W. Peter Kurau
With the RPO since: Tough question!! Assistant principal 1983-1995; Acting assistant principal 2002-2004; Principal Horn 2004-present.
Hometown: Torrington, Connecticut
Non-RPO activities and hobbies: Not a lot of time for this, but have a burgeoning interest in fly fishing, and an on-going obsession with NY Yankees baseball (if they are winning!)
What music school did you attend, and who were your most inspirational teachers? BM: Eastman School; MM: Univ. of Connecticut; additional study at the Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music, and Florida State University. Most influential teachers: Verne Reynolds, Horace Fitzpatrick, David Cripps, Paul Ingraham, Clifford Madsen (psychology), Bernarr Rainbow (music education).
Favorite books/movies: I enjoy books on US history (I am reading a collection of Presidential Inaugural Addresses at present), and non-fiction accounts of various regions of the country (such as Thoreau’s book on Cape Cod).
What kinds of music do you enjoy listening to? Symphonic, opera, lieder, but in my time off, I prefer not listening to music!
And if you had to pick just one, what’s your favorite piece? Sibelius Symphony No. 2
People would be surprised to know… My wife (Pamela Kurau) and I took two classes in disco dancing in the ‘80s in Columbia, Missouri! [Don’t ask for any demos.]
What do you most enjoy about living in the Rochester area? The seasons, each with its own distinction and beauty, and the farm markets.
What are your favorite restaurants in Rochester? Rooney’s and Aladdin’s
The RPO is essential to the Rochester community because … It’s the shining beacon of the city and region, and our citizens share in its artistic accomplishments (since they are essential to its success).
What sports team(s) do you root for? NYY!!!!
Favorite late-night snack: popcorn and beer, or beer and popcorn
What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Doing something (anything!) outside.
What is your most memorable musical experience? There have been many—I’ve been lucky! But one of the most memorable was playing an outdoor recital (with Joe Werner) at the AZM Palace in Damascus, Syria (while on a tour as Artistic Ambassadors for the US Information Agency).
W. Peter Kurau was appointed Principal Horn of the RPO in 2004. He had previously served as Assistant Principal Horn (1983-1995) and Acting Assistant Principal Horn (2002-2004). He also serves as Professor of Horn at the Eastman School of Music. A prizewinner in the Heldenleben International Horn Competition (1977) and a recipient of an I.T.T. International Fellowship for study in the United Kingdom (1974-75), he also served as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency, presenting concerts and classes with esteemed colleague Joseph Werner in Serbia-Montenegro, Kazakstan, Syria, and Macedonia (1997). Active also as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician, he has appeared at numerous professional symposia, as well as at leading universities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His festival activities include appearances at the Chautauqua Music Festival, Bravo! Colorado, Grand Teton Festival, Skaneateles Festival, Texas Music Festival, and the International Festival Institute at Round Top (TX), among others.
He resides in Honeoye Falls with his wife, soprano Pamela Kurau, and a variable number of feline companions.