The Conversation: Anthony Anurca

Anthony Anurca
Second Chair Bassoon, Jacksonville Symphony Orhcestra

Conversation with and photograph by Tiffany Manning

A Jacksonville native, and class of ’99 Douglas Anderson graduate, Anthony Anurca’s musical roots are deeply ingrained into the pulse of our city. His passion for music was born in the days when MTV actually played music videos. He would run around the house lip-syncing and dancing to his favorite songs. He soon began to play the piano, and later, the bassoon. After arriving at DA, the bassoon became his instrument of choice, and a love for making digital music soundscapes came soon after the electronic music studio was built there. Cincinnati pulled him away for his college education and Miami and Kansas City for work, but after securing a position with the Jacksonville Symphony in 2010, he made his way back home.

What is it about playing in an orchestra that excites you?

Sitting in the middle of the orchestra, hearing the sounds and feeling the vibrations, the rush of staying in time with the pulse train of the musicians around you, and even the nerves that come with starting the softest notes with the tip of your tongue, there are many aspects of playing in an orchestra that excite me. I play in the second chair of the bassoon section and when it’s called for, the contrabassoon. My role within the orchestra is supportive, but I do have solos every now and then. I dwell in the lower parts of the orchestral sound spectrum and my most exciting moments are when I get to belt out beastly tones with the contrabassoon. I’m all about that bass.

As a full time musician, I imagine that orchestra work provides stability, but people who are genuinely interested in self-discovery really need to branch out and find a way to express themselves individually. How do you find ways to express yourself more freely through music?

I’ve been hosting house concerts for about five years now, with about sixteen total performances so far. I’ve invited friends and other musicians to play and others have approached me about performance ideas. It’s been a great collaboration with many different artists and I’ve met so many fascinating people. I’ve always loved the idea of house concerts.

It gives an audience member an intimate setting to really immerse themselves in the performance, and also the opportunity to freely communicate with the artists around them. I get to play what I want and the other artists can come and freely express themselves, too. It’s like a laboratory. The composer, Franz Schubert (1797-1828), who wrote one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, “Ave Maria,” premiered many of his works in a house concert, salon setting.

Your home is the auditorium space of a former school, if I’m not mistaken. What an incredible gift to be able to live and create in a space filled with the spirit of the children who attended so many years ago. Tell us a little about that space and what it’s like to live with a stage in your living room 365 days a year! 

Yes! I live in the former Corrine Scott Elementary School in Springfield known now as 1951 Market Lofts. The developers separated the auditorium into two units and I was lucky enough to get one. My unit has a corner stage that can fit about five musicians. It has an open floor plan, with three levels, the ceilings are about twenty-five feet tall, the acoustics are crisp and clear, and like sitting in the middle of the orchestra, you can feel the vibrations all around you. When I moved in, there were two murals … one of an elephant and the other the cover art from the 1927 German expressionist science-fiction film, Metropolis. The latter inspired me to name my house concerts, the Schulkonzert Opus Series. Schulkonzert is German for school concert. Living here has been a dream and I’m grateful for my supportive neighbors and all the experiences I’ve had.

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