2016 Class Acts

Young Man with a Horn

A.J. Girdwood-Naddell on listening to your environment

A.J. Girdwood-Naddell is quite possibly the busiest musician on campus.

On Monday nights, the Olin Business School senior plays first trumpet with the Washington University Symphony Orchestra. On Tuesdays he takes the baton himself, conducting the student-run orchestra WUPops. Wednesdays he joins the Washington University Jazz Band. Thursdays are spent with the Washington University Wind Ensemble.

“A.J. steps up wherever he’s needed,” said Chris Becker, who conducts the jazz band and wind ensemble for the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences. “He’s an immensely talented guy. But what really stands out are his passion and versatility. Whatever he’s doing, you can just feel that it’s important—that he truly wants to be there and that he’s giving you his full attention.”

When not performing, Girdwood-Naddell serves as head teaching assistant for Olin’s introduction to microeconomics course, as well as founder and CEO of WUPS, a mobile phone shop and repair service. He points out that business, like music, is largely a collaborative enterprise.

“You can’t just look at the note that you’re currently playing,” he said. “You have to be always looking ahead, adapting to what’s coming up next.

“You have to listen to your environment.”

by Liam Otten


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