Monday 12 Nov 2012

Backstage: Gregory Zinkl

Name: Gregory Zinkl
Instrument: Viola
Been Playing: 36 years
Neighborhood: Lakeview
Occupation: Attorney

Who's your favorite composer?
I have to choose?! Whoever I'm rehearsing at the moment.

How did you get started on your instrument?
I started learning in 4th grade in public school. The string teachers came to advocate for everyone to pick up violin or viola. I had already been playing piano for four years, and thought strings would be pretty cool. But I was NOT going to wait in the line to be fitted for violin. The viola line was much shorter. So that's how I chose viola. Luckily, we've fallen in love.

What's your favorite musical memory?
There are so many. When I was a grad student in the Boston area, I fee-lanced with the community orchestras quite a bit. The Lexington Symphony hired me for a concert that included Janacek's Sinfonietta. I had never heard of Janacek, nor had I ever played a piece that required (horrors) 12 trumpets. To know trumpet players is to love them, but that many?! Anyway, Janacek is hard - nothing is idiomatic for the strings, and I was not enthused. But then came the concert. Programmed last, from the downbeat, every player was "on", and we played like the greatest orchestras of the world. The BSO had nothing on us. When we hit the last movement, and all those trumpets stepped back up and started blasting the material from the opening movement, and every player was united - it was overwhelming and a huge rush - physically and emotionally. I've never seen an audience reaction that was like it - they practically rushed the stage. Northeasterners!

What do you enjoy most about playing in an orchestra?
I love the teamwork part - when everyone finally gets it. That it's not a bunch of soloists, and we're collaborating to create something greater than our individual selves.

And Chicago?
What's not to like? (Except maybe February). My partner is here, and my career, the cost of living combined with the fabulous culture, opportunities - it is one of the world's greatest cities, without the attitude or out-of-site price tag.

What do you enjoy most about playing with the Lakeside Pride Symphony Orchestra?
I like how we forget that being gay or gay-friendly got us there, and we do the orchestra thing - collaborating, without boundaries. I also LOVE watching Greg, our conductor, develop. He is extremely talented, smart, driven, and loves classical music. Of all the orchestras I've been in over the years, his rehearsals are the most fun!

What are you looking forward to most about the current LPSO season?
To see where we are musically and organizationally by the time of our final concert. Progress is fun! Oh, and hopefully another blast of an orchestra party as we did at the end of last season. 5am, geeking out over classical music. Love it.
Friday 9 Nov 2012

25 Days and Counting!

It's hard to think we're just 25 days away from our performance with David Schrader! David is a truly world-class musician, and he's well known in Chicago through his regular appearances on WFMT and performances with Baroque Band. We've been looking forward to this concert for a long, long time!

Our December 4 concert at Center on Halsted begins with the swirl of Strauss' Emperor Waltz, features Mr. Schrader playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, and concludes with the epic landscapes of Sibelius' Symphony No. 5. Rehearsals are going so well! It's great to see us grow into this wonderful music, and to see how excited the orchestra is to play it.

Get more information about our exciting upcoming concert online @

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