The Minnesota Orchestra performs here on Thursday, October 27, in its only New York City concert this season. Concertmaster Erin Keefe, who was appointed to the position just last month, reflects on her past experiences performing on Carnegie Hall's stages and her upcoming New York debut with the orchestra.
The first time I ever visited New York City was in December 1997 when I went to a concert at Carnegie Hall. I was a senior in high school and had friends that took part in the New York String Orchestra Seminar that year, so my parents and I spent a few days exploring the city and went to one of their concerts. I remember feeling extremely excited about being in such a famous venue and getting to see Cho-Liang Lin perform live since I had heard so many of his recordings over the years. In 2000, I returned for my first performance in Stern Auditorium with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra under André Previn. It is impossible to step foot on the big stage without thinking about the incredible artists who have been performing there for over a hundred years, so I think it is something that every musician cherishes.
In 2001, I was lucky enough to attend the last Isaac Stern Seminar with my quartet at the time, the Delancey Quartet (made up of fellow Curtis students). We had the opportunity to be coached by some of most famous chamber musicians in the world, but Mr. Stern was already somewhat ill at the time, and so he was unable to attend all of our scheduled sessions with him. Two days before the final concert in Stern Auditorium, the staff told us that he was willing to give us some extra time. It is a day that I will never forget because Mr. Stern, David Finckel, and Leon Fleisher coached us for five hours in the big hall on Mozart's Quartet, K. 590. The following year after his death, we performed the first movement of that quartet at his memorial gathering in Weill Recital Hall.
Over the years, I have performed in Stern/Perelman, Weill, and Zankel dozens of times with the Curtis and Juilliard orchestras, Orpheus, Orchestra of St. Lukes, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, at two Emerson String Quartet Seminars, on numerous new-music concerts, and also in my own debut in Weill Recital Hall in 2010. In a few weeks, I will be coming back in my new position as the concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, and it is incredibly exciting for me. Before joining the orchestra in September of this year, I had heard such great things about them and had read glowing reviews of their past concerts at Carnegie Hall. It has been such a great experience working with the orchestra and Maestro Vanska so far, and I think this is going to be very memorable concert for me as well as the audience.