Getting Personal: Jeremy Swerling

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, a chat with Jeremy Swerling, 51, of Baltimore, the music director of the Danville Symphony Orchestra The group will perform with the Chicago Brass Quintet at 3 p.m. on Dec. 9.

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

I typically get up at 6:30 a.m., shower, eat breakfast, read the Baltimore Sun and the Wall Street Journal and check email.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?

I ate a salad by myself.

Best high school memory?

Playing a clarinet concerto with the band on a trip to Italy and Austria.

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.

A pair of Italian leather dress shoes. They're two-tone, fit like a glove, feel wonderful to walk in and cost too much — but they're worth it.

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?

A walk with my wife and/or sons and dogs and watching a great New York Mets baseball game. I grew up in Long Island.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?

A biography of Benjamin Franklin. But I can't remember the author and don't have it anymore.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?

I'd love to go back to Italy or Austria to hear a few performances in the halls in which they were originally performed. There's no substitute for getting that close to what the composer had in mind.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

I've always had dogs. I used to have golden retrievers, but now we have two mixed breeds: a border collie/black Lab mix and black Lab/shepherd mix. Since I work at home, they are my constant companions during the day and provide me with endless entertainment. They have lots of personality. I love getting inside their heads. In another life, I might like to be a dog whisperer.

Have you discovered that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?

I see them both in myself every day. My mother bequeathed her love of animals and cooking and my father his artistic talents, leadership and love of Judaism.

What would you order for your last meal?

Either a perfectly seared sushi-quality Ahi tuna with a delicate wasabi sauce over bok choi or possibly a fettucini Alfredo prepared at table side. Either preceded by a perfectly blended Cosmopolitan and served with a buttery merlot, followed by a creme brule and an espresso.

What can you not live without?

My family.

Who do you have on your iPod?

I don't own one. But if I did, it would have everything from Mahler Symphony No.1 to greatest hits of the '70s and '80s (1900s, that is).

What's the happiest memory of your life?

When the surgeon came out of the open heart surgery on my 10-day-old second son, Solomon, and announced that he was particularly happy with the way he had moved the tiny coronary arteries as part of the operation to correct his fatal condition, transposition of the great arteries. Solomon is now a thriving 15-year-old.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?

Other than my wife, the composer John Williams, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Dr. Charles Krauthammer.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

Learn to let it go.

What's your best piece of advice?

Find out what you are really passionate about and figure out a way to keep that in your life.

What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?

I was a newspaper delivery boy. I think I made about $10 a week.

What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?

Returning to the Danville Symphony Orchestra after a five-year absence was pivotal. There was no hesitation. It's been a great fit since day one.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?

Procrastination.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

Remember that life's difficult circumstances do not define who I am, breathe deeply and let it go. The sun will rise in the morning.

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