What is your name?
Martin Krátký

Where are you from?
Hamilton, southern Ontario

Where do you live now?
I live on a 60-acre, off-grid property between Kamloops and Vernon, bought as raw land, all the infrastructure designed and built from scratch.

What instrument do you play?
The cello.

How long have you played your instrument?
Since I was 5, so 32 years now.

What made you pick that instrument?
My mother is a pianist; both of my sisters played violin. Cello was the natural choice, especially with a nurturing, motherly first teacher (the late Anne Vallentyne) within a few blocks' walk from our house.

Where did you study?
The University of Toronto, and then the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. The real inspiration was all of the summer chamber music camps, including Banff. I'm so thankful to my parents for supporting all of that music-making.

Please list any awards, accomplishments, etc.
I won my first audition as soon as I finished grad school (or in fact before)--principal cello with the Saskatoon Symphony. My concerto debut there was a collaboration, the demanding (for the cellist) Beethoven Triple Concerto. Funny, that later this season the collaborative theme is echoed, as my colleague Cvetozar and I perform the Brahms Double Concerto.

If you could have dinner with any composer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Hmmm. The William Blake question. It might be Joseph Haydn; his sublime humour keeps me positive through thick and thin!

What is your favourite genre of music, other than classical music?
Probably alternative/progressive bluegrass.

What is your favourite band?
Crooked Still!

Other than the KSO, who do you perform with?
The Okanagan Symphony. I'm proud to be assistant principal there. Then there have been so many poised moments of chamber music with my wonderful friends and colleagues here.

What are some interesting places you have traveled to?
Japan. Six months in an isolated Zen monastery changed my life forever.

What are your hobbies outside of music?
Lately, building...all kinds of structures on my property, from a root cellar and wood sheds, to a 12-sided house that's in progress, and is definitely a team effort, with my partner Sandra and my parents. I also spend a fair bit of time researching and engineering systems for the property--for example, our water system, our future solar array, and the infloor hydronic heating system in the 12-gon (as we call it).

What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?
If there was a shiso perilla flavour, I'd consider eating ice cream.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Saké. And beer-making. I use certified organic whole grains.

Do you get nervous? And how do you calm your nerves before a performance?
No too much. I love being in the flow of music, and actually feel most relaxed in the moment of performance. Breathing deeply, with a walk or jog, are really calming for me as well.

Please add anything that you'd like to share with our audience
I feel so blessed to be part of the Kamloops Symphony; I'm also really excited to have Dina at the helm now--the stakes are just that much higher!