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ESO 101: Rafael Hoekman

ESO 101: Rafael Hoekman

Meet Rafael Hoekman, Principal Cello for the ESO. Rafael began learning to play the cello when he was only three years old, in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland. He completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Toronto and has enjoyed an illustrious career as a soloist, teacher, chamber musician, and orchestral cellist. Rafael loves the Edmonton Oilers, chocolate, and Netflix.


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When was your earliest recital and what did you play?
I started when I was 3, so I don't remember. I asked my Mom, but she also doesn't remember!

How long have you been with the ESO?
This is my fifth season.

How many instruments do you know how to play?
Just the cello. It's hard enough to learn one to play professionally. I don't know many string players who can play multiple instruments outside of violinists who the viola and vice versa.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?
I have had phases ranging from death metal to barbershop quartets. I have actually purchased three different albums by the band Slipknot …

What is the last album you purchased (digital or physical)?
Not sure. I have been addicted to YouTube for several years now …

What was the last song/piece of music you listened to?
I listen a lot. Recently, I watched some videos of young Canadian cellists participating in the OSM competition. One of them played a beautiful piece by Schumann called Adagio and Allegro.

What would your DJ name be?
Rafcello

Who would be your partner on the Amazing Race?
My wife Meran Currie- Roberts. She is also a cellist in the ESO. She is the smartest person I know.

What would your personalized license plate be if you had to have one?
CELLONERD

What is your pre-concert ritual?
I don't really have one. If it's a tough program I can be pretty crabby to the folks around me ...

What's something people might not know about you?
I have some pretty dark secrets … lol. Most people are surprised when they find out I grew up in Newfoundland.

What is your favourite sports team or player?
Go Oilers!!!!

How many different cities have you lived in?
St. John's, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton. I had jobs in London (Ontario) and Windsor, but I commuted.

What is your favourite city (or a country) you’ve travelled and why?
I love New York City. It's the energy!!

Do you have a nickname?
Raf

What is your favourite orchestra other than the ESO?
I love the Berlin Phil, and whatever orchestra Valery Gergiev is conducting …

What do you do in your free time?
I very slowly watch movies or shows on Netflix. Watching The Irishman right now in general installments.

What food would be on your rider as a rock star?
Something with chocolate and banana … lots of chocolate!!


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Coffee or tea?
Lots of coffee

Pancakes or waffles?
Pancakes

Facebook or Instagram?
Facebook, but not much.

Coke or Pepsi?
Coke

Cats or dogs?
Allergic

Dine-in or take-out?
Take-out

Apple or Android?
Android

PC or Mac?
PC

Morning or Night?
Concerts are at night!!!

Call or text?
Text

Beethoven or Mozart?
Beethoven

Schubert or Dvořák?
Schubert

Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff?
Don't make me choose ...

Book or movie?
Movie

Mountains or ocean?
Mountains

Wine or beer?
Neither

Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. The music is better.

Musical or opera?
Opera