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DPSO’s principal cellist on musical influences, preferences and performing in Dana Point

Christopher McCarthy, assistant principal cellist, Dana Point Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Courtesy of DPSO
Christopher McCarthy, assistant principal cellist, Dana Point Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Courtesy of DPSO

By Andrea Swayne

Leading up to the 2015 “One World” season of the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra opening on April 18, we are running a series of question and answer articles to help you get to know some of the musicians of the DPSO.

This week we are featuring Christopher McCarthy, assistant principal cello.

The Dana Point Symphony’s assistant principal cellist and principal cellist of Symphony Irvine, McCarthy has also performed with the Montage Civic Orchestra and Crystal Cathedral Hour of Power Orchestra. He is a member of the Belmont String Quartet and Love4Cello, a cello quartet. His music has been featured in the soundtracks of a number of student films, most notably in Mitsuyo Miyazaki’s Tsuyako.

A graduate of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach, he holds a Bachelor of Music, Instrumental Music degree, is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and studied with Dr. David Garrett and Joon Sun Jung.

McCarthy is currently working on a fourth chamber music recital fundraiser with the Fred R. Peters Jr. Freesax Foundation for Music Education, a nonprofit providing scholarships to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and Arrowbear Music Camp.

DANA POINT TIMES: Why did you start studying music?

CHRISTOPHER MCCARTHY: I started because I liked the sound of the cello and knew that was what I wanted to play in third grade. I started the next year and haven’t stopped since.

DPT: Who has influenced your musical style the most and why?

CM: Classically: Mstislav Rostropovich, Lynn Harrell, Johannes Moser and Yo Yo Ma for their artistic choices and style. Non-classically: Apocalyptica (got to see them live four times), The Beatles (great songwriting and harmonies), Herbie Hancock (revolutionary for his time) and Muse (they’re just awesome).

DPT: Why do you like performing with the DPSO?

CM: When I first started with DPSO I knew I was going to enjoy it because I love playing orchestral music and was excited to be part of something new. Now that we’re coming up to our fourth season, I’d say I like performing with the DPSO because we have grown into a musical family, and the exciting part is to come back to this family to create new memories with great music.

DPT: What are your three all-time favorite songs, symphonic or otherwise?

CM: Hmm… Dvorak Symphony No. 9, 2nd movement; Beethoven Symphony No. 7, 2nd movement; Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2.

DPT: Describe your musical career in 10 words or less.

CM: I’m working on my craft, a craft I dearly love.



The Dana Point Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 “One World” season begins Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m. at St. Edward’s Church, 33926 Calle La Primavera.

Featuring guest conductor, Ignazio Terrasi, with Jacobo Christensen Fabuel on violin, the symphony will perform an evening of music from Spain.

The opening night program includes:

  • Manuel de Falla, “La Vida Breve”
  • Juan Colomer, Selections from ballet “Sorolla” (Commissioned by National Ballet of Spain)
  • Granados, “Goyescas Intermezzo”
  • Pablo de Sarasate, “Fantasía sobre temas de la pera Carmen Op. 25”

The season will include four concerts, held once a month, through July. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and military. A season pass is $60.

Dean Anderson, DPSO music director and conductor, will lead the remainder of the season.

Tickets are available online at, and on a first come, first served basis at the door before the performance.

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