Meet Our Musicians: Percussion Section
Eric Cortell, Timpani
A native of Lexington, MA, Eric Cortell attended University of Pennsylvania and earned a B.A. and M.D. that he puts to good use as a radiologist. Eric joined New Phil in 1994 and Newton Symphony in 1988, and he also performs with the Mercury Orchestra. Eric is married to NPO violinist Julia Wong and they share two daughters; one plays violin and the other sings and arranges music. In his spare time you can find Eric traveling, enjoying and working on black and white photography, online shopping, working out or hanging out on his couch. Fun fact: they have two cats named Hazel and Solstice.
Victoria Chang, Percussion
Victoria Chang grew up in Taiwan and went on to attend Mannes College of Music where she earned her Masters in Music. She is a professional musician, plays and teaches piano and performs in a number of musical ensembles. Victoria has been performing with New Phil since 2015. Her husband is also a musician and plays the double bass. When she’s not performing with New Phil, Victoria enjoys taking long walks and reading. Fun fact: she enjoys spicy food!
David Penn: percussion
From Sioux Falls, SD, David attended University of Nebraska- Lincoln. He holds a B.A. Music Performance, Minor in Math, Master of Divinity, and PhD in Theological Studies. He currently teaches at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and works in student success at Rivier University. He joined New Phil in 2013. Dave’s wife Allison is an elementary band and music teacher. Their daughter, age 14, plays violin and french horn and composes. Their son, age 10, plays piano at the Suzuki School of Newton and sings with the Boston Children’s Chorus. In Dave’s spare time you might find him training for off-road triathlons. You might also find him arranging music and teaching the Framingham High School marching band percussion.
John Tarrh, Percussion
Portsmouth, VA native John Tarrh attended NEC, MIT and VPI and holds a M.A composition, M.A theory, M.S. EE, B.S. EE. He has worked in engineering, finance and now music! A member of New Phil since 1995 and Newton Symphony in 1990, he also participates in the Lexington Pops Chorus. John’s musical family includes his wife Barbara, who plays guitar when she’s not teaching at Audubon Society at Habitat in Belmont. In John’s free time he enjoys being at home with his wife, composing, serving as president of the NPO board, and on the board of Lexington Symphony, or out riding his bike with friends – this is his 10th year of riding the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money to fight cancer! Fun fact: John and Barbara enjoy geocaching. See https://www.geocaching.com/play/search: their username is Woodsybarb&theFinder.
Krysten Keches: harp
Krysten comes to us from Medfield, MA. She attended Harvard (B.A. Art History), New England Conservatory (M.M Harp Performance), and Australian National University School of Music (Graduate Diploma, Harp Performance). She works as a freelance harpist and harp teacher. Along with playing in New Phil, which she joined in 2019, Krysten substitutes regularly with various orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Her husband is a software engineer, and a few years ago they adopted a poodle mix named Ruffles! In her free time Krysten teaches harp privately and has a growing studio of harpists of all ages. She also coaches for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. She loves interacting with her students and helping them achieve their musical goals!