Anthony Prisk: Featured Musician of the Week

Anthony PriskAnthony Prisk joined The Philadelphia Orchestra as second trumpet in August 2013; previously he was a member of the Houston Symphony for 11 seasons. He has performed internationally with several orchestras and music festivals, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Moscow Philharmonic, the New World Symphony. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival, the Music Academy of the West, the Spoleto Festival, the Cabrillo Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Prisk won two international trumpet competitions through the International Trumpet Guild and was a soloist with the New World Symphony. He has also been a finalist for several orchestral positions, including with the Chicago Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. He can be heard on recordings with the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and the McGill Symphony.

Mr. Prisk grew up in Lombard, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He began playing trumpet in the local school band program at age 10. He attended the University of Illinois, where he studied trumpet with Ray Sasaki and Michael Ewald. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1996 and moved to Montreal to study at McGill University. While in Montreal he studied orchestral repertoire with Paul Merkelo, principal trumpet of the Montreal Symphony. After completing his Master of Music degree he was chosen for a fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, where he trained with leading orchestral musicians from around the country. His many teachers include Michael Sachs, Adolf Herseth, David Bilger, Mark Gould, and John Hagstrom.

Teaching and community outreach are important to Mr. Prisk. He participated in the Fidelity Future Stage program, bringing instrumental music instruction to inner city schools. He was added to the faculty at the University of Houston before his departure and has presented master classes at the New World Symphony, the University of Texas, Baylor University, Bolling Green State University, Northwestern University, and Iowa State University, among others. In his free time Mr. Prisk enjoys racing cars, running, bodybuilding, riding his Harley, eating great food, and enjoying time with friends.

We initiated a conversation with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra about their beginnings in music, their inspirations, and aspirations. Please join us each month to see many of your new music camp favorites featured right here!

When and why did you begin playing a musical instrument?

I was in fourth grade and I started on the corner in my school band program. It was a very well run program and I enjoyed playing in the band.

What did you like most about your first music teacher?

He was intense! He wrote a great book called Winning Rhythms and he was a good teacher of brass instruments. Because he set so many players up correctly, many of us went on to play in college and major in music.

Describe your first instrument? Do you know where it is today?

It’s a Conn student model cornet. I handed it down to my nephew.

How old were you when you performed your first solo and was it a successful performance?

I remember playing for a solo and ensemble contest in grade school. I wasn’t prepared and I felt embarrassed so I practiced more for the next one.

Is there a piece of music that never fails to move you emotionally? Please describe.

Mahler symphony 2. The first time I heard it, I cried. That experience has stuck with me and the piece still moves me after so many times performing it.

What element or experience from your childhood still drives you today in your professional life?

My dad insisted that I always finish what I start. Trumpet is a project I started and have yet to finish!

Other than making music, what activity inspires you most?

Racing cars. There are many correlations to driving a car fast on a road course and playing an instrument. I also enjoy working out and staying in shape.

If you could be anything else in the world, what would it be?

Race car driver!

Who is your favorite musical icon, living or dead?

Philip Smith…former principal trumpet of the NY Philharmonic

Are other members in your family musical? Why or why not.

Not really. My dad played the accordion at parties but never played seriously.

Do you still get nervous before a performance, and if so – how do you cope?

I get nervous when I’m unprepared so I do my best to always be prepared.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Keep looking ahead and stay focused on the art.

What was your general practice routine in high school?

I tried to play 20 or so minutes before school started every day and also after school for an hour. The more I practiced the more I enjoyed playing.

What is your current practice routine prior to a solo performance?

I practice several hours a day spread out through the day.

Did you ever attend music camps growing up? If so, what impact did it have on your life?

Music camps are the reason I play professionally. When I involved myself in playing music all day and thinking about music every day, I thought it would be cool to do that the rest of my life.

Why would you recommend students to attend the Philadelphia International Music Festival?

You get unparalleled instruction. The resources you will have at the festival will answer any questions you have about performing your instrument. It is a very encouraging environment for learning.

What was your most memorable musical experience at PIMF thus far?

Working with a very interesting and motivated 9 year old student, I couldn’t believe how well he played at that age.

What advice do you have for young musicians considering music performance as a future profession?

You must love what you are doing. Don’t just love to practice, but love the journey. Set your goals high and make the discoveries to achieve them. Never stop being curious!