Musician Profile: Christopher Graham - Akron Symphony Orchestra

Musician Profile: Christopher Graham

July 2, 2017

Musician Profile: Christopher Graham

The Akron Symphony Orchestra is comprised of talented musicians who have spent a lifetime honing their craft.

They are also your colleagues, neighbors and friends, and their passion for the community reflects their passion for their music.

Christopher Graham joined the Akron Symphony in 2013 and is currently the Principal Trombone. He recently sat down for a Q&A on life as a professional musician.

Q: How did you first become interested in music?

Chris: I was interested in music at an early age. The high school near my childhood home had an evening program for young students interested in learning a musical instrument. I started with that program and within a year they asked me to join the high school band, and it just grew from there.

Video: Akron Symphony Profile: Chris Graham

Q: What is the best part about being a member of the Akron Symphony?

Chris: Being a member of the Akron Symphony is a real privilege. It’s hard to really pick a favorite part, but there are many aspects that stand out in my mind: the relationships I have built with my colleagues on stage, the management’s dedication, and the engaging concerts that Maestro Wilkins programs for the orchestra.

But if I had to pick a favorite it would be the meaningful connections that the Akron Symphony establishes with the community. Some of the shows that I look forward to all season are the Concerts for Kids that the orchestra presents in May. The partnerships the orchestra engages in for those concerts always create such a memorable experience for the children.

Q: If you were not a professional musician you would be …

Chris: I would probably be a chef. I love cooking because it allows me to experiment with flavors and create different dishes. You have the choice to follow a recipe if you want something simple. There’s so much freedom of choice and expression when cooking!

Q: If you could only play one piece of music, what would it be and why?

Chris: Mahler’s 3rd symphony. This piece contains one of the most extensive trombone solos in the classical repertoire. The piece is massive and epic. It involves a children’s choir, a mezzo soprano and a lot of extra musicians on stage.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a musician?

Chris: My favorite memory as a musician was getting to play Arthur Pryor’s Blue Bells of Scotland as a soloist with the Akron Symphony two years ago. Playing as a soloist isn’t something I do frequently, so I had to work quite a bit on the piece, but it was a very rewarding experience.

Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

Chris: I would advise any young musician to be open to all opportunities. Some of the gigs I have played and thought would be the worst turned out to be the best and most rewarding experiences. Also, be versatile. Learn to play lots of different styles and even different instruments. The more experience and flexibility you can bring to the table will make you a better musician.

Lighting round

Q: Favorite movie?

Chris: Braveheart

Q: Favorite food?

Chris: Barbecue

Q: If you could only hear one musician or band play live (any genre), who would it be?

Chris: Wynton Marsalis