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NYO-USA: First Day

Giancarlo Latta, a violinist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, writes about the whirlwind first day of NYO-USA. Follow Giancarlo's NYO-USA experience on his personal blog, Crossing Strings, Crossing Borders.

Today was the first full day of the NYO residency, and it was pretty exhausting. After violin seating auditions in the morning, we had an all-violin sectional with Robert Chen, the fantastic concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This was the first time our section played together, and the magnitude of the group sound caught me off guard. Mr. Chen emphasized the importance of the back of the section being the beginning of a wave of energy that travels to the front of the section — as opposed to the front dragging the back of the section along with them. He also helped us find some of the unique sonorities that Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony demands of the string section.

After dinner was finally the moment everyone had been waiting for: NYO’s first rehearsal as a complete ensemble. Even though many of us were tired after the long day, we read through the Shostakovich front-to-back, as well as Magiya, the commissioned work by American composer Sean Shepherd. People always say how difficult it is to use words to describe music, and that’s definitely the case here, with this experience. I can say, though, that the beginning of the second movement of the Shostakovich — it opens with intense, hammer-like blows in the strings’ lower registers — has been something I’ve been familiar with as a listener for many years and as a player for many weeks, and to finally get the opportunity to experience it as part of this massive, 120-person orchestra was incredible. It’s very inspiring to be around so many talented people.

I definitely won’t be alone in saying that I can’t wait for the next few days and weeks. Our next rehearsal together is in less than 12 hours!

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