Meet Ima Hogg Competition Semi-finalist Ron Cohen Mann! This talented 25 year old oboist is currently an Artist Diploma candidate at the Yale School of Music, studying with Stephen Taylor. We recently got a chance to ask Ron a few questions about his life in music.
Houston Symphony: Where did you grow up and how did that community affect who you have become?
Ron Cohen Mann: I grew up in Israel, the Netherlands, and in Vancouver, Canada. It was fun to move around as a kid and I am fortunate to have had so many opportunities to travel.
HS: Are there other musical people in your family?
RCM: I’m the only musician in my immediate family. My parents always asked me to practice less and I guess it didn’t work! My family has been incredibly supportive and I can’t thank them enough.
HS: At what age did you begin playing your instrument and what memories do you have of your first rehearsals or performances?
RCM: I started oboe at the late age of 14! I’ll always cherish my first experience playing in orchestra a year later. I played Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 “Haffner”; I had a huge smile on my face throughout the first rehearsal.
HS: What has been the most exciting event for you in your musical career?
RCM: My Weill Hall debut at Carnegie Hall was in April, which I shared with my dear friend and colleague, harpist Noël Wan. Other highlights include performing Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite in India, and touring to China with the Manhattan Symphonie.
HS: Do you have any pre-performance habits or rituals?
RCM: I like to stay very relaxed on performance days: sleeping in if I can, watching Netflix and making reeds to keep my mind off of the performance.
HS: Who are some of your most profound influences and what is the impact they have had on you?
RCM: My biggest influences are my oboe heroes and teachers: Stephen Taylor, Sherry Sylar, and Beth Orson.
HS: Who is the most famous person you have met or worked with?
RCM: Wynton Marsalis, Valery Gergiev or John Adams.
HS: What are the “top five” pieces or songs on your playlist or iPod?
RCM: Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Schumann Konzertstück, Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit, Megan Trainor “No”, Beyoncé “Love on Top”
HS: What is your favorite TV show?
RCM: RuPaul’s Drag Race.
HS: What is your favorite place to eat?
RCM: Chipotle Mexican Grill.
HS: Do you have a favorite city or travel destination?
RCM: New York City.
HS: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
RCM: I’m an avid photographer.
See Ron Cohen Mann perform Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C major and Strauss’ Oboe Concerto in D major for FREE at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music on Thursday June 2. And don’t forget to get tickets to the Finals Concert!