Meet the Musician: Avery Weeks

Meet the Musician: Avery Weeks

Welcome to "Meet the Musician," a behind-the-scenes blog series getting to know the Houston Symphony's exceptional musicians.

In this series, we take you up close and personal with the artists who sit on stage at Jones Hall every weekend. Read on to learn more about the inspirations, challenges, and musical passions that drive these remarkable artists. And, of course, you'll learn some fun facts along the way!

Dive in and help us celebrate the diverse stories and experiences that make each musician an integral part of our symphonic family.

Name: Avery Weeks
Position: Double Bass
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

How long have you been playing your instrument, and what do you love the most about it?

I have been playing the double bass since I was in the 5ᵗʰ grade. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than a well-written bass line; often, the bass instruments have the role of defining the harmonic structure and contributing to the rhythmic foundation of the music we play, which allows us to have a tremendous impact on the music.

I think a bass section needs to be hyper-aware of everything around them so that they can support and connect the orchestra from top to bottom, and this is something that I take immense pride and pleasure in doing well; that would have to be my favorite part. Of course, the low notes are a close second!

How did you get started playing your instrument?

This is actually quite a funny story. My junior high had a program that required all students to play six months of a string instrument of their choice. I grew up taking piano and trumpet lessons, which lasted only a short time. But for my parents, the idea of a string instrument, with its fragility and various accouterments associated with playing, felt like a completely different animal.

Anyhow, we had to choose, and I wanted to play either the cello or the violin, so I brought home the sheet to have my parents sign, thinking it would be an easy ceremony. It is an understatement to say that I was a forgetful kid, and things in my possession may have fared better near the site of a black hole. Hence, the conversation quickly became one of keeping up with the instrument. We went back and forth until finally, my mom said, "Avery, I think you should play the bass… It's so big, it would be impossible to lose." followed by my dad telling me that bassists are also really cool! Both are sentiments I agree with to this day!

I have yet to lose the bass, and I tell myself I'm pretty cool. I am sure they had no idea I would stick with it, and they would be tripping over cases and gear, stepping in melted Pops, and driving a bass around for the next eight or so years, but I wouldn't change a thing.

What concert are you looking forward to performing in the most this season or next season?

I would pick the June 1 and 2 performances of Strauss's An Alpine Symphony. This concert will be my first with the orchestra and, as such, will always hold a special place, but this was also one of the first pieces I ever played with a professional orchestra. I remember the visceral impact that the beauty and sheer magnitude of this piece had on me at that time, and I am looking forward to reliving that with this fantastic group

What is your favorite piece of music?

I am not sure I can possibly pick one piece of music that I like above all others, but at the moment, the composer that I cannot get enough of is Mozart. There is something about the clarity with which he writes his bass lines that I think allows us bass players (cellists included!) so much room for expression. At the moment, this is really exciting for me. We may also have to revisit this question after the Strauss Festival is over.

Outside of classical music, what genre of music is your favorite?

I am always looking for music that is new, interesting, and inspiring, but I don't have a genre that I put above all else. For me, the mood I am in, and the environment around me has a huge impact on the music I listen to.

What do you love the most about Houston?

I have only been to Houston a few times, but I always leave very full! I'm sure this is quite a standard answer, but I'll have to say the food... for now.

What’s a fun fact about you that you would like our patrons to know?

Maybe the most exciting fact about me is that I soloed an airplane and got my driver's license in the same week!

My dad was the one who taught me how to fly when I was growing up, and it was something that I did all throughout my childhood until I graduated from high school. Unfortunately, University and airplanes are hardly conducive, so it's been a long time since I have had the chance to fly, but maybe that is something I can reexplore down the road.

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