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: Nathan Cloeter
Position: Assistant Principal Horn
Hometown: Lake Jackson, Texas
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! I have lived in the Houston area for my whole life, and I joined the Houston Symphony this past May after graduating from Rice University. It is such an immense privilege to be a part of the orchestra that I have been watching since middle school!
How long have you been playing your instrument, and what do you love the most about it?
I have been playing the horn for 11 years, starting at age 11. When I started horn, I was drawn towards the challenge of playing, and practicing was like a fun puzzle to solve each day. As I have grown on the instrument, the challenge is still renewed each day! In addition,
I love how the horn has so much versatility in the orchestra. It can be scored as a brass
instrument, naturally, but it is frequently scored with woodwinds and as a major solo voice within the orchestra.
How did you get started playing your instrument?
I began in the band at my middle school. My two older brothers had played trombone and trumpet, so I did not want to copy their choices. I wanted to keep within the brass family, so it was between horn, euphonium, and tuba. The latter instruments seemed too big and clumsy for me to handle, so I chose the horn.
What concert are you looking forward to performing in the most this season?
Eine Alpensinfonie. The second to last concert of the entire season will include this colossal pastoral symphony. The piece features a gigantic orchestra, including a mighty eight horns onstage and 12 more horns offstage for an exciting hunting fanfare. This work has truly reached a legendary status among orchestra musicians for its beautiful motives and themes, and I think that just about everyone on stage has a fun part to play. There is just no other piece like it!
What is your favorite piece of music?
For the longest time, Mahler’s Third Symphony has been my favorite piece of music. This symphony is also special to me because it was one of the first concerts that I saw at the Houston Symphony in 2015. Seeing this concert was one of the “sparks” that began to inspire me to love music. I simply could not believe something so awesome and incredible could be achieved with an orchestra. From then on, I knew that I wanted to play in a major symphony orchestra.
Outside of classical music, what genre of music is your favorite?
I like to listen to any music that puts me in a good mood, so really any music from any genre can find its way into my playlists. I can turn on any radio station in the car if it's easy listening and good for the spirits.
If you could choose any three people, living or deceased, to have dinner with who would they be and what would you eat/where would you have dinner?
My answer may bend the rules, but I would want to have dinner with my parents and any one of my grandparents when they were my age. Haven’t we all wondered what our folks were like before we were born? How similar or different are they from the people who came to raise us? This is just a funny thing that I have always wondered, and I think it answers this question well.