I joined the New York Youth Symphony when I was 12. At the time, I believe that there were only two of us at the lower end of the age spectrum. I vividly remember the very first rehearsal I attended. We were playing Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. I was completely terrified to be sitting next to musicians who I perceived to be light years ahead of me in their training, yet simultaneously exhilarated to be a part of such an incredible sonority. I spent much of that rehearsal gawking at the principal players, who at the first rehearsal seemed to have already mastered their parts, while I could barely keep myself from getting lost entirely.
5 years later, I am the one sitting in that first desk, setting an example for the new members of the orchestra. However, I am still awed by the New York Youth Symphony as much as I was that first day I joined. Our former music director, Ryan McAdams, said that he held the best post a young conductor could ever ask for. I wholeheartedly believe that the New York Youth Symphony offers the best playing opportunities in the country, if not the world, to young musicians. It is an orchestra which improves every year, without fail, and that will continue to inspire musicians, young and old alike, far into the future.
Update, February 2016: Still concertmaster of the NYYS Orchestra, Joseph is now a sophmore at Columbia University.
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