Get to Know the DSSO: Kevin Hoeschen, Principal Viola

Name: Kevin Hoeschen

Member of DSSO since: 1978

DSSO Position: Principal Viola

Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

What made you decide to pursue a career in music? 
I love teaching and I truly believe music is the most wonderful subject to teach.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far? 
This is a difficult question to answer. I believe seeing genuine looks of joy on my students’ faces each day as they make music together is a new highlight.

 What made you choose to play viola? 
I was a sixth grade student at St. Mary’s school in Alexandria when the public school orchestra director, Mr. Askegaard, visited our school. Our school only went from grades 1-6. We were planning on attending the public schools in seventh grade. He asked if any incoming seventh graders wanted to join the orchestra, which began in fourth grade in the public schools. He said he especially needed violas. I had no idea what a viola was, so I asked him. He signed me up for orchestra and a few weeks later I opened a viola case for the first time. That day changed my life forever…in a good way!

What’s the most challenging thing about playing viola?
Sometimes we receive our DSSO music only weeks before the concert. This can be a challenge if the music is difficult and includes some viola solos. One good example was last October’s “Transfigured Night” by Arnold Schoenberg, which had a very challenging 30+ page viola part with several difficult solo passages.

Do you have a favorite piece of orchestral repertoire to play and/or listen to? 
I have several favorite pieces. Among them are the Bach Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin. The last movement, the “Chaconne” is sublime. The slow movement of the Barber Violin Concerto is an emotional journey, too. I always loving playing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, which has three wonderful viola parts! And Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for solo violin and viola has a luscious viola solo part!

When you’re not performing, what do you do for fun? 
My family and I enjoy the outdoors, especially hiking and camping in the mountains. We made annual trips to Glacier Park for years while our children, Mary and Karl, were growing up. Carol and I enjoy family get-togethers with our children. We are fairly new grandparents, and we have a great time with our grandson, Eddie

What’s one thing you hope people take away from a DSSO concert? 
Sharing our (the orchestra players’) love of music with the audience.

Do you have any advice for those looking to pursue a career in music? 
Find a good teacher, practice diligently and listen to music as often as you possibly can…especially live performances!