I joined NYYS as a Conducting Apprentice in the 2013-14 season. Aside from being a wonderful excuse to get away from campus life at Princeton and come to the city once a week, it has been an eye-opening musical experience in many ways. In our weekly meetings we have engaging discussions of different scores, how to program concerts, rehearsal techniques and other aspects of being a conductor, and also get practical experience conducting each other or the chamber orchestra. Getting to work with a conductor as knowledgeable as JD Gersen has taught me so much about new ways to look at scores, and watching him in rehearsals has helped me learn how to communicate those ideas effectively to an orchestra. Another highlight is getting to perform the pieces of the students in the composition program: working with living composers is a rare and incredibly fun opportunity to really see how music is put together. All of these experiences–working with composers, analyzing music, observing rehearsals–has really helped me to understand music-making as a cooperative process between the composer, conductor, players, and the audience. I will leave this program with a much keener understanding of my role as a conductor as a musical leader for the orchestra as well as for the broader musical community.
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