Bassist Gregory Sarchet grew up in northwest
Indiana and has been a member of the Lyric Orchestra since 1986. He
attended both UCLA and The Juilliard School, and he’s taught bass at
Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University, Columbia College, and the
Chicago Center for Performing Arts of Roosevelt University. Currently he’s
on the staffs of Northeastern Illinois and North Park Universities.
international exchange efforts were recognized by a 1996 Chicago Artists
International Program award (CAIP), which sent him to the Czech Republic,
Germany, and Austria for performances, master classes, and archival research.
He lives in a classic Chicago bungalow on Chicago's north side with his wife
and two sons.
Why did you choose to play bass?
When I was 12 years
old, my best friend played a 45 rpm record of the Beatles' “Lady Madonna,” isolating
the bass and drum tracks using the stereo channels. After hearing it,
I said, “That is what I am going to do!” It was a watershed moment.
What was the single most defining moment of
My professional life
has been a series of defining moments, but an early one that comes to mind was meeting
a musician named Jim Skafish when I was 14. Playing in his controversial
new wave/punk band was my first
experience performing in what was essentially a rock-and-roll
chamber-music ensemble. Working with Jim was like working with an incredibly talented
and highly demanding conductor, and I found that I grew tremendously as a
musician in that environment.
When you’re not in the opera house, what do
you like to do?
Teach, cook, and shop
What’s your favorite opera?
To watch and listen to,
it’s: Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. I find it a transcendent and
existential experience. I don't have a favorite opera to play. To be an opera
musician is to embrace the entire repertoire. Most of us find something
redeeming in every piece of music we perform.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
of many sentimental family memories spanning decades, and their comfort food.
And my favorite food is anything home-cooked.
If you weren’t a musician, you’d be…?
Who’s the musician you admire most?
Joe Vito. Aside from
being a natural born musician, he had an infectiously positive personality that
came through in every note he played and in every
interaction I had with him.
What’s an opera you’ve never played but
would like to?
Les Huguenots (Meyerbeer). It would be a professional and personal
If you had it to do over again what would you
I’d have earned a PhD
in double bass. I would have been forced to learn a lot more about
the double bass quicker than I have otherwise.