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Erich ZummackName: Erich Zummack
Hometown: I was born in Rosenheim, Germany; grew up in Van Nuys, California, and currently reside in South Whitley, Indiana
Instrument: Bassoon
Years in the MSO: 16 years

Who is your biggest musical influence?
In my formative years as a musician, I listened to a lot of music of Sibelius, and this composer's musical sensibilities continue to play a significant role in my musical thinking. I also would listen to many recordings by various bassoonists, and while I can't say I have on favorite performer, I do admire Klaus Thunemann and Milan Turkovic. I am also impressed by Arthur Grossman -- if only for the vast amount of repertoire that he has recorded.

What song have you played the most in your musical career?
I have been performing for years, and have played many pieces. I don't know what one piece I have played most often, but Beethoven's Fifth Symphony certainly is one I've performed frequently. Also, as a Highland Bagpipe player, I have played Amazing Grace more times than I can count.

Where is the coolest place you have performed?
Every place I play is cool, because I get to perform in front of a live audience and be a part of a musical experience. I do remember a performance of Beethoven's Third Symphony, when during the second movement, the funeral march, there was a terrific thunderstorm and the power went out. I also marched in the Rose Parade in Los Angeles All-City Honor Band, when I was still playing trombone.

How old were you when you first started playing and what instrument was it?
I had a toy piano when I was a child, and I remember learning to play songs that I had heard on the radio or on the records my parents listened to. I first formally started playing when I was in the 4th grade, when I was 9 years old. The instrument was the trombone, although I had requested the clarinet. They were out of clarinets, so they gave me a trombone instead. I ended up playing trombone until I graduated from high school.

(Featured in the December 4, 2011, program.)