Tell me about your jazz ensemble.
The quintet has Adam Gogolak ’98 on bass, Eli Kao ’98 on guitar, Andrea Mazzariello ’00 on drums and Stefan Papaioannou ’98 on piano. We’ve been playing together since the beginning of the year. We’re always pushing each other musically. We try to play extreme tempos, both slow and fast and to cover many different styles. During Winter Study we were playing together almost every day and started to play at tempos that were faster than we had ever played before. We’ve also composed pieces collaboratively, which is a very educational process.
Who inspired you to become interested in jazz?
Many people have inspired me. Every time I listen to jazz greats, I am inspired. Hearing Joshua Redman play in Chapin Hall my sophomore year was certainly exciting. Professor Andrew Jaffe has been very supportive and is a bottomless source of musical knowledge.
Do you write your own music? Who does the arrangements for your quintet?
I took an arranging class last year and wrote a couple of big band arrangements. In the quintet, we try to come up with unique arrangements for each song we play. I occasionally write my own music as well. I hope to compose more in the future because I find it educational in a way that improvising alone is not.
What will you miss the most when you leave Williams? What has been your most valuable college experience?
I am going to miss this place a lot. Over the past four years I have been lucky to be able to participate in many activities within the music department: everything from the Student Concerto Competition, to the Student Symphony orchestra, to Lee-Hom’s “The Bite that Burns.” It has been nothing but pure fun and I will cherish them all. What has made my experience even greater is the support and guidance I have received from the faculty and staff at Bernhard. This includes my instructor, Tim Baker, who has helped me tremendously with my playing. I admire his extreme patience over these years, and I thank him for it. Equally important are all the fellow students in all the ensembles I have participated in; I am honored to be among such a talented and dedicated group.
Do you find that the sacrifices you make for music are worth the work and effort you put into your music?
Music is a priority for me. I seriously doubt I would have studied much more had I not participated in any musical activities. There have been times when I have had rehearsals, papers and exams all in one week, but I don’t regret having participated in those musical activities. Music offers me a necessary break from studying. Furthermore, I have had the good fortune of meeting many good friends and talented individuals through participation in various ensembles; that is something I am not willing to sacrifice.