Hi, my name is Peter. Although most of my friends call me PJ which stands for Peter James. It's kinda an interesting story of how my parents came up with that name. As I understood it they were discussing a name for me while on their way home, but could not agree with eachother till finally my dad got so fed up he went into the house. My mom was quite upset, but then the name "Peter James" popped in her head. She was so excited because she felt it was the perfect name. However, when my dad came out he told my mom he had the perfect. At first dissappointed, my mom was bewildered by the fact that my dad's plan for the name had also been Peter James. Well anyway, that's my unbelievable story for the day.
Anyway, I guess I'll start off by saying that I am currently 20, and was born and raised in Lexington, Ky most of my life. When I was about six, we moved to Williamstown, NJ due to a Job transfer my dad recieved with IBM in Philadelphia. NJ was where my little brother Mario was born. You can find a brief description and photo on him in the first photo page. After about three years of living on the east coast, my dad got a Job transfer to the new business Lexmark International, and we packed our bags and moved back to Lexington. And I have been living here ever since.
In the sixth grade I began learning how to play trumpet, studying privately with Don Wilson Rep. Stewart Smith. I was also in the school band under the direction of Mr. Craig Cornish at Beaumont Middle. Unfortunately I was having trouble with the public school systems and, despite my grades which averaged to about a C, maybe even B, my mom decided to have me repeat the sixth grade at a private school. It was my second year at the private school, in seventh grade where i was switched to the instrument i would be playing the rest of my life. The euphonium.
As Highschool came a long, I had never really been too interested in Music. I was only in the Wind Ensemble, which was the low band, and did not think i had what it took. However, after I had sat 1st chair in the Concert band, the 2nd band up, my sophomore year, I knew i did have talent in me after all. I began taking lessons with Brian Meixner, University of Kentucky euphonium player and graduate. Lessons with him were like the turns of milleniums. I had improved so much over the years. Though dissappointed at not making the first cuts for KMEA All-State I had began to work a whole lot at becoming a good player. I was shocked to have been chosen to sit Principal Seat at the Kentuckiana Music Institute of 7 people who auditioned. This truely told me that music was where I wanted to go with my life. And that was surely reinforced when I had been given the word that I had made 3rd seat im the KMEA All-State Symphonic Band my senior year. 26 people auditioned for the bands.
I left behind somewhat of an interesting four years. Now it was time to prepare for college. I auditioned for the school of Music, in front of Mr. John R. Jones Jr., Tuba Professor at the University of Louisville. My audition was not what i wanted it to be and I was quite dissappointed. The fact of the matter was I was auditioning for the Scholarship because I had not had the money to pay for college my self. After my audition with the University of Kentucky, I was only given $600 while others with lower GPA's and ACT scores were given full rides because they were really good. This really disappointed me and I was really hoping that UofL would not do the same thing. A couple days later I received a call from Amy Becher indicating that I had recieved a full tuition Scholarship at the University of Louisville. I was going to be a Music Major.
Arriving in Louisville was a challenge. It all seemed so confusing to me, plus I had never met my roommate and someone I knew from KMI that I talked to at Orientation said that he was sort of wierd. But I soon found that he shared a lot of the same interests as me including being heavily interested in composition. That was a positive thing because we were both able to help eachother and give advice on our pieces. The next step was auditioning for placement in the bands. After my semi-acceptable audition, I was suprised to have place 2nd seat in the University of Louisville Wind Ensemble. This was a great accomplishment for me and I was very proud of it. However, my first semester in the school of music went more to hanging out with my friends than it did to practicing. I did improve on ensemble playing a whole lot. And good enough to make principal seat for the second semester. However, my solo playing never showed many great qualities. This changed when I chose to perform a somewhat challenging piece my second semester. The piece was called Napoli, and I had heard many of the euphonium greats such as Brian Bowman and Steven Meade, play it before. It was not easy. But I figured it was time to really crack down on it. I spent an average of about 4 hours a day in the practice room working on it. It payed off too, because I was able to perform it at an acceptable speed by my jury performance which i received an A on. This was the Highlight of my musical carreer. But I'm sure I will have more down the path.