Violinist. Cleveland enthusiast. Beer brewer. Loyal friend. Metal guitarist. Constant performer.
Violinist Sam Petrey hails from Cleveland, Ohio. He has performed in numerous concert venues throughout America and Europe. He recently performed with members of the CSO, Lyric Opera and Grant Park Symphony on WFMT’s live Rush Hour concert series.
An active orchestral player, Sam has performed with distinguished conductors such as Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, Sir Andrew Davis, Mark Elder, Cliff Colnot, and Jaap Van Zweden. He recently served as principal second violin of the Chicago Philharmonic and has sat as principal second violin of the Civic Orchestra. He has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Oakland Symphony. When Sam is not busy fiddling away he can be found brewing beer, cooking, or playing guitar and singing with his heavy metal band. Sam’s teachers include Ilya Kaler, Axel Strauss and Robert Waters.
Q & A w/Sam
Years in Chicago?
I did my undergrad in Chicago, spent two years in San Francisco, and promptly moved back to Chicago. So about 10 years.
Important musical experience?
The first time I ever heard Shostakovich’s 5th symphony was when I was a freshman in high school and I rehearsed it at Tanglewood. I had never played anything composed by him before and hearing that kind of emotion in music was something I had not yet discovered. It was incredible.
Favorite composer or piece of music?
Beethoven or Tchaikovsky. As musicians, we sometimes forget or to take for granted that Beethoven was deaf. It’s unbelievable how much his music captures the human spirit. Tchaikovsky is so much fun to play. I had a friend in school who was majoring in composition and loved to pretend-quote Tchaikovsky: “I’m glad you liked that melody! Here’s a thousand more, each one better than the last. Oh, I also wrote the melody that will represent love for the next couple of hundred years.”
Favorite Chicago neighborhood or favorite Chicago hang?
This has changed over the years I’ve lived in Chicago. I currently live in North Center, which has absolutely fantastic food. Being a Blue Demon, however, I have to give some love to Kelly’s Pub near DePaul.
Favorite audience experience was…
The Bach marathon last year at Christkindlmarket.
What are the benefits for collaborating with other organizations?
The specific benefits depend on the organization. However, any collaboration is beneficial, as it allows for a wider audience and therefore a better chance for us to positively impact someone’s life with music, while benefiting the mission or clientele of the other organization.
Where is a unique location in Chicago where you wish you could play a concert or recital?
I wish we got to play more down by Chicago’s amazing riverfront. I think it would be great to get on the deck of a riverboat and hook up a sound system and play for as many people as possible!
If I were not a musician, I would be…
Photo by Todd Rosenberg ©.