Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?
Sunday, 2 PM. I found myself backstage with my violin, scheduled to take the stage at the Flint Center for the first performance of the California Youth Symphony's (CYS) 61st season. With the highlight of the program being Mahler's epic 5th Symphony, this was the "performance that put other youth orchestras to shame", as my conductor, Leo Eylar, had called it. After a traditional tuning sequence, we turned our attention to the conductor, and the lone trumpet call beginning Mahler sounded. One, two, three...
For the next 2 hours, I left the world of the stage and entered several others. The outbursts of grief of the first movement symbolized by the mess of notes on the pages became my outbursts, as I sawed away at my strings. The anger and savagery behind the second movement, a companion to the first, becomes mine, as the music becomes increasingly disturbed. As the third movement rolls around, horns begin to sound. With grace notes littering the pages, this ebullient dance of life conjures within me moments of happiness. Dramatically, the horns finish the movement, the winds become silent, and the strings are off on the 4th movement, the Adagietto. With each note I play, my emotions soar, wafted by the beauty and artfulness that personifies the bliss and pain of being in love without using a single word. I felt the power of each individual meld into a chorus of heavenly sound. Suddenly, a single note from the horn calls me back to earth for the 5th movement, the finale. As the last page is flipped, the entire orchestra is playing without reserve, blasting the sense of triumph and radiance that Mahler had intended. Using every last bit of strength it could muster, the orchestra belts out the ending note in unison, and it continues to ring throughout the hall, only to be drowned out immediately by the clapping and cheering of the 1500-people audience. As I was brought back to earth once again, I realized: this was by far the biggest applause we had ever received.
For me, this performance reiterated the reason why I wanted to become a musician the first time I picked up the violin when I was 7. Music has a very peculiar quality of being able to express a larger range of thoughts and emotions than anything else can. It brings people together no matter their differences, and this has been the most rewarding part of being a musician. There is no better feeling than having an audience member come up to you to personally say, "Because of you, I was able to relive the music that I loved and grew up with, but that I never hear anymore. Thank you so much for keeping this magical art alive".Thank you in advance!