MEET THE ORCHESTRA
ERNEST MUZQUIZ | percussion
Ernest Múzquiz is a native of Moore, Texas (San Antonio area) and attended Texas A & I University (now Texas A & M – Kingsville) where he received his bachelor of music degree in 1970. Following his dream to become a symphony orchestra musician, he crossed the country to do graduate work at Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, where he received his master’s degree in 1971. Before coming to join the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in 1974, he was awarded the Eastman School’s highest award: the performer’s certificate, which entitled him to perform as a concerto soloist with the school’s premier symphony orchestra.
His main percussion teachers were Dr. Joseph L. Bellamah (Texas A & I), John Beck (Eastman), James Dotson (San Antonio Symphony) and Leigh Howard Stevens (virtuoso marimba artist). In 1978 he turned down an invitation from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to become its principal percussionist in order to accept Maestro Christopher Keene’s invitation to serve as the SSO’s Assistant Conductor, a position he held for ten years. He also served 16 years as director of the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra (SSYO).
In addition to his duties with the former SSO, Múzquiz has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony (Previn, Maazel), the Baltimore Symphony (Commissiona, Fleischer), and the Rochester Philharmonic (Zinman, Samuel Jones). As a timpanist, he performed with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in Greensboro, NC (1975) and ten years with the local Skaneateles Festival. He served as percussion instructor at Syracuse University from 1974 to 1994 and also as conductor of the S.U. Summer Orchestra (1980-2000).
Mr. Múzquiz is married to the former Alice Lee who currently serves as Chief Accompanist at the S.U. Drama Department. She served as accompanist for Dr. Barbara Marble Tagg’s Syracuse Children’s Chorus for 29 years. Mr. Múzquiz’ daughter, Minerva, currently lives in NYC and works as Director of Administration of The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs. His three stepsons live in Providence and New Haven, the two eldest being married with two children each.
Mr. Múzquiz gives special thanks to several colleagues and teachers who were influential in his career: Dr. Everett Gates (music education chair, Eastman); Dr. Merton Johnson (conductor, Texas A & I); Herb Flower (former principal percussionist, SSO), Douglas Igelsrud (former principal timpanist, SSO), Dave Mancini (drummer with Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson, Chuck Mangione, Maureen McGovern, et al.); James Petercsak (percussion director, SUNY-Potsdam); William Quick (former principal percussionist, Israel Chamber Orchestra, later band director, Liverpool ISD); David Ross (SSO bassoonist, retired, and master engraver of music); James Saporito (Broadway-based percussionist and Latin music expert); John Soroka (former principal percussionist, Pittsburgh Symphony), Gordon Stout (world-renowned marimba artist, predominant composer of music for the marimba, and percussion director, Ithaca College), Dr. David Russell Williams (professor of theory, Eastman, and chair of music, Memphis State U., retired); Dean Witten (Broadway-based percussionist, percussion director, Rowan University), former students Michael W. Bull and Laurance Luttinger, (now professional colleagues), and last but not least, the late Helen S. Boatwright — doyen of vocal music in CNY (his last major teacher: for voice, as well as for valuable life’s lessons).