The 2013 New York String Orchestra Seminar

New York Times Review: NYSOS 2013 in Carnegie Hall

I have just returned from an unforgettable ten-day program: The New York String Orchestra Seminar.  Conducted by Maestro Jaime Laredo, the Seminar is an orchestra of young artists aged 16-23.  I auditioned for NYSOS back in October, and when I received my acceptance email, I had no idea what I was in for.  I knew the seminar would be great, but this far exceeded any expectations of mine. We had double-rehearsals each day (10am-1pm, then 2pm-5pm) putting together the following two programs:
Program 1:
Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture
Mozart “Paris” Symphony
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Bella Hristova

Program 2:
Elgar Introduction and Allegro with the Johannes Quartet
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 4 For the Left Hand, With Leon Fleisher
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6, “Pathetique”

Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us! But Mr. Laredo was a fearless and inspirational leader, and each minute of rehearsal was more enjoyable than the last. It was amazing to watch our ensemble start to blend and become a single unit in such a short amount of time.
When I wasn’t rehearsing with the orchestra, I was playing chamber music.  I was assigned to play Dvorak’s festive Bass Quintet and the quirky Beethoven Quartet Opus 18 No. 5.  Our group was lucky enough to be coached by esteemed artists such as Bonnie Hampton, Kurt Muroki, Pamela Frank, and Sharon Robinson.  What was most interesting about these sessions is that I could take their suggestions for the quartet and apply them to my solo playing.
Our two orchestra concerts in Carnegie Hall were the obvious highlights of the seminar.  I have never seen Carnegie completely full and sold out, which both concerts were.  I loved seeing faces of excitement and enthusiasm in the audience, as well as the proud smiling faces of my peers I shared the stage with.  These ten days will forever have a special place in my heart, and will continue to inspire me for years to come.