Ellen Tomasiewicz, associate principal/utility horn, earned a B.M. degree from Princeton University and a M.M. degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She formerly performed as principal horn for the Nova Filharmonia Portuguese in Lisbon, Portugal. Her chamber music experience includes the Manhattan Wind Quintet of New York.
Tomasiewicz has participated in summer festivals at Tanglewood, Los Angeles, Sarasota (New College), Yale University and Aspen. She has been featured as a soloist on recordings in Portugal and for CBS in the United States. Tomasiewicz's most recent recording is a CD of premieres and commissions entitled When Angels Speak with the Manhattan Wind Quintet on the Albany Records label. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1991.
Name: Ellen Tomasiewicz
Hometown: Weston, CT
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 10
Who have been your greatest musical influences? My first teacher, Anthony Pompa, used to play recordings of Dennis Brain for me and tell me wonderful stories in his thickly accented English about horn players from his past that moved him. One story of his that I remember is of a horn player who showed up to rehearse a concerto with his horn in a paper bag because he was too poor to afford a case. The man was quiet, unassuming – not necessarily the norm for a horn soloist. He proceeded to play unbelievably well. As a young player, hearing stories like that helped instill in me an appreciation for musicians who are modest about their talents and generous in sharing their wisdom with others. I did just buy a really nice case, though. So, in no particular order, some of these players are Paul Ingraham, David Jolley, Julie Landsman.
Who are your favorite composers? Brahms, Joni Mitchell, Stravinsky, Beethoven, the Roaches, Gomez, Dvorak. I like whoever wrote the theme to the TV show Six Feet Under. I could go on, but it might get embarrassing.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? Either something in the non-profit sector, something in social services or a softball coach.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? Dee Carstensen, Luciana Sausa.
Your hobbies and interests: Golf. Hopefully, gardening and landscaping and house cleaning, soon.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: I played on a fast pitch softball team that won three national titles and one world championship. I was named as an alternate to the Pan Am team back in the late '70s. I played basketball at Princeton.
Funniest concert moment: During a Halloween concert many years ago, I dressed as a mummy and was wrapped way too tightly and started to freak out on stage because I was having trouble breathing. So someone cut away at the tape so that much of what I was wearing under the costume (which wasn't much) was now – um … exposed. No worries, I'm in the back row.
Daily practice rituals: Sports Center, as I do my warm-up.
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "Why is your hand in the bell?" My answer: "To keep snacks handy and out of sight."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: Without question, coming to work every day and liking (and in some cases, loving) the people that surround me.