John Marcy, assistant principal cello, was born in France and raised in South Bend, Ind. He began playing the cello at age 10. He holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where his teachers were Norman Fischer and Richard Kapuscinski. He also earned a master's degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Pamela Frame.
Marcy has performed and taught in a number of summer music festivals, including the Colorado Music Festival, the Luzerne Music Center and the Stringendo School for Strings. Along with his wife, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra principal oboist Judy Christy, he performs in the Christy Oboe Quartet, which recently released a CD of music by Mozart, Britten, J.C. Bach and James Stephenson. He and his wife have two young children. Marcy has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1991.
John Marcy is underwritten by Donald E. & Mary Anne Ryks.
Name: John Marcy
Hometown: I was born in Douai (northern France) but grew up in South Bend, Indiana.
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 10
Who have been your greatest musical influences? Artheda Spencer, my school orchestra teacher from the day she recruited me to play in fifth grade all the way through high school. Her enthusiasm and love of music inspired me to take the cello seriously from an early age and to pursue private lessons. Thomas Rosenberg, then the cellist of the Chester String Quartet, was my main teacher in high school. He taught me to really listen to the sound I was making and considerably refined my technique. Richard Kapuscinski (affectionately known as "Kapp") was my first teacher at Oberlin Conservatory, retiring midway through my studies there. Kapp had taught generations of cellists, including my previous teacher, Thomas Rosenberg. He was a perfectionist, and I remember that my freshman year I often had entire hour-long lessons during which I only played a single phrase of music, over and over, before he was satisfied with it. At first, I found this rather frustrating, but I soon realized that every time Kapp stopped me, he was teaching me things about phrasing and technique which I could apply to anything I played. Norman Fischer, who succeeded Kapp, was also one of his former students who performed in the Concord String Quartet for many years. He taught me much about cello technique, but more importantly he helped me better to express the emotional content of the music and to think about the large-scale structure of the pieces I was playing. Finally, I must mention my cellist uncle, Marcel Bardon, a performer and teacher in Paris. He was the first cellist I ever heard play, when I was only a few years old. His influence was more basic: He was my inspiration for choosing to play the cello in the first place. Who knows – without him, I might be a violist or a double bassist!
Who are your favorite composers? There are so many. Bach, Brahms, Mahler and Shostakovich always seem to be near the top of my list.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? I never seriously considered any other career, but if I had it probably would have been something related to foreign languages, for which I have always had a passion.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? My iPod usually contains 5 percent music from upcoming orchestra or chamber concerts, and 95 percent children's songs to entertain my two young children.
Your hobbies and interests: Taking care of the aforementioned two children. Right now, they don't leave time for much else! My daughter recently began taking violin lessons, and I've been enjoying practicing with her.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: My wife is Judy Christy, principal oboist of the Naples Philharmonic. We met here in Naples, playing in the orchestra, and were married in 2000.
Funniest concert moment: During a performance of La Bohème, the orchestra was seated in the pit below the stage. During the second act of the opera, there was a loud crash onstage during a scene taking place in a cafe. A few seconds later, with my peripheral vision I noticed something above me and looked up to see a large gold-colored plate with a sharp broken edge come crashing down on the edge of my cello. Apparently the staging for the opera called for one of the characters to get angry and throw a plate, but for some reason he decided to throw it downstage, toward the orchestra pit, instead of safely upstage. Once my heart had stopped racing, and once I realized that the cello had only sustained minor, easily repaired, cosmetic damage, I had a good laugh over the incident. But don't be surprised if you look down in the pit at a future opera performance and see musicians wearing hard hats!
Daily practice rituals: A few scales, some finger warm-up exercises, and it's on to whatever repertoire I'm practicing. The trick with two young kids is for both Judy and me to find enough time for the practice we need!
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and my answer): "Is that a guitar?" My answer: "No, it's not."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: I really enjoy the variety in our programming. I also feel fortunate to have a group of talented colleagues and a congenial work environment.