Meet A Musician: Peter McGuire

Meet A Musician: Peter McGuire

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2003-2012, 2016-current
Principal Second Violin
Mankato, Minnesota

Where did you grow up? Do you come from a musical family?
I am a Minnesotan, from Mankato. My dad, Jim McGuire, a classical and jazz guitarist and teacher, was inducted this year into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. My brother, Colin, is also a violinist.

Tell us about your orchestral journey so far:
My first position was in Des Moines, Iowa, with the Pioneer String Quartet. Four years later, I moved to Minneapolis to play as a substitute violinist with the Minnesota Orchestra. After a brief stint as Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, I joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s first violin section. Then, I spent a few years in Zurich, Switzerland, as Second Konzertmeister of the Tonhalle Orchester, before returning last year to serve in my current position. Along the way, I’ve played as a guest with many orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, SWR Sinfonieorchester-Stuttgart, OSR-Geneva, Seattle Symphony, Gurzenich orchester Köln and the All-Star Orchestra.

What are you listening to lately?
I've been enjoying Renaissance choral music lately. It is so elemental, and a good palette cleanser. Schubert, Bruckner—I’m really into the classicists.

Which solo moment in the violin’s orchestral repertoire do you love?
There are so many great solo moments for violin. I think the Sanctus from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is my favorite.  

Tell us about someone or something that has influenced you most? 
There are so many people that come to mind, but I’d like to acknowledge Fred Halgedahl as a terrific balance of violinist, teacher, writer and thoughtful human being. 

What is one of your proudest career moments?
Joining the Minnesota Orchestra in 2003, and rejoining the Orchestra as Principal Second Violin in 2016, are two favorites. These were life-changing events for my family. 

McGuire, front center, serves as the leader of the Orchestra's Second Violin section

This season with the Orchestra, which concert is most exciting to you and why?
We are continuing recording all the symphonies of Mahler. When we perform them in concert, the Orchestra will be in top form.

Do you have any words of advice for new audience members?
Be as open as you can, but trust yourself.  

McGuire greets an audience member during intermission at a concert in Naples, Florida.

Do you have any words of advice for aspiring musicians?

If you ever get to a point where you think it isn’t about loving to play great music, you’re wrong.

If you weren’t a professional musician, what would you be?
I'd be ever so slightly more out of tune! 

What is your favorite Minnesotan food or activity to enjoy?
I love a good hot dish. Actually, I love that it is a portable gesture of comfort. If we can’t talk about it, we can at least bring a hot dish.

What is your favorite joke?
I can't remember jokes, and when I can, I don’t deliver very well. May I kindly suggest consulting violist Richard Marshall, who always has a joke at the ready.

Click here to read more about Peter McGuire. 

Peter McGuire is featured in a Chamber Music concert on November 26 and in a NightCap performance on January 13. 

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