CrossFit, dogs, travelling orchestras, and more: this week’s “Meet the Musician” is based on Patricia (Patty) Evans, the WSO’s Principal Horn player!
Patty’s parents are both music teachers, so she thinks they planted the idea of playing the horn in her head.
“They probably needed someone to play the horn in their bands,” laughs Patty.
Patty has a sister who is also a professional musician who freelances in upstate New York and Vermont.
In her spare time, Patty likes to hang out with her dog, Baxter, and do CrossFit.
Fun fact: Micah Heilbrunn (principal clarinet) and Emma Quackenbush (cello) go to the same gym as Patty.
“It’s fun to work out together. I think a lot of people would be surprised to find out that what we do is very physical, but playing your instrument for a few hours every day takes a toll on your body, so it’s important to keep yourself strong to prevent neck and shoulder issues.”
On top of CrossFit, Patty is planning on getting back into running with Baxter.
Patty’s position with the WSO is her first full-time permanent symphony job. Before the WSO, she played in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida.
“I’m from a small place, so it’s kind of nice to be in the middle of nowhere [in a city like Winnipeg]. We have everything right here, so even though it’s isolated, we make our own fun.”
Patty is married to Todd, who sings in the Dirty Catfish Brass Band. He also plays the French horn and plays in the orchestra quite frequently.
“Another thing I like about Winnipeg is we were able to both move here and pursue individual paths and find careers as two musicians.”
Patty’s favourite thing about Winnipeg is the closeness of its people.
“Winnipeg has a certain vibe that’s definitely unique. The arts and culture scene, the architecture, the insane weather… I think that creates a sort of cohesion between the residents that is rare. I think bigger cities don’t have the same kind of pulse a city like Winnipeg has. Another thing I find really interesting about Winnipeg is no matter where I go in the world, I find other Winnipeggers. This woman saw my husband in Central Park and was like ‘Hey, are you in the Dirty Catfish Brass Band?!’”
“I was recently in Auckland NZ performing with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and [violinist] James Ehnes was the soloist. Even though Manitoba has such a small population, I feel like I run into people from there. It’s like we attract each other, and that’s what I was talking about with the cohesiveness.”
Patty’s favourite composer is Richard Strauss.
“His father was a famous horn player, so he wrote really well for the horn. At the time, what he was writing was so out there that it was considered unplayable. I like the way he uses the horn in his tone poems, and the writing, and the way the pieces are orchestrated. But I love Mahler too. At the end of Mahler’s second symphony with the choir, you know you’ve experienced something.”
Patty loves to do karaoke on her days off. AGIT is her favourite place, and many of the symphony players end up going there.
Patty has gotten to travel with the Montreal Symphony, doing two European tours, and got to play in Auckland for a month and a half this summer.