You may or may not know this, but Amazon has its own symphony orchestra, made up entirely of Amazon employees, and it was founded by a University of Delaware grad.
Beau Curran graduated in 2011 with a master’s in oboe performance before relocating to Seattle and becoming an Amazonian.
When he showed up on a press release listing UD Music Department success stories, we wanted to know more about Curran, his time at UD and his symphony of techies, so we connected via email for an interview.
Originally from Melrose Park, Ill., Curran was living abroad in Aomori, Japan, when he was accepted to the University of Delaware. “I was performing quite a bit in Japan, so a friend from home told me about opportunities at UD and encouraged me to audition to pursue my dream of getting a master’s in music performance,” he said. “It was such a wonderful opportunity that I couldn’t pass it up.”
So what was his time at UD like?
“There is so much to experience as a musician at UD,” he said. “The faculty and staff are such warm and supportive people that I felt comfortable enough to really dive deep into my interests and develop my musicianship. I particularly fell in love with the baroque oboe and the Collegium Musicum led by Dr. Russell Murray. UD is also in such a great location that it makes exploring music in the surrounding area an exciting adventure.”
After graduating from UD, Curran headed to the great northwest, where he got a job at Amazon about five years ago. In time, he was able to land a position related to music. “I started out working on a video team at Amazon, then I got the opportunity to work on the Digital Music Operations team as a Technical Account Manager,” Curran said. “It’s very exciting being in the music business. I love coming to work!”
Curran credits Amazon’s encouragement of its employees to follow their passions for the development of the Amazon Symphony Orchestra, which he founded about a year ago.
It all started with an oboe interest group he created called #oboeyoudidnt. “One of the members sent out an email gauging interest in starting an orchestra,” he said. “Then I quickly proposed putting a board together. After filling all the board positions [in 2017], the Chair was still open and was offered to me by the group. I happily accepted and have been working with a wonderful group of musicians ever since.”
Rehearsals kicked off last March.
“Since then we’ve performed for internal events such as Bring Your Kids to Work Day, public seasonal concerts, and even a benefit concert this past December for the #NoChildSleepsOutside campaign held by Mary’s Place,” said Curran. “With that one concert, the ASO raised nearly $20,000 for the campaign.”
The ASO is a non-audition group open to all Seattle Amazonians.
“Our tenets encourage our members to come and have fun making music together regardless of experience. Many of us are like-minded being in the tech industry, so it is nice to take a break from sitting in front of a computer screen all day,” Curran said. “There’s something magical about music that allows us to live in the now and get away from our busy day-to-day lives. It’s especially powerful since it lets us connect and make music together for our community.”