It's been said that one does not necessarily choose to be a musician, but rather, music chooses them. Eric J. Landsperger most certainly made the choice to be a musician. There is no doubting this fact. And yet Eric would tell you that when he was a young boy life presented quite a compelling opportunity. One Summer night, when Eric was 9 years old, he was visiting his grandparents. After dinner Eric and his family were all gathered in the den. At some point in the evening Eric's grandfather quietly got up and left the room for a moment. He returned a short time later with something in his hands. Walking over to Eric he said, “Hey, I got you something.” In his grandfather's hands was a violin. Eric does not recollect asking anyone for a musical instrument, but he does recall his early fascination with music. Perhaps Eric's grandfather saw his grandson's fascination and took it upon himself to feed Eric's interest. Regardless here was music's first clear invitation to Eric to be a music maker. When school began later that Autumn, Eric joined the Mount Zion Elementary School Orchestra.
A couple of years later, as the sixth grade was coming to an end, the violin was losing a bit of its appeal. And so with some reluctance Eric enrolled in the Kiser Junior High School Orchestra for the following school year. Eric spent that Summer stewing over the increasingly dreadful idea of going to a new school with his violin. When the new school year began, Eric gathered up his will and his violin and headed out the door. He thankfully survived his first day of junior high school, and yet his heart simply was not into playing violin. Eric's new 7th grade music teacher Jeannie Artley began the second day of class by announcing to the orchestra that it needed a double bassist. She then turned to Eric and asked, “Would you like to play bass?” Eric accepted the invitation and grabbed one of the enormous stringed instruments that were lined up in the back of the classroom. Ms. Artley showed Eric a few bass fundamentals to pay attention to, and then placed him at the back of the orchestra with a book of bass parts. Eric's musical interests were renewed with a glorious fervor.
Eric went on to play bass in the school orchestra through junior and senior high school. Lynn Auman, his music teacher at Page High School, involved Eric in every playing opportunity she could find. She led the way for him to be invited to play bass in the NC Western Regional All-State Orchestra, the NC All-State Honors Orchestra, the NC Governor’s School music program, the Philharmonia of Greensboro and the Greensboro Youth Orchestra. With every audition Eric found success. He graduated high school in 1988 having earned numerous musical honors.
In the Autumn of 1988 Eric began undergraduate music performance studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. During his sophomore year at UNCSA he began gigging as a bassist with local orchestras and small jazz ensembles. By the time Eric graduated from UNCSA in 1992 with a Bachelor's Degree of Music he was earning a living with his bass and having the time of his life.
For the next several years Eric continued his career as a professional double bassist. Some of his more notable work during these days includes making music at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and aboard the Delta Queen Steamboat out of New Orleans, LA, as well as with the Glen Miller Orchestra. Eric has also performed with numerous symphonies including the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Western Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, and the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra.
In Autumn of 2000 Eric felt it was time for a big change and so he decided to change careers. He left the music business to pursue a career as a pastry cook. After attending pastry school in New York City he began working in some of the finest restaurants in Manhattan, making custards, cakes and various other confections and baked delicacies. As he now earned his living making sweets, making music continued to remain a central part of Eric's life. He continued to play sessions and gigs in his time outside of the pastry kitchen.
In the Summer of 2003 Eric moved to Napa, CA to continue his cooking career. Not long after arriving in Northern California Eric began to add singing to his music routine. He would eventually form The Slippery Nickels, a jazz trio built around his voice and his bass. In 2014 The Slippery Nickels recorded and released their one and only studio recording On the Sunny Side of the Street. To listen to samples from the album click here. To purchase On the Sunny Side of the Street click here. Another development in Eric's music has been his fascination with the ukulele. Click here to listen some sample recordings of him singing some old tunes and strumming his ukulele.
In the Summer of 2014 Eric returned to Greensboro to be with his mother in her waning years. Soon after he settled back into his hometown he decided to become a music educator. Envisioning himself teaching high school orchestra he began his music education studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. In 2018 Eric earned his NC Music Education Certification and soon after accepted the position of the Orchestra Director at Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, NC. Today Eric is fulfilling his dream to pass along the wisdom, encouragement and love that he received from his own music teachers, following in the footsteps of his grandfather who gave the gift of music making to him on that Summer evening back in 1979.