May 21, 2015
Congratulations to our longtime principal clarinetist, Gene Kavadlo, who has been named this year's John Castellini award winner!
The award is named for John Castellini, founder of the Queens College Choral Society, and it is presented annually to a distinguished alumnus or alumna who, as an undergraduate, performed with the Choral Society.
Kavadlo earned his music degree from Queens College in New York in 1967. During his time at the college, John Castellini was one of his professors. "Castellini had a very long and distinguished career at Queens College," says Kavadlo. "... Several times during my college career, when I had received some sort of recognition, Castellini's response was always, 'They've made a terrible mistake.' "
When Castellini retired to Jacksonville, Florida, Kavadlo was principal clarinetist for that orchestra and the two became close. "I actually got to know him as an adult, rather than the formal student/teacher relationship," Kavadlo says, "and I discovered that he was charming, witty, and had a great sense of humor."
Kavadlo and his wife, Ali, took a road trip to New York to attend the Choral Society performance on Saturday, May 16, where he was recognized. He closed his acceptance remarks that evening by telling the audience that he was sure Castellini was looking down on the event, thinking the school had made a terrible mistake!
When he's not busy performing with the Charlotte Symphony, Kavadlo enjoys spending time with his family, seeing movies, and performing klezmer music with his band, Viva Klezmer! Kavadlo and his klezmer music were recently featured in an issue of Charlotte