Jerry Greenfield

Music in My Life


My father was a professional musician and professor of music theory and education at Pacific University, so it was natural for my siblings and me to become immersed in music from early childhood. I’m sure I disappointed my father, when, after two or three years of unproductive class piano lessons which I took without enthusiasm (or willing practice), I was allowed to quit. I was in elementary school then, and to his credit, I was not pressed to go further in music, although the exposure to musical culture was a constant. It wasn’t until I was in junior high school when at my own initiative I tried trombone. I have no idea why I chose that instrument. In any case I bent the slide and decided trombone wasn’t my thing. I next tried trumpet, which suited better, but that proved also to be only a short experiment.

My older brother was a professional French hornist, whose introduction to me of the Dennis Brain recordings of the Mozart horn concerti prompted me to take up the horn as a high school freshman. I studied that instrument in earnest through high school, first with Russell White and then with Charles Dietz, both of the Portland (now the Oregon) Symphony. I continued to play the horn in college and after a long hiatus picked it up again to play several years with the Delaware County Symphony when I lived in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. Having no performance outlet while I lived in Japan and with many other demands on my time, I seldom took my instrument from its case other to show it as an example of a dual-aspect tool-aesthetic object in my aesthetics course. After returning to Oregon, I played five years in the Marion County Citizens Band, one of the longest-established adult bands in Oregon, and one of the most active. More recently I joined the Tualatin Valley Community Band and a brass ensemble drawn from that band.