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New York String Orchestra: Nora Scheller Makes Her Carnegie Hall Debut

In the final blog post recounting her experiences with the 2010 New York String Orchestra, participant Nora Scheller, describes her Carnegie Hall debut.


Last Friday, we performed in Carnegie Hall for the first time. There are several significant things that strike you about the hall upon your initial entrance—first, the pure vastness of the space. It extends at least 350 feet out from the stage, and there are four tiers in addition to the main floor. The hall seats almost 3,000 people—a pretty large amount, needless to say! Also, the beauty of the space is undeniable. Gold filigree decorates the walls and ceiling, while the warm glow of the lanterns illuminates both the filigree and the red velvet of the seats, casting the grandeur of the space into an impressive and awe-striking glow. And that's not to mention the acoustics!

I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect—yes, it is Carnegie Hall, one of the most legendary and sought after music halls in the world—but I was slightly skeptical and stingy in my expectations, just because of the hype surrounding it. I was preparing myself to be disappointed, but there was no need. From the minute we started playing, I was struck by how heavenly the acoustics are. Honestly, they're near perfect (for my taste, at least)! The notes are set awash in a warm cacophony of sound, which makes the music seem to come alive. It's incredible, really, what a dream Carnegie Hall is to play in, and not just because of the hype. It turns out that most of it is actually true!

As far for our actual performance, I think it went very well! Judging from the audience's reaction, I would say that they agreed, too. They gave us five rounds of applause, after the show had finished! There was one point where Maestro Laredo had left the stage, the audience had finally stopped clapping, and we were about to leave the stage when somebody started the applause anew! They shouted something out (I can't be sure what it was—related to Yuletide spirit, perhaps) and then everybody started applauding again. At that point, we just got up and left the stage. We were tired and didn't want to play anymore, and it seemed that the only way they would stop applauding for us was if we weren't onstage anymore!

Taking part in NYSOS has been a fantastic experience for me, one that I will never forget. Going home, I will definitely miss the fabulous musical opportunities that we have been privy to, from orchestra (easily the best I've ever been a part of, without question) to the amazing musicians and coaches who have donated their time to work with us. And that's not to mention the wonderful people I've met here! NYSOS has truly been an incredible experience, one that I will never forget, and I look forward to the next time I have this fabulous opportunity. And so, I bid you farewell, until next time—hopefully just a few more years!

—Nora Scheller

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