The Brooklyn Ink profiles Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra artistic director Nicholas Armstrong. The group performs regularly at St. Ann’s and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights. The next BSO concert at St. Ann’s will be December 19 at 3pm : SAINT-SAENS – La Muse et Le Poete featuring Judy Spokes, violin and David Cho, cello; DVORAK – Symphony #6. Tickets are $15 for more info email firstname.lastname@example.org :
Brooklyn Ink: Armstrong speaks with a British accent. His initial response to a question is to pause and then to collect his thoughts as he gazes at the balcony. His replies are deliberate. Playing music is the oldest activity he can remember doing. He started by singing at his church. He begged his parents for a piano. They bought him a “cheap and upright” piano and acquired for him a “cheap and upright” teacher. Armstrong plays viola, piano and harpsichord. But his favorite instrument is the violin.
He pursued a degree in viola performance at the University of Bristol. His next move was playing at the Teatro La Fenice opera house in Venice, Italy. “I played under so many poorly prepared conductors,” he says. So he received a Master’s degree in conducting at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“New York begged me to come,” Armstrong says. He admits that he does not have the personality to push for an international career in conducting. Instead he teaches at Poly Prep Country Day School in Bay Ridge as the Performance Arts Department Chair.
The Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra is in its 37th season and 14th under Nicholas Armstrong. It started as a small group of amateur musicians in Brooklyn Heights. Armstrong embraces the fact that they are an amateur orchestra. “We are a community orchestra,” he says.