I’ll never forget my first New York Youth Symphony rehearsal. Fifteen years old, I had never played with any group that was nearly as talented. I had auditioned based off of the suggestions of a few friends in the orchestra but had no real idea what to expect as I took my seat, the last in the cello section. The opening horn calls of the Der Rosenkavalier suite sounded, and I suddenly felt like I was sitting in the middle of the New York Philharmonic!
Since that 2013-2014 season, I’ve grown immensely as an orchestral player thanks to the New York Youth Symphony. JD has taught me what it means to listen and lock in to all of the sounds around me, to play as part of an ensemble, not as an individual. I’ve been truly privileged to work with and learn from JD, whose indelible musical lessons will always be felt by all of us in the orchestra. The orchestra has also exposed me to some of the greatest orchestral repertory. Performing Beethoven 9 with full chorus at Carnegie Hall was unforgettable! I will also always remember Benjamin Beilman’s fiery Barber Concerto and Conrad Tao’s electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
I also participated in the Chamber Music Program last year. My group, the Gunther Quartet, studied Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. The CMP gave us valuable opportunities to play in masterclasses for Ani Kavafian and Roger Tapping, and perform at Symphony Space.
While I’m not pursuing music as a career, I certainly intend to keep on playing in college! I’ll be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology next fall, where I hope to study computer science and data analytics. MIT has a wide variety of student musical groups, and Boston offers many more musical opportunities, too. I’ll miss playing in the New York Youth Symphony – three seasons are not nearly enough – but I look forward to hearing my friends in concert for many years to come!
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