a scholarship to play tuba.

2. Could you describe what would be your perfect day?

Walk on the beach with my wife and dog, lunch near the water, 18 holes of golf with friends, then dinner and a movie.

3. Most memorable performance?

John Williams conducting the Seattle Symphony.

4. Significant teachers/mentors in your life?

Craig Knox, Jim Nova, George Vosburgh, Pete Sullivan, Tom Lukowicz, John Bottomley, Dr. Wayne Gorder, Bill Stephens, Ken Bonnell.

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


6. Favorite symphony?

To listen to: Mahler 2. To play: Prokofiev 5.

7. When was the last time you cried, and why?

2016 when my grandmother died I think? It’s been awhile.

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

An island with a big house that everyone could come use.

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

I just finished my DMA after 7 years!

10. Opera or ballet?


11. First job?

Catering. I did everything…..dishes, cooking, bartending, setup, cleanup. It taught me a lot!

12. Favorite sports team?

Cowboys (Seahawks are quickly taking over though), the Lakers, Mariners, Penguins. I’m excited for our NHL team in 2021.

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

Shaquille O’Neal.

14. Coffee or Tea?


15. Favorite book?

Don’t really have one 😬. I don’t get much enjoyment out of reading to be honest. I like to read for information, not for pleasure.

16. Favorite movie?

Empire Strikes Back.

17. Siblings?

Two younger twin brothers.

18. Favorite piece to play?

Shostakovich Festive Overture.

19. Least favorite piece to play?

Dvorak 9. It’s absolute misery sitting there while everyone gets to play this amazing piece just to come in cold on an uncomfortable chorale. I will say though, it’s the best seat in the house.

20. Dogs or cats?

Dogs, for sure.

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