John McClellan

The William Charles Rankin Chair

How did you choose your instrument?
My parents asked me to choose from the instruments we had in the house: violin, cello, flute, trumpet and guitar.

What are three of your favorite movies?

Casablanca, Grand Illusion, and Double Indemnity.

What’s your favorite spot for a post-concert drink or bite to eat?

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A warm sunny day with my wife at a secluded beach.

What is in your mp3 player right now?
Fourteen hours of jazz and several dramas in French and German.

What famous figure, living or dead, would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
Congressman John Lewis of Georgia for his courage and his lack of bitterness as a leader for civil rights.

What is your fantasy career?
Amtrak engineer.

What is your favorite North Carolina Symphony moment?
Verdi Requiem at Meymandi with Gerhardt Zimmermann.

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Reading books.

What is always in your kitchen?
High quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Do you have a recurring nightmare?

Not being able to get to a concert.

What is the best thing about being a musician? The worst?
I love playing music—the best. The worst—the physical toll playing the cello takes on you.

What was the first piece of music you fell in love with?
Brahms’s Intermezzo in E-flat Major, Op. 117, No. 1 for piano. I heard my mother playing it.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Sentimental movies.

Do you collect anything? If so, tell us about it.
All the more than 70 “Commissaire Maigert” novels, in French, by Georges Simenon; other French and German mysteries.