May 10, 2023

MSM faculty member David Krauss, principal trumpet of the MET Orchestra, hosts a podcast featuring extraordinary musical talent

In the podcast, Speaking Soundly (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and other platforms), David Krauss conducts candid and compelling conversations with fellow musicians, discussing the creative process, their lives as musicians, and more.

David has interviewed several high-profile members of the MSM Community on Speaking Soundly, including MSM alumnus and trustee – countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo; violinist and the Head of MSM Orchestral Performance program David Chan; mezzo-soprano (and MSM Precollege alumna) Isabel Leonard; as well as MSM trustee board – jazz composer and trumpeter Terence Blanchard.

David talks with us about the series, as well as how he juggles recording the podcast with his teaching at MSM and performing duties at the MET Orchestra.

Can you tell us about this podcast series? What is its goal and who is the audience?

David: Speaking Soundly is your ticket to backstage conversations with world-renowned musicians. I sit down with guests such as Wynton Marsalis, Emanuel Ax, Rhiannon Giddens, Joyce DiDonato, Rufus Wainwright, James Ehnes, Anthony McGill, Ray Chen, and many more for candid and compelling discussions as they speak about their creative process and lives as artists. The goal of the podcast is to amplify artistic voices and make music and the performers accessible to a wide and diverse audience.

What was your inspiration for this series?

David: The podcast came about during the pandemic. For a year and a half I wasn’t performing. Sure, I missed performing, but the other part that I didn’t realize I missed was hanging out with other musicians and talking about process. I had some early conversations with dear friends and colleagues, and during these talks, I really enjoyed hearing about what performing meant to each of them. Thus, the podcast grew from here.

Can you tell us about the guests you have on the show and the range of music you talk about?

Recent guests have ranged from pop composer/singer Rufus Wainright to Wynton Marsalis and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.

When I first started the podcast, I reached out to people I knew personally. Wynton Marsalis was my first call as he has been a longtime mentor and friend. In our conversation he talks about when he felt he deserved the attention he was getting as a young artist and discusses the value of learning to play an instrument.

I also called the great Pianist Emanuel Ax because he lives up the street from my house near Tanglewood. Sometimes we walk together and have great conversations about music, so it was easy to ask him to be on an episode. Once the podcast got going, I reached out to artists I admired but had never met, like Grammy Award-winning folk artist Rhiannon Giddens. She does everything; she’s an unbelievable banjo and fiddle player, an inspiring singer-songwriter, and is the Artistic Director of the Silk Road Ensemble. During our conversation, I learned that she went to Oberlin to study opera without ever having seen a live opera nor the ability to read music. She is a musical genius.

I also interviewed the iconic pop singer-songwriter, Rufus Wainwright, multi-Grammy Award-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride, and Japanese drum and shinobue expert Kaoru Watanabe, so I get to hear about most every genre of music.

Can you tell us about the recent episode with MSM Board of Trustee member and alumnus Anthony Roth Costanzo?

Anthony is incredibly inspiring. He told me about his theatrical childhood and how he was “bit by the opera bug” performing onstage with Pavarotti at such a young age. Most of all, I loved hearing him talk about how he aspires to make opera accessible by focusing on the drama onstage and the relatability of the music to a modern audience; I love this! He also told me about what it’s like when he performs for young kids who have never heard opera before, much less a countertenors’ voice, and the joy he gets watching their immediate response. Anthony’s excitement for performing, music and education is infectious, and I can’t wait to work with him again at the Met.

“The podcast came about during the pandemic. For a year and a half I wasn’t performing. Sure, I missed performing, but the other part that I didn’t realize I missed was hanging out with other musicians and talking about process.”

MSM faculty member, principal trumpet for the MET Opera Orchestra, and host/creator of the podcast Speaking Soundly

How does doing this podcast fit in with your “day job” of playing with the MET Orchestra and teaching at MSM?

David: I’m not going to lie: between the very long hours at the opera house and my teaching schedule, there isn’t much time left for extra projects, but the late nights I spend editing episodes and researching future guests has been personally fulfilling because I get to spend so much time in the orbit of these great artists. The time flies!

Has doing this podcast affected your teaching in any way, for example, what you impart to your students?

David: Absolutely. I’m a big believer that the best teaching comes from your own personal experience. I light up when I hear a student struggling with an obstacle I confronted myself because I can show them exactly how I overcame it and give them the tools to figure it out for themselves. It’s an awesome feeling as a teacher to make those connections! Through my work with the podcasts, I get to hear first-hand accounts of the common struggles we all face as performing artists. Their experiences stay with me, broaden my perspective and search for new connections with all of my students.

What do you like about teaching at MSM? Why would you recommend a young musician study at MSM?

David: Well, I have to start with the building itself. As a native New Yorker, I truly appreciate the pre-war charm, high ceilings, wide hallways and tall picture windows facing Riverside Park. Gorgeous! I also love the people inside the building and I am honored to be on a faculty that includes some of New York City’s finest performers.

Beyond the weekly lesson, many MSM students have the chance to take the subway downtown to hear their teachers perform in world-class ensembles. Listening to faculty practice what they preach night after night can be an invaluable experience for any student.

How can people hear this podcast?

David: Speaking Soundly is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you typically get your podcasts. You can also hear the show on our website,

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