I love the Cleveland Orchestra. It's one of the great orchestras in the world. It's given me the opportunity to just fulfill all my dreams, really, as an orchestral musician, as a solo player, as a chamber music player. That's very hard to give up.
I've done everything that I can do in this business, and I have projects that I want to do. I've written a book [that] I want to update, and I want to do more teaching and summer music festivals.
There was a program on when I was growing up, a classical music program on TV that I saw. That kind of was where I got my interest.
I was far too clean-cut for rock.
I learned a lot about discipline. When you play a musical instrument at this level, you have to practice every day or you'll deteriorate as a player. If you don't keep working, then you'll fail.
I owe a great deal to [late Cleveland Orchestra music director] Lorin Maazel. He hired me for one of the biggest positions in the viola world. There are only five positions like my position in the United States.
There were two other orchestras that were interested. But I love the city of Cleveland. At the time that I was offered other positions, I had a young family, and I was interested in bringing [my children] up in a smaller city.
Blossom [Music Center] is probably the greatest outdoor concert hall in the world. I just can't think of any other place that sounds that well outdoors.
One of my favorite pieces is [Gustav] Mahler's First Symphony. Part of it is the music itself. Part of it is the shock and awe of hearing it for the first time many, many years ago. So there's a little bit of sentimentality and longing for that time when I was young and was waking up to the fantastic symphonic world of music.