Student Omar El Abidin Percussion.jpg

Omar El-Abidin

Percussion | Orchestra

Being a member of the New York Youth Symphony has been an integral part of my life in music. I joined when I was sixteen years old during the 2014/15 season.

What makes the orchestra special to me is the atmosphere and collegiality among the players and administration. I genuinely feel, and I believe my friends in the orchestra would agree, that our organization is special because of the level of skill, professionalism, and passion that we display. Of course, a large part of that is due to our music director, Joshua Gersen. He combines the highest level of musicality with technical knowledge and efficiency to create one of the greatest youth orchestras in the country, if not the world. We all feel that, while JD is the leader and authority figure in the orchestra, he sincerely values the contributions and opinions of each player. I believe that we play the way we do because each member understands and feels that they are contributing to a musical experience that is greater than one’s self.

Of course, NYYS provides us with the opportunity to play phenomenal repertoire: some highlights being Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Second Symphony, and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, among others.

The tour in the 2014/15 season to Argentina was an unforgettable experience. Experiencing the culture of a foreign country is always a rich, meaningful activity to engage in. Being able to play great repertoire in some of Argentina’s finest concert halls, interacting with the locals of Buenos Aires, indulging in their delicious dulce de leche, and trekking around the city itself all contributed to an experience that will last a lifetime.

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