Eric is a Senior Sales Engineer here at Bronto, part of a team of SEs in our sales organization. Eric works with both prospects and customers, answering their more technical questions about the product and its integrations with other systems, such as ecommerce platforms and ERPs, which requires him to know our platform inside and out. Eric is a huge asset to the Bronto team and is one of my go-to Brontos for anything technical. But his talents do not stop there. Eric is also a jazz pianist, composer and technologist, so I recently sat down with him to learn more.
At what age did you start getting into music?
Well, my mom and dad met at conservatory in St. Louis, so music is kind of “in the blood.” I think I was “writing songs” on a toy piano as early as age 4 and started taking lessons around 6 or 7.
What instruments do you play?
Just piano. If we’re getting geeky, I’d separate out keyboards, organs, synthesizers and my laptop (with DJ and music production software) as distinct, but related instruments. Not guitar or drums or anything like that. And I definitely cannot sing.
Photo credit: Sweet Life Studios
Tell me about the bands that you lead.
I am in three bands. The Beast is a jazz and hip-hop quartet whose frontman is a community activist just as much as he is a poet and emcee. I am also co-director of Orquesta GarDel, a thirteen-member salsa group that re-creates the high energy, brassy sounds of places like Havana, Cuba and Spanish Harlem, New York. Finally, I am the leader of my own group, the Eric Hirsh Quartet, which is a vehicle for me to write my own jazz compositions.
Photo credit: Sweet Life Studios
Where do you guys perform?
Here in the Triangle area of North Carolina at various music clubs and festivals. Occasionally, The Beast will play a show in New York or DC, or GarDel might get to a festival in the mountains of NC.
How old were you when you joined your first band?
Does the church band count? If so, then 10. If not, then I got an early start at learning jazz music and was gigging professionally as young as 14 years old.
I discovered this #throwback photo from a Bronto holiday party. What’s the story behind it?
Right! So, this was taken a year before I became a Bronto employee. Working at Bronto wasn’t even on my radar at the time. It was all total coincidence. Bronto’s co-founder Joe Colopy had won The Beast in an auction supporting Durham’s Art of Cool Festival. I don’t think he quite knew what to do with his prize, so he kind of shoehorned us into the festivities of that year’s holiday party, which otherwise had a circus theme. The band and I had a great time. Who knew I’d be back at the party a year later as a Bronto!?
Do you have other hobbies?
The emphasis is definitely on music, a lifelong passion. Otherwise, the usual – hanging out with wife and my dog, and eating tasty food.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
I am terrible at choosing bests, but if I readily go see an artist more than once or every time they come in town, that probably puts them on this list. That would include:
- Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes
- Jazz singer Kurt Elling
- Classical pianist Marc-André Hamelin
Name three things on your bucket list.
- Perform at a jazz festival in Europe.
- Andy Hunt stole one of mine – tour the distilleries of Scotland.
- Go skydiving.
If you could meet one famous person, who would it be?
Living: Quincy Jones, Dead: J.S. Bach.
Tell me one thing people might not know about you.
I am originally from Missouri. But that’s easily not-knowable here in Durham, because this area has so many transplants. That’s what makes it interesting, though!
Eric’s passion for technology and learning shines in his work here at Bronto and in his music. Want to work for a company full of rock stars? We’re hiring.