In my first post here, I acknowledged that there are no words that could adequately capture what NYO means and how it affects or changes us. And that’s true now more than ever. Two weeks after we’ve returned and settled (or tried to settle) from an exhilarating month of incredible people and unforgettable adventures, it’s only become more difficult to pinpoint how much this monumental experience has poured into us in so many unexpected ways.
And so, because my limited perspective could never come close to encapsulating and portraying the NYO experience, and because my vocal, vivacious, and vibrant friends also have so much to say, I’ll let them share their beautiful parting words with the orchestra.
My friends couldn’t have put it any better: NYO has given me a family and a legacy – not so much a legacy of fame or ego, but one that encompasses all the lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve embraced that could only have occurred among these people in these circumstances.
I’ve received instruction and encouragement from some of the world’s greatest musicians. I’ve also poked fun at, taken embarrassing photos of, and repeatedly underestimated some of the world’s soon-to-be greatest musicians.
I’ve seen magnificent cities on two opposite sides of the word that overwhelmed me with throngs of people but also left me feeling startlingly lonely. I’ve also seen my friends at their best when their spirited performances galvanized boisterous applause, and at their worst when heat, illness, jet lag, food poisoning, insect bites, and every negative thought imaginable struck simultaneously.
I’ve engaged in hours-long conversations with busmates about anything from religion to aerospace engineering to the aesthetics of certain letters and words. I’ve also engaged arbitrarily in seconds-long (or sometimes minutes-long) stretches of silent eye contact, and found that sometimes relationships develop more persistently with the latter method.
I’ve immersed myself among a phenomenally organized staff, an inspiring and motivating faculty, and an almost-unbearably energetic group of young masterminds and world-changers, and I understand just a smidgen more now that what contributes immeasurably to cultivating a great musician, or a great music administrator, or a great anything is a passion for the people around you.
At NYO, I’ve encountered more of that unashamed passion than I have anywhere else, and that’s made the hugest of differences. So thank you, Carnegie Hall and NYO staff and faculty, Charles Dutoit, and 113 great friends, for a month of music, photos, and memories that I can look back on and cherish for years to come.