Widely considered a leader of cutting-edge solo timpani repertoire, David Herbert has performed many commissions and world premiere performances annually. He performed the world premiere of William Kraft’s Grand Encounter Timpani Concerto No. 2 in 2005 with the San Francisco Symphony, a commission written specifically for him. In October, he performed and recorded this concerto with the Symphony of Silicon Valley. Before joining the CSO, he served as principal timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony and the New World Symphony, based in Miami.
With whom would you most want to play a duet, and why?
Some of the most inspirational moments are the ones that happen right on our stage at Orchestra Hall, so I would have to say that being able to collaborate with one of my colleagues would be a fantastic opportunity. For instance, our percussion section is the very best! A duet featuring oboe and timpani would be a wonderful experience as well — Eugene Izotov, what do you think?
Why did you choose your instrument?
I grew up with music in my immediate family and studied piano with my parents. Timpani and percussion were instruments that fascinated me from an early age, and I was able to study these instruments, along with continued piano studies, throughout my early education. When it came time to make a decision, I chose the timpani because of the unique combination of being able to play the drums and to continue to play the world’s most beautiful music, written by the greatest composers. I was also very lucky to be able to study music with incredibly inspirational mentors.
What is your most memorable CSO performance?
I felt that Bach’s B Minor Mass from last season was especially memorable for many reasons — most notably, the combination of Maestro Muti and the incredible soloists, both vocal and instrumental. The chorus was unbelievable, and to experience sitting in the middle of all that great music was truly a magical moment for me.
Offstage, I like to:
Exercise and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. I walk a lot on any given day, which keeps my mind alert and helps to keep me active.
Favorite book or movie:
Anything in the movies with memorable quotes, such as “Dumb and Dumber” and “Caddyshack,” can offer some common ground and relief for us (serious musicians) to share a laugh together offstage.
HOMETOWN: Columbia, Mo.
YEAR JOINED THE CSO: 2013.
EDUCATION: The Juilliard School.