Not just a walk in the park: The multi-layered life of Pacific Symphony cellist Bob Vos


Like many of Pacific Symphony’s musicians, cellist Bob Vos is married (to Vivian, a pianist) and has a child (a 3-year-old boy, Wesley). And while many musicians in the orchestra have additional music gigs, Bob is a bit unique; so far as he knows, he is the only one who also has a non-music job. And he’s not just flinging newspapers in the morning—Bob is an assistant professor of Spatial Sciences at USC. And, yes, there is only one of him handling all of this (although he does have a twin brother).

“I work mostly on issues of environmental sustainability,” he explains. “So, I have to balance that with my music. Fortunately, the schedule at USC is pretty flexible and I just work a lot of late nights at my home office—after Wesley has gone to bed. I’m gone many weeknights and weekends, so I try to make up for it by sneaking away to the park in the afternoon with him!”

The music part is easy to figure. Both of Bob’s parents were musicologists (PhDs in music history and theory). His father played piano, organ and harpsichord, and was the associate dean at DePaul University’s School of Music. His mother sang and played flute, and founded a youth orchestra and community music school. With music running rampant in his DNA, it’s no wonder Bob became a musician. At age 4, he started cello. He says: “One might think this means I didn’t choose the cello, but I remember making a conscious choice. My twin brother was already playing violin, but I didn’t take to it when my parents tried to start me on it when I was 2!”

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