Musician Spotlight: A Q&A with Constantine Pappas, principal timpani

How long have you been with the symphony?

I have been with the symphony for 9 years. Two years as a section player, seven as Principal Percussion and one as Principal Timpani.

How did you come to study your instrument (and is it the first one you chose?)

My interest in percussion started when my oldest sister bought the first Beatles album in the early ’60s. My other sister and brother formed a band, and I was the drummer. The interest never stopped, and I would drag out my mom’s pots and pans and play on the kitchen floor. My mom made my dad buy me my first drum (which I still own and use).

What drew you to this instrument?

My interest in drums never stopped and I played in band starting in the 4th grade. When I was a sophomore in high school I started taking lessons from the principal percussionist of the then Denver Symphony. By the time I was a senior I was principal with the Denver Young Artists orchestra and was playing regularly in many of the community orchestras in the Denver Metro area. I decided to major in music at Metro State to continue studying with my teacher.

What other instruments would you like to learn, or other that you play already?

I play guitar and sing. Do a few open mic nights.

What piece would you LOVE to perform/for the symphony to perform?

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Mahler’s 7th Symphony.

What music do you enjoy when you’re not rehearsing?

My taste in music is very eclectic. My favorite groups/musicians are Tool, A Perfect Circle, Nickle Creek, Diana Krall, Mel Torme, Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, John Meyer, Sting, Dan Fogelberg, Leonard Bernstein, New York Phil, Berlin Phil and The Royal Conertgebouw Orchestra.

Is there an LSO performance from this year that stands out to you? Why?

Our season opener. The works were extremely demanding and required a mature group to perform them. Always love a challenge!

Who is someone who has been instrumental (haha) and influential in your music career?

My private teachers. William Roberts, principal of the Denver Symphony (retired) and later taught at the Indian School of Music. Bart Mann, freelance drum set player. Micheal Crusoe, principal timpanist of the Seattle Symphony (retired). When I was in my second year of college, I played in the inaugural season of the Los Angel Philharmonic Institute. That season Leonard Bernstein was the conductor. His command and presence on the podium was amazing.

What is your favorite movie?

The Edge with Anthony Hopkins.

Favorite food?

Pizza. Especially Dino’s in Lakewood.

Favorite place/thing about Longmont?

All the craft breweries.

What do you love to do outside of the orchestra?

Spending every spare weekend RVing with my wife Paula. Mercilessly teasing my daughter Jessica. Weight training, riding my bike and hiking. Enjoying good whiskey and fine cigars.

Is there anyone you’d like to share the LSO with who hasn’t attended a performance?

I’ve brought many friends to our concerts.

Of any historical musical figure, who would you go back and meet?

All of my timpani heroes: Cloyd Duff – Cleveland Orchestra, Saul Goodman – New York Phil, Vic Firth – Boston Symphony.

Do you have other music projects, or would you like to?

I would like to start a contemporary music ensemble and solo recital series under the guise of the LSO. Along with that, it would be good to join other dance/acting/singing companies to perform some great works in a chamber setting.

 

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