Meet the NOCCO Board of Directors
Playing with NOCCO is an incredibly complex and rewarding experience. Since we rehearse and perform without a conductor, it is imperative that everyone learns not only their individual parts, but the knows the entire score. In every piece we play, we are all constantly shifting between a leadership and a following role in an intricately choreographed flow that is plotted out in our rehearsals and ultimately improvised in our performances. Much like a professional sports team, we have to be incredibly confident, flexible, and aware of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses in order to uplift and support each other through the journey of the music. I love the moments when everyone is able to truly connect and we become a living, breathing organism - that’s when the real magic happens!
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Performing in a chamber orchestra has been a dream of mine since I was in high school. I remember being absolutely entranced by recordings of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the English Chamber Orchestra The sound they produced became such a part of my musical consciousness that, as I violinist, I found myself more interested in playing in a violin section rather than playing concerti or solo pieces. Later, when I lived in Minneapolis, I had the opportunity to play frequently with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. This is where I learned what hard work it is to play in a group that small, and how much responsibility each player has. As one of the early founders of NOCCO, my dream was to bring that type of ensemble to Seattle; with the hard-working, dedicated and talented musicians that we've gathered, we are well on our way
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My relationship with NOCCO began as an audience member during their very first season in 2014. I witnessed a talented, fledgling ensemble led by passionate musicians and was blown away by the musicality of their performances. Eventually, I reached out to the board and asked if they would like someone with administrative skill sets to join their team and I was welcomed with open arms. Although I come from a musical background (trumpet), I feel it is an asset to this group to have someone on their board of directors who can look from the outside at the long term goals and strategies of the group. I have really cherished the opportunity to work on such a passionate team during the most formative year of its growth and look forward to more of the same this upcoming season!
NOCCO is a rich and rewarding environment in which collaboration, autonomy, passion, scholarship and finesse blend together in the most magnetic way. I was completely hooked from the very first rehearsal! The preparation process for each concert is organic, lively, sometimes fiery, and completely self-directed, meaning every person may make their voices heard. To take ownership of our artistic decisions is so empowering, and it is evident to the audience that we're totally invested. The dynamic interaction NOCCO has with our audience - especially in the non-traditional venues we play in - makes performances electrifying.
NOCCO’s size is right at the cusp between chamber music and orchestral, affording it some of the best elements of both. Having no conductor further reinforces our need to be chamber musicians, to actively engage and communicate with one another. This is in contrast to what frequently takes place in conducted ensembles, which can often feel more top-down and one-directional. Ultimately, NOCCO is steered entirely by the musicians, so it is whatever we choose to make of it. That, along with our collaborative nature, creates a compelling opportunity to have a voice, both artistically and administratively, which is rare and gratifying. I also feel that NOCCO’s performances are more compelling from the audience’s perspective. People I know who don’t often see ‘classical’ music have found NOCCO more engaging, partly, I think, because the level of on-stage communication we share as performers is conveyed so directly out to the audience, making them a part of the performance. I love that NOCCO's mission is not only to perform at a high level but to also make those performances so accessible to such a wide a range of audiences.
I believe that live chamber music has great artistic potential because the balance between crafting purposeful music as a team and the personal musicality of each individual takes center stage. During my musical studies at McGill, I was drawn to chamber music and made string quartet playing the center of my musical world. I discovered the deep satisfaction of creating music that is greater then the sum of its individual parts, and have found this with NOCCO. Our unique energy stems from the ensemble being completely reliant on the precision of every part, making each player as important as a link in a chain. The result is an orchestra where every member listens and responds the same way they would in a much smaller chamber ensemble. This process also necessitates active discussions of musicality, artistic direction, and style, requiring a depth of thought from every member that is rarely found among orchestras. When you come to our concerts you become a part of the moment of creation, no longer separated from the musicians by the veil of a conductor, up close to the intricate and subtle language of the orchestra.
I have opted to play a larger role with NOCCO, because I believe in its mission. I love the intimacy of chamber music and the power of orchestral music. Working together with fellow artists towards a common goal is a very powerful experience, and one of the main reasons why I became a musician in the first place. I love NOCCO's commitment to artistry above all else, as well as their commitments to new music, and under-performed masterpieces. The musicians of NOCCO are also wonderful people who are a joy to work with. Their priorities are my priorities: making great art.