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Get to know Fred Gratta, Florida Orchestra cellist, pianist

Age: 45

With the orchestra since: 1994

Hometown: I was born in White Plains, N.Y., and raised in Armonk, N.Y., until I was 10, when my family moved to Bradenton.

Education: Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Southern California

Age I started studying my instrument: Began studying piano at age 3 or 4. Didn't begin cello until I was 12.

My iPod's usually playing (song or genre): I don't have an iPod. I support public radio (WUSF and WMNF) and look forward to hearing 24-hour classical music on WSMR 89.1 in the Tampa Bay area as promised.

Rays, Bucs or Lightning? All of the above, but my real favorite is the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton.

I'm an expert at: math and writing

But I'm really lousy at: cooking and most sports

Career path if I hadn't chosen music: yoga instructor and natural/alternative medical practitioner with focus on nutrition, acupuncture, ayurveda and herbology

m Some little-known, yet interesting fact about you: Piano is my first true love. A few years ago I finally got up the nerve to audition for the orchestra's keyboard sub list and made it. So I get to play small keyboard parts with the orchestra when needed.

The questions you're asked most often about your instrument: Who made your cello? How old is it? How much is it worth? Do you ever wish you had taken up the piccolo instead? I actually have two cellos. The cello I play most often was built in 1996 by the luthier William Whedbee in Chicago. He used perfectly preserved wood that is more than 200 years old that he brought back from Cremona, Italy. My cello is a fine reproduction of those made by Francesco Ruggieri (1630-1698). I have a small collection of fine bows, which includes one by Victor Fetique (made in Paris around 1913) and another by Karl Wilhelm Knopf (made in Germany between 1850-1860). I also have a 6-foot Boston grand piano in my studio. I usually do not disclose the supposed "fair market" value of my equipment. About playing the piccolo, my answer is a definitive "No."

Get to know Fred Gratta, Florida Orchestra cellist, pianist 01/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 3:30am]

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