AFCM is managed by volunteers who, in addition to being passionately dedicated to chamber music, have outstanding qualifications. We invite you to get to know them.
Q: How long have you been involved with AFCM?
Paul St. John: My wife and I have been attending AFCM concerts since we moved to Tucson 30 years ago. The presence of an outstanding chamber-music series was a factor in our decision to move here. After several years as audience members, we started hosting visiting musicians. We loved hearing about their lives and insights into the pieces they were performing in the Festival concerts. I joined the AFCM Board in 2015.
Q: What is your current role on the Board?
PStJ: I’m a member of the Commissioning Committee. I love having the opportunity to help with AFCM’s exceptional program that supports the creation of new works and shapes the future of chamber music.
Q: What role does music plays in your life?
PStJ: That’s hard to express in words. Music is always close at hand. Sometimes music leads my thoughts and feelings, and sometimes my thoughts and feelings call up music as a sort of soundtrack to life.
Q: Did you play an instrument or perform as a child?
PStJ: I had some basic lessons for piano, guitar, and trombone, but nothing extensive or serious. I’ve been a consumer of music, not a producer!
Q: How did you first become interested in the chamber music form?
PStJ: A music course in college introduced me to forms of classical music. Chamber music always felt very personal and engaging, and I was amazed that just a few instruments could create such rich and complex sound.
Q: What other kinds of music do you enjoy?
PStJ: Many. Other forms of classical music. I came of age with pop – the Beatles! – and folk music. I also like rock and blues.
Q: What do you do when you’re not working on AFCM:
PStJ: I’m a professor at the University of Arizona, where I mainly teach medical students.
Q: Your interests outside of chamber music?
PStJ: I love spending time with family, especially our grandchildren. I have fun cooking and traveling with my wife. I like reading, including popular mysteries, science, and some history. Two of my outdoor passions are skiing and sailing.
Q: What is the best part of an AFCM concert?
PStJ: I love the sense of anticipation just before the musicians start to play, and the fact that each performance is alive and is dynamically created by the musicians in the moment. To me, a live performance of a piece is much richer than any recording.
Q: Your favorite piece of chamber music?
PStJ: I can’t imagine naming just one! Wouldn’t that be like saying which of your children was your favorite? I enjoy the range and variety of chamber music.
Q: Your favorite book?
PStJ: No one favorite, but a book I enjoyed a lot recently was Your Inner Fish, by Neil Shubin. It’s a page-turner about fossils, genes, and evolution.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us?
PStJ: I’m very grateful to the many donors and volunteers who have supported AFCM over