Sunday, December 7, 2008
So this post is certainly long overdue. The truth is that I haven't been able to decide where to begin. It was a very busy week, what with the stresses of travel, at least three hours of a rehearsal a day, two concerts, tasting Russian cuisine, sight seeing, and maybe sleeping and practicing just a little (maybe). Regardless, it was a truly unforgettable experience. I forgot how young America is; visiting St. Petersburg was like taking a giant step into the past. Ancient churches, palaces; there was history around every corner. The most interesting thing for me in this regard was visiting the Hermitage, the art museum there which used to be a palace for the former monarchy. It was overwhelming to stand in the same room where the last meeting of the counterrevolutionary government was held just before the revolution.
The musical side of things was just as rewarding, if not more. It's a fascinating experience to work so hard for something for so long and then to have it finally come to life, which it did in ways I couldn't have predicted. I don't think it truly hit me that I was playing a concert at an international festival in Russia until I was on stage performing. The other concert that the students had the pleasure to participate in was a concert with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, conducted by Ithaca College's own Jeff Meyer. That was an eye-opening experience as well. Their emotional approach to music was very moving and I found it interesting to compare it to how many American musicians approach music.
Needless to say, I came away from this trip with rich memories and an irreplaceable experience that has factored into my musical development. I can't be thankful enough for being given the opportunity to travel to Russia to play in this ensemble with such wonderful musicians, as well as the opportunity to work closely with the faculty.
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