As I write this, I’m listening to an iPhone recording from our rehearsal today of NYO blazing through the second movement of Shosty 10 at a breakneck speed. It’s intense, energetic, thrilling, and exciting.
On the way to Purchase, I stopped to visit with some family who I don’t see very often. As I was telling them about the kind of things I would be doing while in NYO, one of my relatives told me, essentially, to “enjoy the moment,” because those memories are what you can really hold on to. Sentiments like that can be used disingenuously, but I knew this was earnest — and important — advice.
It’s been about a week of rehearsing — the orchestra has rehearsed as a whole for about 18 hours — and I think I’m just now starting to realize the meaning of that advice. With a week going by as fast as this one did, I have seen firsthand how important little moments can so easily get lost in the blur of activity.
And I’m beginning to realize what all these little moments — attending a masterclass given by St. Louis Symphony principal second violinist Alison Harney, having a chamber music coaching with Robert Chen, and a giant NYO water balloon toss on the 4th of July (to name just a few) — look like on a larger scale. Even if I thought the magnitude of being here was finally setting in last Sunday when I arrived after months of preparation, this week proved that it took more than just showing up here to realize what this opportunity means.
To illustrate this, I’ll very briefly recap the highlights of my past few days. On Thursday, the violinists took part in masterclasses with Mr. Chen and Ms. Harney (some performed and the rest watched). I attended Ms. Harney’s. She offered one student tips on “grounding” herself at the beginning of several difficult runs in Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole and tried to bring out the operatic qualities of Mozart’s 5th violin concerto with another. On Friday, my sextet also had a coaching with Mr. Chen, in which he encouraged us to make more of the rustic, “village marketplace” feeling of the Tchaikovsky Souvenir that we will perform later this week in Washington.
Friday’s full orchestra rehearsal was especially fun for the violinists, since Robert Chen played the solo part of the Tchaikovsky Concerto with us in preparation for when Joshua Bell arrives next week. Of course it was amazing to hear the fantastic Mr. Chen play — he has one of most incredible sounds of any violinist I’ve heard — but for me and many others, it was equally rewarding to hear all the elements of this monumental piece finally come together.
In our full orchestra rehearsals, Maestro Ross has continued to urge us to come together and find our own voice as an orchestra. Yesterday, he said that in our first read-through just days before, our energy was very evident, but so was our chaos, and he commended us for what we had done in those few days to work towards creating something special as our final product.
The work continues on Monday after a day trip tomorrow to NYC to sightsee and hear the Philharmonic!