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Thomas May, Assistant Principal Cello

Thomas May, assistant principal cello, is the principal cellist of the Southern Illinois Music Festival. May is formerly the orchestra teacher at both Gulf Coast and Barron Collier high schools. He received his B.M. degree from Augustana College and his M.M. degree from the University of Illinois. He has also pursued graduate studies at Indiana University.

May has studied with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Janina Ehrlich, Don Moline, Alice Baker and Richard Noyes. He has also performed with many other orchestras including the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the South Bend Symphony, the Florida Orchestra, the Quad-City Symphony, the Rockford Symphony and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy.

May lives in north Naples with his wife, daughter, son and multiple pets. He has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 1991.

Thomas May is underwritten by Mr. & Mrs. Wilfred J. Larson.

Name: Tom May

Instrument: Cello

Hometown: Chicago

At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 7

Who have been your greatest musical influences? My cello teachers Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Janina Ehrlich and my college orchestra teacher Dan Culver.

Who are your favorite composers: Beethoven, Stephenson.

What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? I was in architecture class junior year in high school when my brother decided I needed to play bass in a jazz band – so much for architecture.

What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? Rush, Metallica.

Your hobbies and interests: I enjoy playing golf and soccer.

Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: I own a small honey company, including 35 bee hives.

Funniest concert moment: It has to be conductor Tim Russell in the devil costume on Halloween.

Daily practice rituals: I practice with my daughter every morning.

The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "Why is it orange?" My answer: "It has to match my hair."

Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: The best part is the cool people I work with. Everyone is so easy-going and fun to work and play with.

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