Paul Frankenfeld head shot

Paul Frankenfeld

Instrument: Viola

Education: Bachelor of Arts in German Studies from Stanford University

Hometown: Long Beach, California

Current neighborhood: White Oak, Ohio

Joined the CSO in 1979

Inspirations as a musician: The great traditions of past teachers and colleagues, plus the innovation and spontaneity of my current fellow musicians.

Activities/organizations outside of the CSO: I am President of the Cincinnati Musicians Association, and a member of the national media committee of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians.  

Hobbies: Swimming, beekeeping and finding old recordings

Funniest concert memory: During March of 1984, the CSO was performing the tone poem Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) by Richard Strauss.  Everybody was a bit on edge, as we were scheduled to record the piece for Vox over the next two days.  In the second performance, at the moment when the soul leaving the body is musically depicted by a soft, ascending chromatic scale, a loud, pre-mobile phone era "beeper" sounded in the hall.  Music Director Michael Gielen, normally a rather reserved person publicly, turned to the audience while continuing to conduct, and shouted, "You are too late, doctor!  The patient has already died!"  It was a struggle for those musicians who heard this to keep their laughter contained while trying to finish the last minutes of the piece.

Where is the strangest place you’ve practiced?

While I was a student at Stanford University in 1975, The Stanford Chamber Orchestra was to perform the Bizet C Major Symphony.  I had to wait for an hour between two literature seminars in a small room at the Department of German Studies located in the quadrangle.  With the performance that evening, and having no time to return either to my residence or practice rooms, I placed my viola case on the conference table as a music stand and began practicing the tricky passage work from the last movement.  After working on this section first slowly and then faster, I played straight through it and was shocked to hear a burst of applause from behind me.  A group of students and German Studies staff members had gathered at an open window and had been listening the whole time.  One of the secretaries from German Studies said, "Nothing like this has ever happened here, and I will never forget it!"