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Alberto Suarez, Landon and Sarah Rowland Principal Horn

Alberto G. Suarez was born to Cuban parents in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain and was raised in South Florida. In addition to serving as Principal Horn of the Kansas City Symphony, Mr. Suarez performs with the New York Symphonic Ensemble during the summers. Prior to joining the Kansas City Symphony, Alberto was a member of the New World Symphony, Verbier Festival Orchestra, and the Sphinx Symphony, a unique all Black and Latino orchestra comprised of top professionals from around the country. Locally he performed with Summerfest and appeared as a soloist with the Overland Park Symphony. Mr. Suarez was a founding member of the Huntington Brass Quintet (HBQ), which received critical acclaim for their 2002 recording, Daniel Pinkham: Music for Brass. HBQ has performed recitals across the country including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. The HBQ was selected to participate in Chamber Music America's Rural Residency, which enables ensembles to bring live music to rural communities nationwide. As an educator, Mr. Suarez has taught masterclasses at various universities including the University of Kansas, University of Missouri at Kansas City, Manhattan School of Music in New York, and the New World Symphony.

Ten questions about me:

What is your earliest musical memory?

Back in seventh grade, I was able to have an elective class of my choosing. This was the first time I could choose a class and I always enjoyed helping out in the kitchen so I decided on home economics. Home economics included two parts, cooking for half the year and sewing for the second half. The first half was great, but once we got to sewing I wanted out. Since my brother was in band I spoke with the Band Director, Mr. Walters. He said I could join the beginning band but I only had two choices for instruments, the trombone and the horn. So after a quick moment I said the horn but not for the reason you might think. My brother played the trombone: so I chose the horn.

When did you know you wanted to be a professional musician?

I studied at a performing arts high school in Miami called New World School of the Arts. It is a public high school that focuses on the visual and performing arts. One day in my physics class, I heard some beautiful music coming from the front of the class. I asked my teacher, Mr. Sturgulewski or "Sturge" as we all called him, about the music and he told me it was Mahler's Second Symphony. Later that day I went to the library and listened to Mahler's Second Symphony in its entirety. I was so taken by the spectrum of colors and emotions and was very excited about playing in an orchestra from that day forward.

What is your favorite thing about performing music?

Being on stage with fantastic colleagues and exploring our musical ideas each night in a unique and fresh way.

Who is your most inspiring composer?

Though it is quite difficult to choose one composer, I feel most connected to Gustav Mahler. Mahler composed in a style that demanded a lot of different colors and effects from the orchestra to portray all the emotions that he was feeling.

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

Being surrounded by an amazing community that supports the orchestra and is very excited about our future as we move into the Kauffman Center.

What is your most memorable performance with the Kansas City Symphony?

Performing the Britten Serenade at Visitation Church. The sound in that venue was intimate and lush. It was a fantastic collaboration.

What's your "top pick" for downtown dining, or for a post-concert drink or dessert?

I really enjoy the atmosphere and the food at La Bodega. The tapas on the late night menu are awesome!

Tell us about your family and your hobbies.

I grew up in a traditional Cuban family. I am the youngest of three children raised in South Florida. I love playing basketball, sudoku, and taking on home improvement projects. I also love to make authentic Cuban dishes that I learned to make from my parents and grandmother. In March 2010, I got married in Miami to my wife, Meredith.

If you weren't a professional musician, what occupation would you choose?

I would have to say that it would be an electrical engineer. When I was in high school, I was interested in mathematics and physics and had helped my father on freelance home electrical work. When I got to college, I was a double major in electrical engineering and music performance. After three years of doing both, I decided to pursue music exclusively.

What is your favorite city that you've visited or lived in and why?

I really enjoy being in EspaƱa. If I had to pick one city it would be Barcelona. The food, location, and weather are ideal for a relaxing vacation.