With the RPO since: 2003
Hometown: Chappaqua, NY
Non-RPO activities and hobbies: Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Meditation, Reading, Watching "Chopped" or "Iron Chef America" on the Food Network
What music school did you attend, and who were your most inspirational teachers? My primary music schools were the Juilliard Pre-College Division and the Curtis Institute of Music. I'd have to say, every teacher I ever had was influential in my growth, according to what phase of my life I was in. A few of them at key times were: my father in the beginning; Ken Belding and Francesca Church (my early drum and cello teachers, respectively); David Fein (my percussion teacher at the Julliard School Prep); my professional mentors: Fred Hinger, Gerald Carlyss, Michael Bookspan, Cloyd Duff, Alan Abel, and Saul Goodman; and my life mentors: St. Francis of Assisi, H.W.L Poonja, Ramana Maharshi, and my extraordinary wife, Jane.
Favorite books/movies: Wow, really hard to choose. But the most impactful for me recently has been… Books: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Nothing Ever Happened; Biography of H.W.L Poonja by David Godman, and Be Love Now by Ram Dass. Movies: Ghandi, Brother Son, Sister Moon, Defending Your Life, Cinema Paradiso, Life is Beautiful, and A Fairy Tale, a True Story.
What kinds of music do you enjoy listening to? This is also inclusive of many different names and periods. I love so many different styles of music. For classical music, that's especially hard. But, some particular pieces I am deeply moved by include: Bach's B Minor Mass, Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus and “Ah Perdona,” (a duet from La Clemenza di Tito), Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mendelssohn's Elijah and his Fifth Symphony, last movement of Mahler's Third Symphony, the end of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, Barber's Adagio for Strings, and John Williams theme from Schindler's List. For jazz, also difficult to choose, but mostly the incredible improvisations of Keith Jarrett, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, and Gary Burton. And for popular music, I really love the music and integrity of Kenny Loggins, Stevie Wonder, and gospel singers Sandi Patti, Take Six, Chris Rice, Matthew West, and Mark Schultz.
And if you had to pick just one, what’s your favorite piece? It would have to be the last Movement of Mahler's Third Symphony.
People would be surprised to know … That my wife and I have a dream of someday opening a holistic food café, and Healing Center. And maybe even a Jazz Club.
What do you most enjoy about living in the Rochester area? The beauty of the parks that we walk through, the high quality people here, and of course, Wegmans
What are your favorite restaurants in Rochester, and why? Sinbad's on Park Ave., Benucci's in the Pittsford Plaza, and a small place on Mount Hope, Thai Taste. They all have integrity, cleanliness, and wholesome ingredients in their cooking.
The RPO is essential to the Rochester community because … I always share with people my feeling that the arts should be considered a necessity in the community; not just a luxury. The music that we offer is a gift of the spirit that people forget is needed for a thriving, well-nourished life.
What sports team(s) do you root for? The only sport I'm really connected to is tennis. I don't have a favorite player.
Favorite late-night snack: I don't eat late at night. Throws off my body clock. Sorry.
What is your favorite way to spend your day off? Either shopping uncontrollably at local health food stores, or walking and kayaking with my wife in Mendon Ponds Park.
What is your most memorable musical experience? I can't come up with one. Too many to mention.
Charles Ross has been the Principal Timpanist of the Rochester Philharmonic since 2003. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, he has performed as timpanist with many orchestras in the U.S. and abroad; among them include the Philadelphia Orchestra, La Scala Opera, Baltimore Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, RAI (Radio Orchestra) of Torino, Italy, Chatauqua Festival Orchestra, and the Moscow and Philadelphia Chamber Orchestras.
Charles is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music and the Brevard Music Center. He has also taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, Drexel University, and has given clinics and master classes for the Percussive Arts Society. His primary teachers have been Ken Belding, David Fein, Gerald Carlyss, Michael Bookspan, and Fred Hinger, as well as additional studies with Cloyd Duff, Saul Goodman, and Alan Abel.
An accomplished jazz vibraphonist, Charles has performed a number of times as vibe soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic. In January, 2010, he gave his debut as timpani soloist with the RPO, premiering a concerto written for him by Grammy Award-winning composer, producer, and conductor Jeff Tyzik.
Charles is also the creator and manufacturer of RossTimp Kettledrum Mallets; currently used by professionals and students throughout the world. He is an affiliate artist and clinician with the Pearl/Adams Corporation, and Evans/Daddario.