Meet David Haskins

Youth Ensembles Manager
Reno Phil Violinist

What year did you join the orchestra?
I began performing regularly with the Phil in September 2016 when I moved here from North Carolina, but I officially joined as a contracted player during November 2017.

How long have you been playing music?
I began playing piano and taking lessons at age 5, but I didn’t pick up the violin until I went to middle school at age 11. Violin lessons followed in high school, a few years later, and haven’t stopped since. There is always more to learn!

How did you pick your instrument?
In 5th grade a local orchestra came to my school to perform movie music, and I’ll never forget hearing the orchestral sound for the first time. I was blown away, and I knew I had to join orchestra. Why wouldn’t I pick the instrument that always gets the melody?

Most of the time I am the Youth Ensembles Manager for the Reno Phil – I run our four youth orchestras and our free after school music program, Reno Philharmonic Association Kids (RPAK). I also teach private lessons on violin and piano, and play violin with the Reno Phil and the Reno Chamber Orchestra.

When you’re not playing with the Reno Phil, what would we most likely see you doing in your free time?
When I don’t have to be inside, you’ll find me outdoors away from the city – hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing, I love it all! Reno is an incredible hub for all things outdoors.

What genre of music are you most excited to play?
Classical music will always affect me in a way that no other style of music can. I love the variety of ways classical music makes me feel, and the technical and interpretive challenges it presents on my instrument.

What is your favorite piece of all time to play, and why?
Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, “Pastoral”, has had a special place in my heart for as long as I remember. I think the original inspiration came from watching Disney’s Fantasia endlessly as a child, but it is hard to say for sure. I have performed the symphony in its entirety several times, but I know that I will never get tired of performing or listening to that piece. I love how Beethoven imbued the work with natural elements, motives derived from the countryside, and the most successful “storm” movement in history.

If you could meet one composer/musician, who would it be and why?
I would have to pick Beethoven, hands down. He has always fascinated me, and I feel like there is so much more to know.  Did he really know what his works sounded like without his hearing? Was he actually good at viola? Was he honestly as mad as we envision him today, or was he just misunderstood? Why didn’t he write more operas? I feel like there is so much we don’t truly know, and I am always striving to know more.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I like to go places that have lots of variety. One of my favorite places in the world is Barcelona, where I lived and studied for seven months in college. Barcelona has it all: the beach, the mountains, beautiful concert halls and architecture, a flourishing music and arts scene, and affordable high quality food and drink

What do you think the audience would find surprising about you?
I learned Spanish as a second language in Spain and still speak it fluently. I occasionally tutor math from algebra to calculus, as it was my favorite subject in school. I have also never had a whole soda. I can’t handle the carbonation.

What about performing live music brings you joy?
What truly brings me joy about performing live music is seeing how the audience responds and reacts in real time. I also love the general excitement and atmosphere of live performance; you never know exactly how it will go, or what things might happen differently than expected or rehearsed.


David performs a piece that brings him joy