Snapshot: Interview with Paul Feeny

Age: 29

From: Portland, OR

Job Title: Assistant Director of Ensemble Operations

Favorite Brew: Hop Slam

Carrie Rexroat: How’d you get started with music?

Paul Feeny: The first time I’d ever played an instrument I was around 8 or 9. My 2nd cousin had just started beginning band on the saxophone, and when I went over to his house I wound up playing it for a couple hours. I was disappointed that when it came time for me to choose an instrument they made me start on clarinet, but I was pretty apt at that so I was encouraged to continue with it and I did.

CR: Originally, why did you choose to pursue music as a career?

PF: I’d always pictured an orchestral career, but during late undergrad and early masters degree, obviously that changed. It’s been an interesting though relatively easy transition though. I’d always forefront thought of myself as a performer, but after being around musicians who were clearly very dedicated and invested in their career path, I noticed that passion was not there for me in the same way. Instead, I realized I was the one that was always there for setups and teardowns, I knew how to move percussion, I knew most of the inner workings of an ensemble, etc. So, this was a pretty natural stepping stone.

CR: What’s something that you really enjoy about being an ensemble director?

PF: While challenging, I enjoy that I can still express creativity in a very structured environment. Just like how musicians build and facilitate music making through practicing their instruments, I too get to build and facilitating great pieces through being involved in the production elements.