We want to thank whoever was responsible for bringing Steve Hackman (and FUSE) to town? Would that be you?

No, that was well on its course before I came. Actually it was one of our board members, Peter Greer, who knows Steve Hackman and brought him to Robert Moir who is VP of artistic planning. From what I understand it’s a really compelling idea. It’s branded under him, and so therefore it’s a little bit difficult to know what kind of shelf life it’s going to have or if it will transfer into other product lines or not. I think for what it is it seems to be really fun and a way to change the image of what a traditional orchestra is, and it’s certainly something that the organization is willing to experiment with. We want this institution to belong to the people of the community who support it, and this is one way to maybe change the perception of what an orchestra is and what it can be in that community. Is it the end-all be-all for our future audiences? I think that might be pushing it a bit. But it could be part of a broader pallette of what we are able to provide to the people of Pittsburgh and then I’m all for it.

Now that Richard P. Simmons has retired after 25 years on the board, what kind of changes do you expect there?

I think it’s very unusual to have a board chair who’s served that long. And for most professionals who are in a volunteer position, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect somebody to be in that kind of role for that period of time. So one of the things that (new board chair) Devin McGranahan and I have already talked about is putting a real succession plan in place for future board leadership . . . so putting those governance practices in place are really important. I think it’s healthy for the organization in the long run.

What was the first musical instrument you learned to play? Do you still practice?

I was a pianist. I started at age 7, and then when I was in 5th grade I started the clarinet and played that until about 8th grade. I got my degree in Piano Performance at Oberlin Conservatory. I don’t practice now because we don’t have a piano in our house right now, but we’re working on that.