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Instrumental Beginnings

Learn about Gary Schocker, an upcoming performer at Strathmore.

Gary Schocker is playing on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Music in the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. He has been playing for many years and had his first major performance at the young age of 15.

Introduce yourself: Gary Schocker, flutist, composer, pianist

<b>How did you get your start? </b>My father started me when I was 3 at the piano. I started flute at age 10. My dad gave me the flute because the Vietnam War was going on and I could have a means of one day avoiding the draft and go and play in the West Point Band.

<b>How long have you been performing for?</b> Since I was 3 or 4. I had my first major performance with the New York Philharmonic when I was 15. They had a Young People's Concert under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. I played the Flute & Harp Concerto by Mozart.

<b>What has been your best memory when it comes to music? </b>As a composer, it's always a thrill to see my music performed. I love seeing my musicals done. It was done very well at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer. I love playing my own music. I played my concerto Greenplaces with the Gulf Coast Symphony. That was a memorable performance. There are many. It's hard to say.

<b>Describe your sound: </b> I'm an eclectic and melodic composer. People have compared me to Poulenc and Bernstein. My work is theatrical. Hard to describe.

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Biggest musical influences:</b> My dad. He's 94 and still teaches five or six piano students. He's good on about 10 or 12 instruments. My flute teacher, Julius Baker, was also a great influence. He gave me a sound concept.

<b>Best compliment about a performance?</b> I received the following comment from a concertgoer: "How you played was just how you were when you spoke to me." That's important. They're hearing me during my performances.

<b>Anything special about the upcoming show? </b>There's the piece that Strathmore commissioned "Back to School." It will be a world premiere performance. I'll also be playing with Cliff Jackson — a wonderful pianist. We just made a record together called "Healing Music" and it will be available for the first time at this show.

<b>Future Plans: </b>Finish unpacking the boxes in my new place!